Fujimura-kun Mates

fujimurakunmates

Fujimaru is perceived as a delinquent, though he’s pretty kind at heart. Still, since everyone is afraid of him, he can’t stand school and hence generally skips. However, one day a random girl, Usami, says that she’s come to take him to school because she’s a class rep and also because she loves him. While she is strange, she does manage to persuade him to go, where he discovers that she’s not even the class rep for his class, and also that the class reps for his class are super weird, possibly even weirder than her. Anyway, he decides that he’s going to start attending class regularly. However, the student council, led by the woefully incompetent and easily lost Urabe as President, but really led by the cold Himuro as Vice President, randomly take an interest in him, and decide to do something to make sure Fujimaru continues attending school, which ends up being a competition to get him a girlfriend. Usami obviously applies. Due to various misunderstandings Urabe also applies. And also a girl named Yumizuka, who apparently has some connection to Fujimaru that he can’t remember but calls him Onii-chan also applies. In the end, despite Fujimaru trying to get out of it, the event still happens. But in the end the vice president finds everything incredibly annoying, so she gets fed up and just ends it by saying that all three of them would be his girlfriends, which the three, despite Fujimaru’s protests, end up agreeing to.

***

This manga has a pretty interesting premise, but not really much of a plot. There aren’t really any story arcs. Just a bunch of random events. Some of these lead to some development, especially towards the beginning and end, but for the most part, there isn’t really any development in terms of plot, characters, or their relationships either. I don’t just mean that in that the events fail to make progress, but rather its obvious they’re not even trying. This is very much a gag manga, with most of the jokes based on tsukkomi. They get somewhat repetitive after a while, but overall it is pretty funny throughout. This is more focused on comedy than most comedy manga I’ve read, where they at least try to have some sort of concrete plot that they try to bring to a strong conclusion. Here the plot is very loose to the point its more a premise really, and the ending itself while incredibly awesome, although abrupt, is also a ridiculous gag, which fits the series perfectly. The art is solid enough.

A manga without much plot but a hilarious premise put to good use.

8/10

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Lasboss x Hero

lasbossxhero

Sagara is a manga author who’s manga isn’t doing very well, and hence his serialization is likely to end soon. As such, he plans for it to end in a fantastic manner with the heroine, Nina, dying and that driving the hero, Haru, to become powerful enough to defeat the demon lord. However, as he’s drawing out such a plot, he ends up getting sucked into his own manga, and ends up being confronted by his own characters, Nina and Haru. Being in his own manga, he ends up discovering a number of flaws and blank spots in the world. But regardless, he comes to the conclusion that the only way he’ll escape back to the real world, is by pushing the plot of the manga towards its end, but as its his world his pride as a mangaka wouldn’t just led it end weakly, and hence he determines that he must kill Nina.

***

This story is a complete mess in terms of story, in which the plot goes in completely random directions and the characters go through random developments. There is story justification for this however, in that this involves a manga in a manga with some crazy meta stuff happening behind and around the scenes. This leads to something that is completely crazy, but that’s what makes it incredibly interesting and entertaining, in that it goes in completely unexpected and ridiculous directions at the drop of a hat. A lot of the best parts of the manga involve the self awareness of the mangaka in his own manga, which results in a lot of solid comedy. But beyond that, it also leads to introspection on how he’s treating his own characters, and the value they have. These are the deepest parts of the story, and the parts that I enjoyed most, especially towards the ending, where I felt that the purpose of the manga was making a point I agree with tremendously, sometimes you like the characters and just want them to end up happy, and it really doesn’t matter how they get there, even if it involves ridiculous twists. To that end, I felt that the ending was kind of satisfying, in that it was certainly a happy ending, and it was also kind of cute, though I think there should have been something more impactful in regards to the relationship between Nina and Sagara, though I guess that would be super strange in a sense as well. The art style I liked, and there were some parts that I thought looked great, but overall it felt a bit rough.

Really rough but a truly unique and interesting concept.

8/10

Itoshi no Karin (Karin who I think tenderly of)

itoshi no karin

Yutaka is a gardener at the theme park Fuegaoka. He’s a pretty shy person, and hence generally sticks to tending to his flowers. Fuegaoka has a special mascot called Meln that is chosen by vote from among the female staff of the park every year. This year’s Meln is especially popular and admired by many, including Yutaka. But being him, he is fine with admiring her from afar, not really expecting anything more to occur, even though they ride the same bus. However, one day its raining and she forgot her umbrella, so he tries to help, and though it doesn’t go as planned, things set off from there.

***

The story was immensely adorable. There is some conflict between the main characters, but very little. For the most part the manga just features them being adorable together, but not going any further than that. The reason for this is that there is something pressing that prevents them from going further, that both of them understand well enough that it doesn’t ruin the relationship they have, but prevents them from moving beyond that, while at the same time still getting closer to each other in ways that couples that even take the next step might not. Hence, this manga is about a relationship that seems just at the point where it’s about to, and at some points past even that, but never quite seems to bloom, even though the two characters keep getting closer and closer. This  may sound annoying, but it’s actually incredibly adorable to watch. However, I feel that after all that, in the end, they should have taken that next step. The manga suggests they would eventually, but it doesn’t show it. I feel that if it had gone further with a time skip, it would have been a tremendously more satisfying ending with everything else being a great build up to that. Instead, how it ended was somewhat bittersweet in ways that feel dissatisfying. The two main characters are interesting, in that its somewhat different from normal romance mangas in that the guy is super shy and hence the girl is the one that has to do a lot of the heavy lifting. In terms of side characters, there are a few, but ultimately are shown only as much as needed to, which keeps things focused on the main characters and their story. The setting of a theme park was interesting, and used well when it was though not used too much. The art was decent.

A romcom that moves slow enough that it should be frustrating, but instead manages to immensely adorable

8/10

Sakurasaku Shoukougun (Sakurasaku Syndrome)

Sakurasaku Syndrome

Wakatake is a middle school student who is dedicated to achieving his dream of becoming a doctor as soon as possible. Hence he has no time to deal with things like friends or love, but rather spends his time studying, ignoring all interruptions. However one day Kagetora, a a delinquent girl that once Wakatake’s childhood friend and that he was once in love with, approaches Wakatake and asks him to help her study, because she wants to get into the same high school as her crush. Wakatake is immensely conflicted, in part because he is someone who has always ignored such matters in favor of working towards his dream, but also because he’s still in love with her, and thus wants to be with her, but at the same time doesn’t want to help her love with someone else. In the end, he decided to help her.

***

This manga is pretty sweet, but there’s nothing about it that stands out as unique. The main characters had some unique traits, but their romance itself still proceeded in a pretty standard fashion at a semi-decent level of quality. The side characters weren’t well developed and their stories were shallow, ultimately not going anywhere. The ending mostly proceeded exactly in the direction that you would expect it to, though while it didn’t feel rushed it still felt like it should have gone further than it did. The art was decent enough but not especially good.

A pretty generic romance manga at only a decent level of quality.

7/10

Hetakoi

hetakoi.png

Shizuka is a hot spring lover, and hence on his 20th birthday, in celebration for getting into university, he goes to a hot spring alone. While there, he enters what he thinks is an abandoned spring, only to find a drunk passed out girl. He runs away and tells management, who deal with the problem, and he goes about his life. On his first day at university, joins the Hot Spring Lovers club, only to find that the girl he found passed out is part of the club, who he learns is named Ruka. She doesn’t know that he was the one that found her, and he’s determined to keep it a secret, but even beyond that, he ends up getting closer to her and eventually falling in love with her. However, while Ruka acts incredibly cheerful, she’s still dealing with damage she felt from a previous relationship, if it can be called even that, and is staying away from such matters.

***

This manga is the story of Shizuka, Ruka, the rest of their club, and various others they interact with creating relationships and watching them develop. It primarily follows the relationships of Shizuka and Ruka, who obviously are destined to become a couple, but it takes a very long string of twists and turns to get there, some of them being heart wrenching, some of them being hilarious, and many of them being somewhat ridiculous. However, even the ridiculous ones, while often relying on coincidences, still seem to fit into the characters of those involved, primarily in that Shizuka and Ruka have a number of traits that make the development of their relationship really difficult. It should be noted however, that it comes to a very beautiful ending. In addition to the main couple, there are a number of stories involving other characters, who have stories that are shorter and not as developed, but are very different from the main story, while still often pushing forward the main story as well, which helps with pacing. Lastly, I should note that the art is fantastic as well, especially faces and the strongly shaded parts.

A manga that’s focused on a romance that drags on, but that actually benefits from being so.

9/10

Wagatsuma-san wa Ore no Yome (My Wife Is Wagatsuma-san)

Wagatsuma-san wa Ore no Yome

Aoshima is overall what most would call a loser. He is equally bad at athletics and academics. He has no special skills like art or music. He is unpopular, has weird friends, and he completely lacks social skills. However, one day he time slips for inexplicable reasons into the future to find that Wagatsuma, the most popular girl in his class and a girl that he has a crush on, is his wife. While he finds it preposterous at first, after slipping back and forth a couple times, the evidence can not be denied, and he realizes that he has a chance to acheive his dream and be together with Wagatsuma. However, he also quickly realizes that this future is hanging by a thread, and that it could easily collapse leading him to him being married to someone else, or worse. Hence, Aoshima must balance using his time slipping to help those around him, primarily a group of similar losers that he’s a part of called the DX Corp, but also a couple other girls that surprisingly seem to have fallen for him, with his entire future resting in the balance.

***

This manga is primarily a gag manga, and it is incredibly good in that aspect. There is definitely an overarching plot that has development and various arcs, but it feels somewhat random and takes a back seat to the comedy aspects. The core of the comedic moments are the very strange but interesting cast of characters. However, it seems that these ‘side characters’ end up getting a lot more development than the main heroine Wagatsuma, especially compared to the side heroine Silvia. Furthermore, as the focus for the most part was oriented towards simply filler comedy and the side heroines,  it ultimately had to try to wrap things up incredibly quickly at the end,  which led to an ending that while being something that had been building up to the entire manga, felt rushed and even a bit forced. The art was pretty good when it tried to be, but it spends most of the time trying to keep a more gag like look that fits and makes sense but isn’t really all that visually appealing.

A manga that is good in terms of side stories and filler, but feels incredibly rushed and random when it comes to the main story.

8/10

Saitou-kun wa Chounouryokusha Rashii (Rumor says that Saito is an Esper)

Saitou-kun wa Esper Rashii.png

Saito enters high school thinking that he’ll quickly become the most popular person in school, for he has a secret power, the power to bend spoons with his mind. However, everyone in his class thinks of it as a joke. So he goes in search of people that would appreciate him, ending up at the ESP Research Society. But he then discovers that all the club members there have much more powerful abilities than him: Kotori, a kind but airheaded girl that is invulnerable; Yuuki, a hot headed girl that has telekineses; Shizuka, a quiet girl that can read minds; and eventually Nao, a somewhat mean girl that can control electricity. Saito ends up joining this club with overpowered people, but doesn’t let his lack of abilities affect his ridiculous overconfidence in any way.

***

The characters for this were somewhat interesting, with the protagonist being somewhat of a jerk with completely unwarranted pride. And hence a bunch of small stories about their antics were pretty amusing. However, the plot was incredibly lacking. The majority of the manga completely lacks anything that furthers the plot or relationships between the characters, though honestly, these other parts are the better parts of the manga because they’re pretty amusing. The parts that try to push the plot forward, like Kanna’s arc, were pretty bad. That in part might be because she’s an Ojou-sama Osasanajami Yandere who really doesn’t get her due, but even beyond that it felt lacking as a plot/relationship pushing device. The art was pretty good though.

A series with good art that’s amusing at times, but is somewhat lacking in substance.

7/10