Feb 5, 2012
Koibana Onsen is a manga that requires a bit of caution before venturing into it, due to its mature sexual content. But with that said, Koibana Onsen is something I could - maybe not wholeheartedly - recommend for those looking for something a bit more raunchy than ecchi, as this is a fairly decent Romantic, Harem.
Welcome to Koibana Onsen, the place where love blooms. A family-run Inn, within a secluded rural setting, provides a unique romantic atmosphere for the couples that use it for their little romantic gateways. So it was quite the surprise when Akiyama, rather than cancel his reservation, decided to go to
the Inn after being jilted by his girlfriend. Little did he know that such misfortune would turn into its own form of fortune, as Akiyama's experience in Koibana Onsen led to his decision to help the owners and begin working there. The owners being 3 fairly attractive sisters and, well you know where it goes from there, being a Harem and all. Yet that is only true in the beginning, with Akiyama getting into perverse situations - ranging from ecchi to raunchy - with the sisters. But unlike the majority of Harem, there's a greater focus on the Romance. Sure there are enough moments to keep a steam room well steamed, sometimes in some very odd and unnecessary ways; but Akiyama's relationship developments are the greater focus. Later on it branches out to include a variety of characters.
The characters being what I thought were the strongest aspect of this manga, however even as I say that, Akiyama can be so spineless at times that it can get annoying. It's what makes him less interesting and more or less into another generic kind of male protagonist. I would have continued to feel like that if the characters remained 1-dimensional but they didn't. What I like is that there's character development where I didn't expect it. Like the sisters: Fuuka, Nonoka and Moeka. All follow very rudimentary character archetypes in the beginning, but with more depth added to them as the story goes on, and those aren't the only important characters in this story.
On the other hand, one of the main issues I had whilst reading Koibana Onsen was the artwork and how horribly inconsistent it was. From jarring facial features to slightly misshapen limbs and awkward postures. Such things really stick out once you first notice them. Sure it is serviceable and a lot of readers could care less; but the lack of style and technique, on the mangaka's part, really gets to me.
Overall Koibana Onsen did certainly feel like a place love would bloom and it proved to be rather enjoyable to see the relationships start off as a simple seedling and eventually blossom. However I really didn't enjoy the contrived ways the mangaka tried to get his characters into some rather questionable, sexual situations. But other than that and some other minor annoyances, Koibana Onsen is a decent Romantic, Harem worth checking out and maybe one day I'll try my luck in one of these Japanese Onsen.
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