Sawako Kuronuma is just like any other high school girl who wants to make friends and be useful. The only problem is she bears a worrying resemblance to Sadako from 'The Ring!' Because of her reputation, people are not only terrified of her, but small dogs even bark in fear at her presence; in fact, the only person in school who will talk to her is the lively class hottie, Kazehaya. As the pair spends more time together, Kazehaya slowly begins to bring Sawako out of her shell and soon their feelings for each other develop further. Though with her crippling insecurities, lack of social skills, and a series of cruel rumors and misunderstandings, it seems that Sawako's dream of a normal life won’t be quite so easy to obtain.
I picked this up because it's extremely popular, and most popular manga are true to their popularity. I love shoujo manga and I eat it up, my favorites include masterpieces like Glass Mask, Hana Yori Dango and Dengeki Daisy. In those manga, stuff happens. In this manga, nothing happens. Each volume is about nothing. It's all talking, and they don't say anything interesting. The main chars are head-over-heels for each other right away so who cares how long it takes them to get together. There's no real conflict. The only mildly interesting part of this manga is the main char's friend Chizu. Her personality is great and her love troubles are way more interesting than the main char's. But it's not worth reading the other boring stuff to get to her parts. I stuck it out 6 volumes to see if maybe the manga gets better, but still nothing has happened. Why do people like this so much??
While the plot sounds dull, something about the way it's written is very engaging. I saved this for last this week because it sounded the worst, but it wound up being one of the best (neck & neck with kandachime). I had planned to only read the 2 vols required for the manga club, but had finished all the available chapters almost before I had even realized it. My one gripe about this series is the artwork. The exaggerated/chibi art used to emphasize certain reactions looks terrible (especially for the main character). To make matters worse, they use the gimmick way too much (especially with the main character). The regular style artwork in this series however is quite good. edit (07-06-11): This manga was very good for the first 30~35 chapters, but then it hits a major change of pace and loses it's uniqueness. It degrades into just a standard shoujo romance series. While it doesn't become "bad" per se, it becomes boring & mainstream.
Really have to say that I am not a fan of this series. I have two friends who absolutely love it, and both are big manga readers whose opinions I respect and appreciate, but for me, this series just completely missed the mark. There was nothing original about it, and having read Wallflower, I was really disappointed with how much Sawako seems to be a carbon copy of the Sunako from Wallflower, even down to the nickname. The difference? Wallflower's lead female is much more interesting, not so mousy, and Wallflower has a better storyline, in my opinion. I think this would be a great series for people who haven't read a lot of shojo already. The art is good but if you've ever read any manga that's about a shy girl who likes a boy, you're not likely to find too much that's new here.
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