Tag Archives: romance

First experience with Visual Novel, an attempt at G-senjou no Maou review

It’s been quite a while since I last posted in this blog, a bit more than half a year in fact. It’s not like I was so busy that I couldn’t find time to write blogs about ACG related contents, but rather that I couldn’t think of anything of importance to write about, so I spent my time elsewhere on the site with respect to ACG (anime, comics, and games) related stuff, ie. myanimelist, etc.

I have invested a lot of time in ACG related stuff since advent of high school (and even before that), and have dabbled in manga, anime, and light novels extensively. Anime and manga are definitely the more common mediums, while light novels tend to be a niche interest among ACG lovers. What’s an even more niche interest in English-speaking community is visual novels, and most people probably don’t know much about it. NSFW, 18+, dating sims, or anything of that ilk come to mind when one thinks of visual novels, or galgame. I more or less held that opinion until a few days ago, when I tried my first visual novel because I realized that a lot of great VN with great stories are never adapted into anime, manga, or light novel.

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A typical visual novel

So, what exactly is a visual novel, let me tell you about my experience so far.

The easiest way to imagine VN is try thinking of a hybrid between an anime and a novel. It is not an” anime in that the scenes aren’t animated. The narratives rely on prose to convey the plot to the readers. While facial expressions change from time to time, the art in VN is more like illustrations to a novel rather than an animated sequence. It does come with BGM and character voice, though. It is not exactly a novel either, in that 1) players have some power to influence what happens in the story (game-like”), and 2) there is way too much conversations for it to cut strictly as a novel.

I’ve heard that visual novel is extremely versatile in its mechanism. Contrary to my previous belief, each character route (heroines that you choose depending on your choices during the game) usually do not spoil other routes. Basically, you can finish routes in any order and still find something new each time without repeating or being spoiled from previous results (at least in this case). It’s kind of interesting because it allows for a story with many conclusions instead of just one, and players are more likely to find a satisfying ending among those.

Anyways, my first experience with VN is rather great. I holed up in my dorm (well I did go to classes) for a week and completed my first VN, without any regret in the end.

REVIEW of G-senjou no Maou (no spoilers)

g-senjou-no-maou-the-devil-on-g-string-810x456

Now available on steam, with English translation: http://store.steampowered.com/app/377670/

Strangely enough, G-senjou is in certain aspects eerily similar to Code Geass, beside the fact that the main antagonist’s voice actor is Furukawa Jun, the VC for Lelouch in Code Geass. How so? The whole story is a strange combination of school life, suspense, battles of wit, people trying to lie and cheat each other, and characters that can not be clearly defined as just “good” or “evil”. There is one clear distinction though. As a galgame, G-senjou places much more focus on the romance aspect, and by romance I don’t just mean the H-scenes. In fact, without spoiling the story, I’d claim that G-senjou is a pure love story more than anything else.

Story: 8/10

To be honest, looking at the story as a whole, while it is very entertaining, there are also a lot of places that could have done better. This game have 4 heroine routes in total, and these routes can be reached by choosing its corresponding choice in chapter 2, 3, and 4. In chapter 2, 3, and 4, you either go into an alternate heroine route, or progress through with the story toward the true end (chapter 5). Outcomes vary differently in true end and other heroines’ good end. Different things happen in different routes.

Beside from the fact that the game could be slightly boring in certain scenes, I found that there are two major weaknesses in terms of plot. One, the creators all but sacrificed all other routes for the dramatic showdown in the true conclusion. It’s not that the other routes weren’t emotional or dramatic (in fact, chapter 2’s good end had me crying), but rather that it has little to do with the central mystery of the story, in which the male lead rests in the center of the conflict, mainly because the true end could do without the stories of the three other heroines and still be brilliant. Two, the series of code geass-ish battle of wits in this game can bring players out of focus at certain points, simply because each incident is quite dragged out and certain developments may seem a bit forced. To be fair, though, everything is revealed in the end, providing a satisfactory resolution to loose threads or what previously seemed like bad writing.

Still, I can’t emphasize enough, the true ending is amazing; melodramatic, bitter-sweet, plenty of adrenaline, while still giving players one of the most epic endings ever.

Character: 9.5/10

The biggest accomplishment in the character department is how great they are portrayed. None is portrayed in black and white lens. All characters have bad and redeeming points to them, right down to the protagonist’s sidekick. Villains aren’t always villainous, and good people don’t necessarily always remain pure. The first and second route are great in terms of exploring the heroine’s characters and showing their realistic development. The same thing can’t be said for the third route, a route that may get you wondering why the heroine likes the protagonist in the first place. The fourth and true route is the best, as it is the “intended” story from prior development. Main characters in this route undergoes a metamorphosis, releasing all the previously pent up emotions and reaching into a beautiful catharsis.

Music, Visuals, Language: 8.5/10

I rather liked the art in this game, perhaps the style just click with me.

The most memorable song by far is “Close Your Eyes”, inserted toward the end of the game. It’s nothing short of glorious. BGM and sound effect throughout the VN seemed appropriate as well.

I read the fuwanovel’s English translation. For the most part it is very smooth and readable. Don’t expect any fancy language, though.

In conclusion, I think G-senjou is at least worth 8.5/10. I read played this game because it was strongly recommended in various best VN recommendation blogs. I have to say that I am not disappointed, and will definitely probably pick up more VN in the future immediately afterward.


Clannad: After Story

Finally, the time has come for me to write a review on the one and only Clannad: After Story!

Clannad AS

Events in After Story take place immediately after the first season, following Tomoya’s final semester of high school. After declaring his love to Nagisa, they begin to have a close relationship. Their life together will be faced with unexpected challenges, as the truth behind the illusionary world and the city’s legend come to light. (MyAnimeList)

Good anime are remembered for different reasons. Some shows excel in animation and sound; some have memorable characters; still others have well-written and well-executed story that does not leave much inconsistencies; finally, there are some shows of which you get very emotionally attached to.

A question might pop up at this point. Is it possible for one single show to accomplish all of these things? Well, let’s find out, shall we?

The story of Clannad~AS~ is notably different than that of Clannad in that it is no longer restricted to the omnibus format as adapted from the visual novel. The heroine has already been chosen, and the writer does not throw in any break-ups and love triangle routine that is so frequently seen in other romance shows. This is perhaps the truly brilliant aspect of the show. It focuses on what happens after they become a couple, and their life afterward.

It’s hard to comment on the plot of Clannad~AS~, so I will not do so. It is necessary to point out that a side story, of a little girl and a robot in an illusionary world (actually this side story is told in Season 1 as well), is featured along with the main story of Tomoya and Nagisa. The first half of After Story also delves heavily into the pasts of some side characters, nicely adding some touching moments. However, these side stories are not fillers nor distractions from the main stories, they actually exist to build up a major plot device that exist in Clannad, and paramount to constructing the grand conclusion of Clannad. The side story of the mystically illusionary world will come together with the main story and make sense to viewers at the end.

In season two, we see yet more character development in Tomoya and Nagisa, growing stronger together as they support each other … until the story takes a riveting twist that turns Tomoya’s world upside down. Believe it or not. Then, what unfolds is the best, the most emotional, the most touching, and the most inspiring tale of how a person learns to find joy in life despite great misfortunes, in any anime that I have seen. Indeed, the story is emotional and dramatic without ever forcing any drama, and manages to struck us viewers with the metaphorical baseball bat of depression again and again, and again, until we have dried our tears, and finally survived to the ending. (That was more of a subjective description of the emotional impact of this anime, but can you really blame me?)

clannad family

The technical aspect of Clannad is something that is easier to talk about. The animation is, in one word, superb. I have rewatched this anime to confirm this, and Kyoto Animation has animated this anime almost flawlessly. The movements of characters reflect those of real life, animated at the same tempo. The expressions of characters during dramatic moments were again, nothing short of amazing. The backgrounds used in episodes were gorgeously drawn. Perhaps the best part of animation goes to those moments at the illusionary world, where the quality matches that of a Disney movie watched in theater.

The sound department is also incredible. The sound tracks are packed with emotions, and only serve to inflame the emotions at the most dramatic points. However, a great drawback is the ending of Clannad: AS, having a drastically different atmosphere than the tone of the anime. Fortunately, the ending does not appear in the most emotional episodes.

Ultimately, After Story creates characters that are very close to humans. Although Tomoya is a fictional character, you can not help but relate to his struggles and admire his valiant efforts at living his life to the full extent. The lessons learned from AS should teach us to become a more positive person, to be strong even in front of hardships in life, and change the way we look at things.

I give Clannad: After Story a rating of 9.9/10, if only as a reminder that perfection is something that is never achieved. However, I would argue that Clannad~After Story~ is as close to masterpiece of “slice of life” anime as you can get, and I would honestly be surprised if another “slice of life” show could change me as a person as much as Clannad did.

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Oh, and don’t forget to bring a box of tissue when you watch the show, because you are going to need it.

RECOMMENDATION

This is a great anime for all anime fans out there, as everyone should be able to related to difficulties faced by main characters in this anime, though not everyone will share the same sentiments as I did. It is something that you can (re)watch anytime, and there are new things to be learnt from this anime each time you rewatch it.

Don’t watch Clannad and Clannad: After Story if you only watch anime to enjoy the fan-service and action, then this review is wasted on you anyways.


Clannad

Ahh, finally … Clannad, one of the most popular anime in Western anime communitiy, was created by Kyoto Animation in 07-08. It is an anime directly adapted from Key, a prominent visual novel production company. Clannad tells a heart-warming story that centers on the theme of family, and would forever remain as one of my favorite anime. This review will only talk about the first season of Clannad.

clannad cover

Okazaki Tomoya is a delinquent who finds life dull and believes he’ll never amount to anything. Along with his friend Sunohara, he skips school and plans to waste his high school days away.

One day while walking to school, Tomoya passes a young girl muttering quietly to herself. Without warning she exclaims “Anpan!” (a popular Japanese food), which catches Tomoya’s attention. He soon discovers the girl’s name is Furukawa Nagisa and that she exclaims things she likes in order to motivate herself. Nagisa claims they are now friends, but Tomoya walks away passing the encounter off as nothing.

However, Tomoya notices Nagisa more and more around school. Eventually he befriends her. Tomoya learns Nagisa has been held back a year due to a severe illness and her dream is to revive the school’s drama club. He decides to help her achieve this goal along with the help of four other girls. As Tomoya spends more time with the girls, he learns more about them and their problems. As he attempts to help each girl overcome her respective obstacle, he begins to realize life isn’t as dull as he once thought. [Written by MAL Rewrite]

The story of Clannad can be best categorized as omnibus arc-styled anime in which each main female character has her own arc in which she is the lead, with some characters more focused on than others. Normally, this kind of plot structure is met with negative responses because it is unlikely to construct a good continuous story with it. Nevertheless, Clannad has done a phenomenal job on its story, even with deep roots in its adapted visual novel. This is mainly because Clannad accentuates on friendship and family much more so than the romance aspect, so it allows Tomoya to help all of the heroines with their tragic pasts without condemning the anime to being a harem.

Clannad is an anime that has done an amazing job in the drama department. In each arc, the emotions gradually build up, and never quite let go, entrancing the viewers even after the dramatic catharsis. This is thanks to some well-constructed back stories of our main characters, as well as the genuine relationships that are established during the story. These stories and dramatic moments are easy to relate to, since everyone experienced some difficulties with some kind of human relationship problem at some points of their lives. However, the first season ultimately suffers from its arc-styled constructions. No matter how good the relationship buildup is, it can’t escape the fact that all other characters are relegated as side characters during a particular heroine’s arc. Furthermore, the last episode (23) is almost unnecessary in my opinion, as episode 22 already serves as a perfect closure point for season 1, and episode 23 adds nothing new to the table. Still, despite some of its flaws, Clannad remains one of the only anime in which I cried without any regards of my own masculinity.

As far as delinquents go, Tomoya has got to be the most gentle, kind, warm-hearted, passionate, and determined person, in a realistic way. While Tomoya is well-established, the other main characters are not as well fleshed out, obviously because not all of them are on the screen the whole time like Tomoya is. For this reason, it is a good thing that our main heroine who stays by Tomoya’s side during most of the story, Nagisa, is well-portrayed and experience tremendous character growth, with help of Tomoya. She grows from a shy girl to a determined, strong, and more out-going person. Anyways, the strong development of these two characters are especially important to the second season of Clannad, in Clannad: After Story.

clannad-girls

Animation-wise, Kyoto Animation does not fail to impress. The backgrounds are beautiful, and for the most parts characters’ motions are smooth and natural. The character designs may not be the best thing ever, but at least viewers can immediately distinguish the characters from each other, which is sufficient in my opinion. Besides, even though the characters are done in a moe fashion, the characters don’t behave typical of moe. Indeed, the characters act and talk like real people.

Clannad is as close to perfection in the sound department as you can get for slice of life anime. Indeed, it not only has a amazing opening and ending, but also has incredible soundtracks that can move you on an emotional level. Check out the OP here https://bunny1ov3r.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/top-anime-op-ed-countdown-3/.

Overall, Clannad is a must-see for all anime fan, regardless of whether you like it or not. It is a slice of life show that inspires the audience to look at the positive things in life. It does not fail to deliver a powerful dramatic story, rich of emotions, that reach out to its audience, changing us for the better. I award this anime a rating of 9.1/10.

RECOMMENDATION

Recommended to all drama, romance, slice of life anime fans, or just people looking for a very emotional story.

Not recommended to people who can’t survive a show without fan-service and action.

For ultimate recommendation, watch Kanon(2006), an arc-styled romance drama anime also done by Kyoto Animation.


Ookami to Koushinryou (Spice and Wolf)

Today I will be reviewing the first season of Spice & Wolf, a highly popular and well-received romance-fantasy-adventure anime that was aired back in 2008.

spice and wolf cover

The peddler Kraft Lawrence travels through the world selling all kinds of things. After visiting a village, he discovers a sleeping girl under the pelts in his cart. She has wolf ears and a tail. The wolf girl explains that she has been called a “god”, but now her name is Holo and nothing more. Lawrence teases the girl a little, but after hearing more of her story, he decides to accompany her further north. On their travels the pair of companions have many adventures, often getting into trouble, and the bond between them grows stronger. (MyAnimeList)

Do not be deceived by the cover. S&W is not another generic ecchi fox girl anime. It is an unique and intelligent show that focuses on the interaction between our leads, Holo and Lawrence, and revolves around the subject of economics.

The story can be best described as slow-paced, nonetheless very well-written and well-timed. Audiences are treated to myriad of dialogues revolving around bartering goods, negotiating contracts, exchanging favors, etc. Being an Economics major in college myself, I recognize a lot of valid cases that are smarted adapted into this medieval, church-dominated scenario. As I warned earlier, however, while this is nicely done, this drags down the pacing of the story. Fortunately, a few more dramatic incidents do happen during the couple climaxes of the show, and characters are placed in mortal danger, giving main characters a chance to experience life-and-death situation together and surviving only with their wits.

If you haven’t realized at this point, you must know that the strongest aspect of this anime is characters. For someone as mystical as a “wolf god”, Holo is a very realistic individual who shows a wide spectrum of emotions, the same with Lawrence, the male lead. Both main characters are very mature in that they behave and act like adults. The development of relationship between the two characters are amazing. Through their daily interactions, they flirt, exchange witty words, act as partners, and comfort each other if the other gets hurt.

horo 1

The sound and animation are just as subtle as the show, in a good way. The opening, Tabi no Tochuu, is something that I would put on my top OP countdown. Although I didn’t like the ending at first, it actually fits nicely into the story as I hear it more. The soundtracks consist of mainly classical string pieces, though the kinds that are fast-paced and not so melodic. However, there are points where I feel that there is a lack of background music. The animation is just what you would expect of an peaceful adventure anime. What must be mentioned here is the subtle expressions of the characters, for they are extremely well-done. This aspect further illustrated the MC’s maturity in the tiny details of their actions. If you have to pick some bones, the backgrounds could be more detailed at times and the characters look sometimes distorted from a distance. These are only small problems though.

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So far, I’ve listed nothing but good points of this show. However, at least to me, there is a major flaw in this show: the lack of plot twists. For me, the only thing that can make up for a lack of plot twist is witty dialogues exchanged between charming characters. While the dialogues should be praised for their realism in S&W, they are far from being witty. Then, the lack of plot twist where climaxes don’t happen (half of the show) can sometimes be boring, especially if you gradually get tired of watching them scheming their next way of making a profit. I was only pumped up again when I entered the next climax in the story. Of course, for other people, this may not be a problem at all.

Overall, Spice & Wolf is an intelligent show that tells a wonderful tale of a pair of merchant travelers in the medieval era. It features some nicely done script on how merchants cleverly make profits and also the blossoming romantic relationship between our MCs. I award this Spice & Wolf with an rating of 8.1/10.

RECOMMENDATION

Recommended if you are into business (economics, marketing, finance, etc), or if you want to watch a good (non school setting) romance show.

Not recommended if you can’t survive an anime without action and/or fan-service.

For ultimate recommendation watch Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, also a anime series heavily focused on economics and romance between leads.


White Album 2

 

Let me first define a word that best describes this anime.

poignant: evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret. 

Of course, as a drama anime, there is no greater achievement than being able to draw out intense emotions from the audience. Indeed, most of the (drama) anime that have done that are carefully archived in my (not comprehensive) 10/10 anime list. Clannad: After Story, also known as “THE TEAR JERKER”, conveyed intense emotions through illustrating the bonds of family; Code Geass managed so by using science fiction and fantasy plot device and character deaths; Ef – A Tale of Memories (and Melodies) achieved so by employing a heavy use of “flashback to the sad childhood stories”, a technique that anime as a medium is (in)famous for; last but not least, Angel Beats! did so by exploring what it means to live.

Guess what? White Album 2, an independent anime series that consist of only 13 episodes, is poignant because it delves into the most complicated yet the most simple human emotion, (romantic) love, in the context of a love triangle between the male lead and the two female leads.

Without further delay, let’s start the review on White Album 2.

white album 2

In his efforts of revitalizing the light music club and subsequently holding a performance during the cultural festival in his third year of high school, Haruki Kitahara becomes heavily involved with two girls who recently joined the club, Setsuna Ogisa the vocalist and Kazuna Touma the pianist. This is the story of what happens before and after their performance.

Character is without the doubt the forte of this WA2. The main characters are not dolls created to fulfill given roles, but realistic people who make reasonable choices and also mistakes. Instead of cheesy and predictable development that only serve to inevitably lead to a dramatic confession scene as seen in so many other anime, characters in WA2 engage in purposeful and believable dialogue. The romantic tension between them gradually builds up as the show progresses. The plot development, while not mind-blowing, will not proceed exactly as audience expects. And even if you did predict the development, the plot would still be interesting precisely because how the character relationships develops so naturally, even the one between the female leads. The main characters are incredibly complex, and make human mistakes just as normal humans do. Despite so, we can still resonate with various emotions that the characters “feel”. With so many anime, it is very easy to pick a favourite girl from the cast. It is not the case here. Both female leads are likable at times (and detestable at others, though not as much), to such a degree that I would be equally happy if the male lead ends up with either of them.

White Album 2 2

Alright, let’s move to the technical side of WA2. Music plays a important role in the characters’ lives. As such, the sound tracks and OST used in this anime is quite good, but not as good as those of top-notch “music-oriented” anime such as Guilty Crown, K-ON, and Macross Frontier. To be fair, WA2 is a pure poignant romance anime that primarily focuses on characters relationship, and do not need an excessive focus on good OST to please its audience. Furthermore, it redeemed itself by using numerous sound tracks in appropriate moments.

Animation-wise, WA2 does quite well. The background and character designs are beautiful, and the animation of movements are fluid. The only complaint is that it reuses a lot of backgrounds. Personally, I didn’t mind this.

Finally, I would like to factor in my own enjoyment of this anime (plus some additional comments). An interesting quirk that this anime adopts is sneaking in some dodgy shots of bath scenes. Fortunately, the anime doesn’t overdo this. I suspect this is an attempt to please a certain part of the demographics that absolutely can’t live without (no matter how little) fan-service. As for my own enjoyment, definitely I was immersed in this story and more or less marathoned through 13 episodes. As for the ending, it does deliver and is consistent with the rest of the show.

Overall, this is a very good pure romance show that is not your typical anime. It is well-executed, unpredictable, and appeals to one’s various sentiments.

I give it a 9.2/10 rating.

RECOMMENDATION 

Recommended to anyone who enjoys Romance and Drama.

Not recommended to anyone who can’t live without some form of comedy in an anime.

For the ultimate recommendation check out ef – a tale of memories, also a poignant pure romantic show that features two pairings and animated by SHAFT.

**credit to user Stark700 on MyAnimeList. Before writing this review, there were a lot of ideas that I knew in my hearts but didn't know what phrases to use for expressing it. I was taking ideas out of his review (on MyAnimeList) for a portion of my review.

No. 1: Rave Master

By Hiro Mashima

Rave Master 1

Genres: Adventure, Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen, (Romance), (Mystery)

Status: Completed!

The Continent of Song is in chaos. The sinister secret society known as Demon Card is using the power of Dark Bring to destroy everything in their path. The only things capable of stopping Dark Bring are the Rave stones. Unfortunately, the Rave Stones were scattered around the globe in an explosion 50 years ago, so now they must be collected by the Rave Master in order to stop Dark Bring once and for all. This new task has been given to Haru Glory; a sixteen-year-old boy from Garage Island. The World’s fate now rests on the new, young Rave Master. (Source: Tokyopop)

Thus begins the epic adventure of our favorite rave master, Haru Glory!

So, what factors compel me to pick this one above all other Action Shounen manga (ie. Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Psyren, Fairy Tail, Black Cat, Soul Eater)? Indeed, after thousands upon thousands pages of manga experience, the best I can do is to pick a Shounen manga? Allow me to enlighten you.

Exemplary Shounen-ness

First of all, Rave Master is Shounen. There is no dispute about it. It is also a good Shounen, and that means that every once in a while, readers starts to feel blood rushing into their heads. Or, as I would like to put it, it is epic. In this regard, it is on par with Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, etc. As we will soon see, though, Shounen is definitely not the only strength it possesses.

Amalgam of Genres

Another noteworthy trait about Rave Master is that expands its territories to encompass more elements than what a standard Shounen would include. Of course, all topnotch (popular) Shounen has shown this characteristic to some extent, but rave master has done this especially well. Other than action, fantasy, and comedy, RM puts a heavy emphasis on adventure (much like One Piece), drama, and even romance. Granted, the romance aspect is nowhere as explored as it is in romance-oriented manga. It is still a respectable amount of other elements added to this epic Shounen saga without ruining the Shounen aspect of it.

Moreover, while RM has more in variety, it cuts down on fan-service. This is a fantastic news to most of the readers who are tired of freakishly common occurrence of boobs on manga pages, but maybe bad news for those of you who find an excessive fan-service enjoyable. Nevertheless, the romance in RM makes up for a lack of fan-service.

World Construction

It is among some of the best world construction pieces ever found in fantasy manga, probably because the mangaka is a huge fan of Eiichiro Oda, creator of One Piece. Readers who appreciate a frequent change of setting throughout the narration of a story will surely love this.

Art

Depending on how much the readers like the art in One Piece, or a more direct comparison, Fairy Tail, there will be different opinions on the quality of art. Personally, I found this kind of a style quite different from a majority of other manga, in a refreshing and enjoyable way.

Rave Master 2

Character

Instead of talking about all the characters, I will only talk about the male lead, Haru Glory, which is, again, what sets this manga apart from all other Shounen.

Typically, male lead (in Shounen) is a bold, determined, adventurous, righteous individual in the manliest way. Obviously, there is an underlying flaw to this setup. It requires the male lead to be also a bit slow in the head and sometimes an EQ way below that of an average person. If I have to state one reason that a lot of people hate Shounen, this is why.

Fortunately, Haru Glory defies this rule. Sure, he has the typical boldness, an adventurous spirit, and determination, but in moderation. On the other hand, he is thoughtful, sensitive, and knows when to give up. Somehow, he seems like more like a person one can relate to instead of just an icon of justice (like Naruto).

Story

Where this manga truly shines. I said in previous posts that Psyren is a case of good brain-storming. Then, RM must be an incidence of phenomenal overall planning.

Let me remind you of another illness that befall most popular Shounen, the story will slow down between different arcs, and will almost come to a halt before the grand finale. For the most parts, this doesn’t apply to RM.

I will give you a succinct summary of my experience reading this manga:

Slow Start –> Gradual intensifying plot –> Epicness –> building up intensity –> Epicness

… … [repeats cycle]

(A few slowdown in between)

… … [repeats cycle]

FLASHBACK -> MIND-F*CKED in an amazing way -> Grand Finale Battle -> Epic Ending!

And this, readers, is why Rave Master is number one on my list. 
 
Rave Master 3
 
 
Much thanks. It’s been a ride writing this countdown/recommendation/review series.

No. 2: Kimi no Iru Machi (A Town Where You Live)

By Kouji Seo

KNIM eba 1

Genres: Drama, Romance, School, Shounen, Ecchi

Status: On-going

Summary:

Kirishima Haruto lives in a small town in Hiroshima and is just about to enter high school when Eba Yuzuki, a mysterious girl from Tokyo suddenly decided to go to high school in the countryside. Despite his objections, she moves in to his home. Haruto must now put up and take care of this clumsy freeloading city girl and at the same time, make sure his long time crush Kanzaki Nanami doesn’t get the wrong idea!

And so, one of the greatest love stories ever to be drawn in manga was born!

Now, let me explain to you why this manga is so great, in terms of story, character, art, and enjoyment.

KNIM 4

Story:
For all its greatness, it starts out with a typical romance story setup: a boy meets girl scenario. The story soon becomes intense, in a way that is indescribable. The relationship of Haruto and Eba, and with other people are so well portrayed that I experience what the characters did vicariously while I was reading it. Talking about anything in the plot will spoil the manga. Just trust my words on it. This manga is epic.

Art:
I myself am not a huge art person, so I can’t give you the details. What I can say is that the girls in the manga have incredibly slim figure and beautiful features, enough to make male readers fall in love with them.

KNIM1

Character:
The main characters are realistically portrayed through “mundane” incidents in the manga. Almost every major character in this manga is likeable, even though they make mistakes and hurt other people’s feelings. This is why this manga is one of the best coming-of-age story. However, a significant flaw should also be pointed out. All the minor characters have flat personality, a trait that is quite annoying sometimes. This only gets worse and worse as we approach the later chapters.

Enjoyment:
I thoroughly enjoyed this manga. A word of warning, though, this manga turns into a romantic-comedy with occasional seriousness toward the later chapters. I have to blame this on the manga becoming so popular that this trend is almost demanded by populace.

KNIM 3

Nonetheless, for boys and girls who would like to read a superb romance manga, this will not disappoint. Personally, nothing (unless it turns into complete rubbish, which is not happening) will stop me from associating KnIM with the title of “The Best Manga Love Story Ever”.

Overall: 
This is an incredible romance, drama, slice-of-life manga that realistically portrays the relationship between a high-school boy and a high-school girl (a relationship that is extended in university). You may not agree with my giving it the title of “The Best” in romance category, but it is an undeniable fact that reading this manga is a hell of a ride.


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