It’s been a few days since I mentioned I’d be reading three new series – Otomen, Say I Love You, Kamisama Kiss – and I’d like to check in with a few thoughts on each. I’ve read at least three volumes for each series and for certain I’m continuing them all!
I’ll talk about them in the same order I did in the first post, which puts Otomen first!
Thoughts on Otomen
I have to admit that since the first volume I’ve been hooked (maybe even within the first few pages)!
One reason I like this so much are the characters. First off we meet Asuka, a guy who seems to be the manliest of mans outwardly. He’s top grade in a variety of martial arts techniques, he’s cool and collected, and he protects pretty girls. However, as we see (right after he saves a girl from being harassed) Asuka is actually girly at heart, believing in love at first sight, romance, and being highly skilled at cooking, sewing, fashion, and anything people would dub as ‘girly.’
Then we have Ryo, the female protagonist who just happens to not be so feminine. We learn early on that she’s actually rather manly even though she comes off as cute and adorable. Because her mother died she’d had to spend most of her life with just her father, who is your stereotypical macho man, causing her to be ‘manly.’
And lastly we have Juta (the guy right there with the purple hair), who starts off as just your side character – watching over the main cast – and your typical playboy. I actually didn’t think much about him, but then it was like, oh yeah, he’s going to be a main character too. And I’m so glad he is! He’s the character that really gets things moving along. Without him around the two lovebirds would probably be friends forever (unless Ryo decided to ask Asuka out).
It’s here that my fujoshi side just came out fullblast, especially in the third volume where Asuka is trying to figure out why Juta is so secretive. Even before the third volume, Juta always claims to know Asuka the best (because he secretly observed him for so long and even now he still does), how Juta is always calling Asuka ‘chan,’ the way he calls Asuka cute and the perfect wife, and how they’re just physical! Ah, yeah, I want that to happen (unfortunately this is a shojo manga).
Now for a character complaint – I really wish Ryo were more developed. So far I’ve read only four books and already Asuka and Ryo are dating, but she seems to be the more boring of the three. We know she can’t do a lot of ‘girly’ things, like cooking (her cooking is dangerous), and she’s not really romantic. But that’s all we really get from her. I don’t really know what more to expect from her after the 4th volume.
Actually, I don’t really know what to expect about the series as a whole in general. They’re already going out and they’ve gone on a few ‘dates’ (if we can call them this). I do know that they have to figure out Juta’s secret identity (dun dun dun!) and we’ve met a few new characters. Their names escape me so let’s call them Mr. Flowers, Pompous Makeup/Stylist, and Jerk Brat. Anyways, I don’t really know what the purpose of Mr. Flowers is. We already know he likes flowers and he’s decided to pursue them, which seems to be easy since his family owns a flower shop. Mr. PMS is out to get Asuka because he’s manlier than him, but I feel like they can only go so far with that. Jerk Brat is kind of there every now and then, showing up only when he needs something. So…?
And there’re at least 18 volumes out. I’m not sure if there’s more but I saw a cover of 18 on Google. I wonder if the end result is just getting Ryo and Asuka married.
Oh! And then there’s the setting that makes some of the characters (like Jerk Brat) so unlikeable! It almost feels like if you’re not on the ‘gender stereotypes’ side then you’re on the ‘weirdo/eww an effeminate guys’ side. It’s so taxing…like, why can’t guys like these things? You jealous?
Thoughts on Say I Love You
Ah, now I understand the category for smut in this manga…I totally didn’t know it was going to be like this, different in that way from the anime, haha!
Ok, so now I can actually say a bit more about this manga. Basically, this series is about a girl named Mei who hasn’t had a boyfriend in sixteen years and has been avoiding people for (maybe) about ten. She believes people only take advantage of others and call themselves ‘friends.’ Because of this negative personality she’s been the butt of jokes and harassment.
One day though, she roundhouse kicks the most popular guy in school, Yamato, and he takes an interest in her. She tries to ignore him but his persistence finally wins over and she calls him in her time of need, hoping he might be different. He comes to her rescue (she was being stalked by some perv) and deals with the situation ‘accordingly’ (he kisses her), only to make things more complicated between them. They do end up going out once the misunderstanding is cleared up, however, because Mei has never fallen in love it takes her a while to understand her feelings.
Like the picture here, one objective is for her to admit she loves Yamato. Another objective seems to be that she learn how to open up to others around her and to trust what she and Yamato have.
I’ll talk about the art first since it’s something I’d worried about since I saw some pictures…it’s pretty decent. It’s not distracting and even though sometimes I’m thinking this isn’t proportionally right, I also think it’s not a problem (since I’m paying more attention to the way they all interact).
Character-wise, I don’t really have much to say about them. I mean, I like the pacing of things. We meet Mei as being this loner who’s tired of fake people. One day she meets someone who takes an interest and who’s trying to show her the world is different, and bam! She’s changing because she wants to. It’s not too sudden where I’m like wait, she was jaded two seconds ago and now she’s sparkling? No.
Her insecurities don’t just disappear and even though she’s finally got a boyfriend and a couple of good friends (courtesy of Yamato), we still have those issues present. She doesn’t think she’s the right match for someone as great as Yamato who is loved by practically everyone. I also really like that she’s not just staying in her current situation. She’s actively trying to better herself.
Everything seems fine so far but it’s nothing GREAT. So even though I’m going to continue, it’s more to keep me occupied rather than because I love this. I’ve read three volumes so far and would have read six but it turns out that I haven’t recieved volume four from the library yet. Time to play the waiting game…haha
Thoughts on Kamisama Kiss
Oooooo, the dreaded series! The one I knew nothing about (other than what I read on the back of the book and what TheHugeAnimeFan mentioned).
So here goes a better summary than before: When Nanami’s father bails on her after accumulating a huge amount of debt, she finds herself evicted from her home and with nobody to help her. Trying to figure out what to do with herself, she goes to the park and finds a guy being attacked by a dog. She decides to help and the stranger, in order to give her something in return, offers up his home to her. While the offer seems sketchy she decides to check out the address he gave her and ends up at a shrine where she’s attacked by a fox spirit (because they thought she was someone else).
In the end, it turns out that she’s now to become the new deity of the shrine because the stranger who she had helped had passed down the responsibility to her (after he kissed her forehead). The invisible mark she bore on her forehead marked her as the new deity and if she refused to learn and become more powerful then she would be in danger.
Then we have Tomoe, an angry fox spirit and current shinshi (which is almost like a servant to a god, like his right hand) who has looked after the godless shrine for twenty years on his own. After finding that his new master would be a human girl he decides to leave and begins to frequent bars in the spirit world. Nanami, unable to take care of everything on her own and fend for herself (against demons), forces Tomoe to enter into a contract with her after she kisses him.
Basically, he becomes her servant, whether he wants to or not.
Like Say I Love You, this series is more of a ‘continue to read to pass time’ because it really isn’t all that great. For one, the art is kind of decent. There are little things where I’m just like what happened to her neck and this doesn’t look right! At the same time, however, it’s not bad. I guess it just isn’t exactly what I like.
Character-wise, there’s just something off about Nanami. When the series starts Tomoe practically bullies her to the ground, KOs her so bad that if it were me I’d be traumatized. And then two chapters later (after they’ve entered a contract), she forgets everything he said to her? She describes him as kind and that no, he’d never do such a thing. I mean, I could understand if she describes him as nice later on, after they’ve known each other for some time but so soon after everything (and with not much to backup her claims…). I feel like she trusts him unconditionally (like when she was kidnapped, she just knew he’d rescue her), which I think is a bit too soon for. I wouldn’t mind if she thought this because of their contract (like, he’ll save me because it’s his duty) but the way she talks is almost like, he’ll save me because he wants to.
She’s also pretty dumb…but oh well, we need some drama to happen.
As for Tomoe…I don’t exactly hate him but I don’t dislike him. I like that we know he’s a jerk and he’s not trying to deceive Nanami. From the start we’ve known he dislikes her and I’d go so far as to say he doesn’t hate her. His attitude reminds me of a child picking on his crush. I even think that there’s something like fear within him because of how Mikage (former god) just up and left for twenty years. It’s like he’s afraid to get too attached.
Still, I’m curious to know where this manga is going. So far all that’s really happened are little problems with Nanami trying to master her new responsibilities and such.
If I had to rate these series then I’d say:
- Otomen (4.5 – 5 ☆)
- Say I Love You (4 – 4.75 ☆)
- Kamisama Kiss (3 – 3.99 ☆)