I decided to buy My Bambi because I really liked the cover art. Some manga artists’ comics tend to look like cleaned-up sketches or like the artist has some sort of horror vacui. However, this is not My Bambi, as Ozaki-sensei’s art and story made this short, four-chapter manga a pleasure to read.
My Bambi is about an overly-serious class representative named Nanase Haruko, who only wants to study and has no interest in other people, and Hachiya Chiharu, a delinquent who has not attended high school once since it began. The two first meet while Haruko is taking the train home, where she spots Chiharu engaged in a brawl. When he realizes her presence in the train car, he demands 10,000 yen for witnessing his fight. She distracts him and manages to escape, but later finds out on he is the student who occupies the desk next to her’s, which had always been empty.
What really struck me with this manga was that it does not prescribe to the theory of fixed intelligence. This theory being that whether you are bright or dim-witted is determined at birth. As I was not extremely clever or talented as a child, I also believe that the fixed intelligence theory is wrong. Now that Haruko is in high school, she is the top of her class, but before that she consistently ranked last. It was only a teacher’s intervention that sparked this change in her and made her realize she was not restricted to the smarts with which she was born.
The only thing that I can say I disliked about this series was its abrupt and unsatisfying ending. Unlike other series, which would fade out on a female protagonist’s inner monologue about her newly established romance, this manga chooses to end on a rather lack luster line uttered by Haruko to Chiharu. It also left me uncertain as to whether or not Chiharu understands that Haruko likes him as a love interest and not as a friend.
My Bambi is a must read for anyone who is no longer in the mood for the typical, overly kind and ditzy heroine. It ends where it leaves the reader wanting more instead of employing common tropes of the genre to keep itself going long after everyone has lost interest.