I am a Shoujo manga junkie, but even though I have kept a long love affair with the genre I shall be among the first to admit how downright annoying most of the titles are.
Repetitive plots, recycled bishies, stereotypical characterization; it all gets quite tiresome.
But today I have come across a manga that has quite literally jumped right to the top of my list.
Basically, the premise is that we all know about the archetypical love story of the pure boy and girl in high school, whose love is constantly threatened by the pretty, selfish bitch. Well this manga actually follows the story of the bitch character.
It's like a Wicked, but for shoujo manga. Already brilliant.
Despite the fact that the main character is selfish, annoying, conniving and shallow, you can't help but root for the girl, because she's personable, relatable, and her emotions are extremely believable. She's also hilarious, her and her bitchy gang remind me of how I would interact with my friends in our crazy daily lives.
- Intense storyline. Do not expect to come in here knowing who shall end up with who, or with a ship ready for you in all it's fluffiness. You will be kept guessing, but the drama isn't forced like in most shoujo manga where the guy is over protective of an obvious romantic rival thanks to a dense heroine. I have no idea who to root for, in terms of ships, but I am completely invested in the main character, and just want her to be happy.
- Hilarity. It is extremely funny. Especially for me, who would normally constantly be giving mental comments as I read Shoujo about how if I was in that situation would bitchslap someone or just throw myself at a bishie. To see someone acting it out, and then some is great. It also makes REALLY funny references a la Gintama style (albeit toned down) to other Anime series and famous figures.
-Likeable Main Character. too many times have I read a manga solely because of the bishies, because I usually cannot stand shoujo leads. They are annoying, self righteous, weak, and allow themselves to be subjected to whatever all in the case of "I just want to be next to you semmppaaiii". Gag. This girl is strong, knows what she wants, is completely believable with her downright nastiness sometimes, but she's also endearing in her earnestness. She's a fully fleshed out character, and I am reading the story for her, not for my usual fangirl fodder.
-The Crying. The main girl, although I like her a lot, does cry an almost abnormal amount. This is mainly due to the first couple of chapters, which I won't spoil. I only put this down, because I know that a lot of people are really put out by crying heroines, but honestly, I don't mind it at all. Her emotions are very well balanced, and considering the story and the stress she's under, her getting upset works well within the context, instead of seeming like a gimmick.
-The Art. I like pretty art for my shoujo. Something has to carry me through countless volumes of what is essentially romantic filler. The art here is cute, bearable, but by no means large eyed, polished pretty. Personally, I was able to look past it, because the story is so damn good, and it's well drawn enough, but it's just a fair warning that this isn't exactly a visual stunner.
Basically, if you are a shoujo fan, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS. Despite the flaws that I have seen so far, it is easily in my top five right now. It is that good. I sincerely hope for an anime adaption. The concept is too refreshing, and is so well executed, that to not give it the honour of one could only be considered akin to shoujo manga blasphemy.