COMPLETED! Gamerz Heaven

For those of you who didn’t see my review of Gamerz Heaven volume one, read it here.

In hindsight, Gamerz Heaven wasn’t all bad. Let me repeat. “Gamerz Heaven wasn’t all bad.” No, but THE BAD PARTS WERE UNIMAGINABLY HORRIFIC! I mean, my goodness! How could Maki Muramaki do an even worse job than I could imagine? But we’ll get to that. Right now!

Volume two spends our time in the game, as does the remainder of the series. This volume it manages to pick up speed, but not enough to save this from being put on hiatus. We FINALLY learn why that one girl hates Kaito. Oh wait, it’s not clearly stated. She’s like “WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO NICE? THAT’S WHY I HATE YOU!” Well, that was a great character-driven goal. Thanks! She gets killed, as do the bullies, so dreams do come true. Also, a creepy teacher seems to have the game…

And that’s when the series was put on hiatus in America! So I had to read scanlations to finish this up. As such, I won’t pick on the translation of the last two volumes, given that it’s not official. Dialogue is a different matter.

Volume three is when it loses the speed it gained previously. Characters have completely lost any essence they might have had, such as the the girl unworthy of being noted turning into a lesbian villain or Nata having a personality. It makes anything the creator has to say untrustworthy. There’s some amusing bits in the beginning of the volume, but aside from that it’s a terrible volume. But that’s when volume four stops the show.

Volume four. Wow. It could not have done this any worse. Well, that’s not true. I actually like how bad it is. Remember my griping about how a boy isn’t the best option to get gamers to continue playing? Well, Nata made Kaito attracted to him. Yes, the whole reason Kaito is a creepy stalker is because of Nata’s brainwashing. This… makes… Nata… the… VILLAIN! I mean, COME ON. They never say he is because he isn’t according to the series, but he convinced this guy to play a game that would destroy the world! Doesn’t anyone see an issue with this? He’s so obviously evil! Nevertheless, Kaito forgives him. Great. Glasses girl also seems to have a bit of evil in her, but this never goes anywhere. Oh, I forgot, in volume three Rush turns out to be Ren’s dog. Yeah, great twist. Just like the ending! Ready?

Ahem…

Ren, Rush, and villain girl are all off doing their own thing, so pay no heed to them. Kaito, glasses girl, and Nata try to save the world. They do not. It seems they lost the game, as they just missed their chance to win. This, I must be honest, has me amused. Look, the ending is a MAJOR slap in the face to anyone who enjoyed this series. Me? I suppose they all died. Or, at least, I would, had Mr. Muramaki not completely botched the ending. On the final page, Kaito is alone on his bed with his controller and a slack jaw. This, unfortunately, means that a perfectly funny ending is DESTROYED BY AMBIGUITY. Was it all just in his mind? Did he lose and now must pay the consequences? Had they just ended with the previous page, I would’ve said it was an ending to be proud of. But no, Muramaki wants to be vague. Well, nice job, moron!

Personally, I’d like to think it was real. That would mean his slack jaw shows that he learns to realize the consequences of his actions. In the first volume, he plays the game without much thought. “Games need to be played!” Throughout the course of the series, he’s foolhardy and just acts upon his actions. Maybe he could learn to be less foolish and take responsibility, if we can assume he doesn’t die. Now, if it was a dream, maybe he could learn to read a book. That would be fine, as long as it’s not this one.

Muramaki lacks confidence in himself, and it shows. Aside from labeling characters with distorted faces that look nothing like the character, he even says that he made it up as he was going along. Wow. Yeah, never would’ve guessed. It’s also difficult to follow who’s talking. Speech bubbles just happen, never with much association to a particular person. It’s awful.

Hey, for a game called “Gamerz Heaven”, shouldn’t this be a mix of video games, and NOT JUST RPGs? I mean, that would be fun! Some heaven for gamers.

I hate the almost reveals. Anytime a character is about to reveal something, they get interrupted. It’s so constant it hurts. And you know, this title really could’ve used the exposition. We never learn who made the game, why they made it, how they made it. We’re left in the dark about the basics of the game, like how everyone just knows how to use their abilities. How did Kaito just summon a sword? Or villain girl with magic? Why is Ren interested in the game? Or glasses girl? OR VILLAIN GIRL? Did Kaito ever get suspended? Is everyone who died still dead? Why mention background music in the last volume for the first time? Shouldn’t you have made a funny joke out of that? Why did Nata try to monopolize Kaito? Why does glasses girl have an evil side? Is everything that’s unexplained just a bug? AND WHAT DOES THAT ENDING MEAN? These questions and many others will be answered NEVER.

Who makes a game with only three saves? That’s just bad programming. Sorry, I have a ton of questions and no one to answer them. Who makes a manga with terrible plot holes and doesn’t answer them? Well, Maki Muramaki. Finally, one down.

Final Impression: This manga will make you feel like a chump. With an almost horrible yet different and funny ending becoming a horrible and confusing ending, it’s no wonder why this series didn’t make the cut. Maki Muramaki is a joke, but just the kind that makes you feel bad for laughing. I guess he had success with Gravitation, but I’m in no hurry to buy it. Overall, this series is a confusing mess that asks plenty of questions and answers, like, two. Don’t bother.

Completion Rating: 1 Rhinoceros Waiter out of a Possible 7.

Advertisements

Gamerz Heaven

Well, my birthday is coming up, so I thought “Why not review something special?” And so, I give you the gift of “Gamerz Heaven” volume one. I’ll probably review the other volume and online scans some other time, given that this volume was enough for me to sob uncontrollably in the corner.

If I had one minor complaint to make about Gamerz Heaven, it would be that the protagonist tells everyone his story about how he went into a video game world. He says that his classmate was there, but no one remembers her. One persons says that “Ren is the class president” even though the protagonist never said that the classmate was. Again, just a minor complaint.

Now here’s the other fifty major complaints.

Plot: Kaito Suzuki is obsessed with video games. So much so that he gets sucked into one! HA HA HA HA! That’s never happened in any other media! Kaito must protect The Navigator, AKA “Nata”, or else he’ll lose the game. However, it seems that with every battle comes destruction on our own world! …Which seems to also be the video game world, I don’t know. Can Kaito save Nata from inevitable doom?

I HATE this manga. This is the same person who did “Kanpai!” And it really shows. The protagonist looks EXACTLY like Kanpai!’s protagonist. Nary a difference between the two. But which is worse? In my opinion, Kanpai! is worse. But honestly, this has less going for it. At least Kanpai! had a shot with a semi-interesting idea. This? It’s been done to death. If it handled it well, like “Brave Story”, then I could get behind it. But I can’t because of all its faults.

First off, everyone is ANNOYING. Kaito is annoying. I got it, he loves video games and bleeds too easily. More on that later. The glasses girl is annoying. She seems kind of fun, except for her glaring lack of consistent personality. Is she tough? Emotional? Fun? Strict? Nata is EXTREMELY annoying. He’s not an enjoyable character, but I’ll devote a paragraph on him soon. The classmate Kaito destroyed was annoying, but I tolerated her more because at least she was right. Kaito makes a mockery of himself, and she wants him to be more orderly. While she does do this is a cartoony manner, she has a point. But no, she gets killed and no one remembers her. Fun.

Nata is terrible. I don’t get why the creator decided to choose a young boy instead of a cute girl. Look, the cute girl gimmick is old, sure. But that’s only because 8 out of 10 mothers agree that female characters are a much better seducing teenage boys than little kids. The other two mothers are kind of scary. Kaito constantly feels drawn to Nata, but I don’t think he makes a good hook. Again, a female character would be great. Or something not unlike a Pokemon. Or an anthropomorphic doorstop. Why not. Anything but a little boy. Yeah, I wanna save a little kid that sounds like a robot and has no personality.

Kaito is awful. I mean, the worst. Well, there’s worse, but I hate him. He puts video games ahead of everything. This wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t DESTROYING THE WORLD IN THE PROCESS. Whenever he goes into the game, someone dies or a store is reduced to a smoking crater. Speaking of which, one character says the game world is more believable than a meteorite hitting the middle of Japan. WHAT? But I digress. Kaito has no life out of gaming, which makes him an uncomfortable character to read about. His only goals are glorified fantasies, his logic is based on his selfish desires. He’s not someone to get behind of. He’s someone to throw into a woodchipper!

On top of that, Maki Muramaki can’t draw. I hated his art in Kanpai!, I hate it now. His scenes are confusing, his characters are ugly. The bloody scenes are the worst of these. He can’t draw blood, nor does he realize what causes blood. If Kaito so much as gets poked with a broom, he shoots an endless stream of blood from his mouth. This was a running gag in Kanpai!, but here it seems only Kaito bleeds profusely. It’s never funny. Plus, if he’s supposed to save the Earth, how can he expect to do so with all the blood loss? The glasses girl punches him at one point, and it seems to be a serious scene. But I can’t accept that, given he bleeds in his typical comedic way. Horrible.

Minor errors add up. The classmate thing at the beginning, for starters. How does Kaito confuse Nata for a girl? Even I could tell! A straightman character, Ren, threatens to leave if gamers will be expelled, which leads to every female in the school going crazy. But he was never established as a heartthrob prior to this! It’s a weak delivery.

My biggest complaint with this, aside from just despising it, is the lack of realistic or existent goals. Kaito wants to keep playing not to save the world, but to keep Nata safe. Terrible and selfish. Glasses girl wants to play because… I guess she’s bored. Ren wants to play because… no clue. Maybe he’s also bored. It seems he knows a character in the game, but so what? One other girl in the group I didn’t bother to mention has no goals. She’s not even noteworthy. Two bullies want to beat up Kaito because he’s not serious in school. Yeah, not like you guys. Oh wait, they want to beat him up because he hangs out with girls! Okay, that’s nonsense. A female classmate wants Kaito to get beaten up because… she hates him for no reason.

Okay, SOMEONE NEEDS A GOAL. I’m tired of this cast of motion-goers! It’s not even clear why they need Nata! Who even made this game? Anything? ANYTHING? I can’t get one measly goal in this place, can I? YOU NEED TO HAVE A DRIVING FORCE FOR A CHARACTER’S ACTIONS! Being bored or falling for a cute boy isn’t proper motivation! It’s mindless action directed at a bunch of characters with too much time on their hands!

This was the first manga I remember hating as a kid. It taught me that there is some bad writers and artists in the world of manga, not just geniuses. I’m glad it got put on indefinite hiatus, the best kind for a series like this. No one is relatable, no one is likable, no one is properly motivated. This is just an awful, awful manga for anyone to read. Happy birthday to me.

Overall Opinion: If you believe in the devil and not everything turns out so well, if there’s a Gamerz Heaven then there must be a Gamerz Hell. And it’s probably better than this. Destroy it.

Rating: Zero. No thumbs, stars, or letter grades. Just a big roly-poly zero.

Alien Nine

“Alien Nine” is, yet again, a title I was vaguely aware of as a child. The concept freaked me out, so I didn’t bother. I eventually bought it, read, it, and overall enjoyed it. And yes, it ended up freaking me out anyway. So put on your alien frog helmets! Time for Alien Nine!

Plot: In the future, which appears to be sometime around now, aliens invade our planet. However, they’re less like evil masterminds and more like lost cattle. Three girls are chosen to corral these aliens with the help of their borgs, which look like frogs. They also talk. Fair enough. Two of the girls seem up to the task, but Yuri, the third girl, is frightened of all the alien menaces. Can she learn to fight the fight, or will their teacher fail at their vague goal?

You might think having Yuri as the protagonist would be annoying, and you’d be kind of right. Her kind of character is usually reserved for side characters that won’t go into spooky abandoned mansions without prodding. But for what she is, it’s handled pretty well. It’s about Yuri and trying to face her fears, which overall sets a more serious tone. By the end of the volume, she’s just as helpless and useless from the start, and to me, that’s not okay. Maybe later on she does, but now, she’s kind of in the way. Although I must say, if she’s not a fantastic protagonist, at least she’s realistic. Honestly, could you say that it would be easy to deal with aliens? She doesn’t just jump into it like most would, and for that, I think she makes a good focus.

Okay, what about the other two? Well, Kumi is a strong individual, while Kasumi definitely has her positives. I like how these two do have definable traits, unlike some manga where characters are only described by their talent. Kasumi is definitely the most fun and creative. She actually enjoys fighting the invaders, as opposed to every other girl who can’t stand them. Speaking of which, I especially enjoy the scene where a poll is shown of why girls hate aliens and are, in fact, considered worse than bugs and reptiles.

The aliens are GREAT. I mean, real top notch work. No matter what manga with aliens I’ve read, the aliens would almost always have a humanoid appearance. Here, I don’t know what to make of some of them. One is an alien cow thing with fists, no face, and what appears to be five legs. Another is a combination of a fish, a bird, and a pet. This on its own convinced me that the artist knew what they were doing. The art itself is fine, albeit a little generic. Oh yeah, except ALL THE ALIENS. But it is a stunning kind of generic.

I’ve only read volume one, so I don’t know what the teacher’s motives are. She appears to have alien hair or something, I don’t know. Yuri only drags down her plan, but for some reason she’s not allowed to quit before she’s done. I guess that interferes with the plan, but again, not sure what it is. The teacher herself is okay, but she’s just the basic nice teacher type. As for the borgs, they seem to have personality, but not a lot. To the manga’s credit, the teacher says the borgs didn’t get their personalities yet, so maybe that has to do with it.

I guess this is a coming of age, as the trio have their own backstories and such, so that’s always good. Specifically Yuri’s coming of age. She has the most conflict (well, pretty much the only conflict), so it’s no wonder why this is a character development story.

If I have any qualms with this, they’re minor. Most of them revolve around the translator’s work. A running gag has the teacher come to a house, a borg opens the door, and it says “Nice reconnaissance.” Well, I didn’t know what that word mean, so I looked it up and it wasn’t worth it. Why not say “Nice snooping”? I don’t know, like I said, minor details.

This is an enjoyable read, with great drama and creativity. Plus, it’s nice to see one manga where they aliens aren’t cute girls. Seriously. Urusei Yatsura, Girls Bravo, Onegai Teacher… there’s more, but I’ve done this before.

Overall Opinion: Pleasant manga with great characters and aliens. Definitely worth your time.

Rating: Two Thumbs Up, Four Stars out of Five, and an “A-“.

CLAMP School Detectives

This is another title I only saw the cover artwork for as a kid. “CLAMP School Detectives” is quite an enjoyable read, despite a few hiccups. Let’s jump right in!

Plot: Three kind-hearted infallible HOT GUYS! want to help any female in distress. So out of what I can only assume is boredom, the three protagonists form the CLAMP School Detectives! Fair enough.

The primary issue I have with this one is the HOT GUYS! on the cover. They’re our protagonists. That’s fine, but how old would you say they are? Would you believe they’re all in elementary school? Well, you might because they look like boys, but I’m used to the cutesy short boys in the other manga. They look like teenagers to me! And that’s what they should’ve been. Why, you ask? Well, here’s a disturbing exposition about them:

ALL THE GIRLS IN SCHOOL ARE IN LOVE WITH THEM.

Now, this would be fine if they were in an elementary school and nothing more. But the CLAMP School hosts students from Kindergarten to College. Think about that. They’re in grades 4 to 6, and college girls are fawning over them.

Okay. First, WHAT????? DOES NO ONE SEE A PROBLEM WITH THIS? COLLEGE GIRLS. COLLEGE GIRLS! That’s not charming, that’s straight up illegal! If they were in High School, then I would justify it. Even Archie characters go out with College students. And Junior High, while problematic, at least makes sense, given that their reproductive organs exist by this point. But to have the College girls go after three elementary students just skeezes me out. Here’s the strange thing, though. This is never really a thing for anyone. They just mention it in passing, and they move on. It’s highly disturbing to me, but I just have to move on.

The boys themselves are basically perfect boys. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but “FLAWS ARE IMPORTANT!”. Although here, it’s kind of an interesting take. They don’t have a female character that they choose as a girlfriend, which would make them boring. You know, like how in Fall In Love Like A Comic, the perfect boyfriend chooses the most generic girl in school to date because they’re BORED. Here, they’re just bouncing off each other. We get to focus on what the boys do rather than see a female comparing herself to the perfect guy. In that sense, this manga is a cut above the rest.

Okay, but how do the boys differ? Well, it seems to mostly focus on the blonde. He have an extreme soft spot for any female in the Universe. He’s Richie Rich rich, he’s a super genius, he’s a man of elegance and taste and the world and everyone loves him. Well, guess who doesn’t love him? I sure don’t know. I actually kind of like this guy. He’s way too perfect to be taken seriously, but on the other hand, he doesn’t use his powers to annoy everyone. He genuinely wants to help others and cheer people up, which I find to be a very rewarding attribute in him. He’s definitely the most appealing of the three, and one of the better “Marty Stus” I’ve read about.

The other two are a blue-haired kid who seems to be level-headed and another kid who doesn’t realize that girls like him. These two don’t stand out nearly as much as the blonde one, but they have their moments. I’m just wondering about the non-blonde and non-blue-haired kid. The one with a brownish purplish hair color. Is he in love with Blondie? He says his “heart belongs to another”, and blushes when he tells Blondie, but no one ever questions him on it. Add in the fact that he’s oblivious to the girls and that’s really all I need to end this paragraph.

Blondie (whose name is Nokoru, but I’m going with Blondie) solves women’s plights. In the first story, they get an old woman’s house back from a businessman. But rather than buy it off of him and be done with it, they buy it off of him and trick him into filling up his office with exotic pets, forcing him to buy back him office from the trio and losing a ton of money due to a contractual law. Well, you caused an entire company to go out of business, but at least you got an old woman’s house back. Hooray?

I’m the type of reader that incessantly tries to guess what the twist will be. With this one, I got none of it right. And that’s good for any series. You want to give your readers a challenge. Mix it up a little! They never went for the most obvious answer, always doing it in the most convoluted way possible. Like when they try to find a lost pet peacock. What do they do? Rent all the female peacocks in the zoos to find it! Well, that was odd.

The whole series (or at least the volume I read) is just the trio having a good time. They have minor struggles, but it’s all in good fun. The endings tend to fall flat, and the characters aside from Blondie aren’t all that interesting, but I find that for what it is, it’s worth a read.

Favorite Character: Nokoru, or “Blondie” for your benefit of telling the three apart. He’s such an extreme character. Not like “Ex-TREME!”, but more like “that’s not what people do!” Like when he got a mountain of Valentine Chocolates from pretty much every girl. What does he do with it? Eat it, of course! How could he disappoint the ladies of the world by rejecting their choclate? He alone makes me come back wanting more.

Overall Opinion: While not the best, it’s an entertaining little title about three boys who just wanna satisfy ALL the ladies of the world! Recommended!

Rating: One Thumb Up, Two and a Half Stars out of Five, and an “A-“.

The Magic Touch

I’m sorry, I have a hard time disliking a manga that uses the phrase “fwippity fwop”. This is “The Magic Touch”.

Plot: Chiaki is a high school girl who loves to massage. She falls in love with a stranger’s back and asks to massage it. He accepts, but only if she makes him fall in love with her. Why? BECAUSE HE’S BOOOOORED! This kind of character always sucks, but he manages to carry it off better than most. But not all. But that’s for another time. Anyway, they proceed to fall in love at the end of Chapter Three. And it still goes on. Well, that was gripping.

Okay, I’m not going to be very helpful with this one. This manga is has the very dubious honor of EVERYONE HATING IT. I don’t know what I can say to add onto this one. Well… except for the fact that I actually like this one. I’m not even disappointed that I got a manga that’s renowned for being hated and ended up liking it! It’s awful, yes. Probably one of the worst translated titles of our day and age. But that’s because people are taking it too seriously!

Okay, first: What doesn’t work? Well, all the plots are resolved too quickly. The art is cringeworthy regarding the males. They all look the same, a common manga artist flaw. The twists are predictable, the twin sister is especially awful, and it uses every shojo cliche ever made.

But I have a rebuttal: I like resolution. I don’t want to wait fifteen thousand volumes to see a vampire and a human kiss, or in this case, a girl to massage a guy. Not that I want to see that anyway. The cringiness of the artwork is actually done in a good way, in the sense that it’s kind of fun. The predictable twists are like those children’s shows that say something obvious, which allows a child to feel smart when they realize it. The twin sister is still awful, but she disappears once the tension is resolved.

Now, the shojo cliches. It’s far, far better to view this one not as a serious manga, but a parody of shojo. Go on, it works! Yeah, it doesn’t have the “tongue-in-cheek” style of parody that would actually justify this, but if you view it as a conglomeration of common shojo cliches, you too will have a good time with this one.

Chiaki is like every shojo heroine ever, again. I feel like I’ve said this at least twice. But she’s different because she’s in this title. She also has a twin sister who is, of course, evil. The mother, who only appears half on-screen for a panel, doesn’t realize this, despite the twin clearly having cloven hooves and a tail. Or, in realistic terms, her eyes are mean-looking. But I digress. Chiaki is a goof, but here it works for her. She goes through every cliche a heroine of a romance manga can go through, but again, take it like a parody.

The boyfriend, Yosuke, is pretty lame. Like I said, he wants her because HE’S BORRRRRRRED, but it’s not as awful if, of course, you blank it out. He only says it once anyway. They always do. But I must object to this. Why do these HOT GUYS! who have it all want the plain girl who can’t function in human society? Aside from being BOREEEEEEEEEEED, that is. The girls aren’t toys. My advice it to buy a video game or invent a boon to our society if you have nothing to do.

The whole premise is dashed away too fast. There’s little tension. Yeah, I know I just said I like resolution. But not when you dispose of the whole premise! What if the Mother was met in episode three of season one? Then we wouldn’t have “Let’s Go To The Mall” or “Slap Bet”! Okay, those are the same episode, but still. You see though? If you dash away the drama entirely, you lose what really counts. The ride.

After the main plot point is gone, we get a nice bonus story where Chiaki’s brother, who looks exactly like Yosuke (that explains so much), tries to get a girlfriend. It’s actually a really nice story, and it works well. The only problem? IT’S IN THE MIDDLE OF THE VOLUME! I don’t know, that’s not how I was raised. We don’t randomly insert a bonus story after only three chapters (unless the volume is made up of three chapters).

I found it to be a humorous little title, actually. The jokes worked for me, and the whole premise is goofy, but deviates from the norm. Stupid premise? Yeah, but at least it tries to do something odd. Which is more than I can say about most shojo these days. It’s no Kimi Ni Todoke, which doesn’t need a gimmick to work, but for what it is, I enjoyed it.

If you expect to hate this one, fine. I don’t really recommend this little title, but I personally enjoyed it. It definitely gets a raised rating because of how much more I preferred it to “Fall In Love Like A Comic”. I mean, just trade some details with that one. If Rena was going to be thrown out because of massaging people, then I would believe that. Likewise, if The Magic Touch used that element, it would be better, I guess. I don’t know, it’s tough to say. At least this one doesn’t beat around the bush.

Overall Opinion: A much-hated manga, and for good reason. But if you read this massage manga like I did, you can expect a happy ending. I’m so sorry.

Rating: Two Thumbs Down, Four Stars out of Five, and a “C-“.

President Dad

Okay, this is called “President Dad”. PRESIDENT DAD. With a name like that, it sounds like a kid’s movie. Maybe Disney or something, I don’t know. However, this is less like a hokey Disney movie and more like Disney’s Cinderella. Oh, how sick I am of all the Cinderella, Alice In Wonderland, Snow White, Wizard of Oz (to an extent), and that one Japanese folktale about the boy in the peach or something with animals and an ogre… retellings. There’s so many other great stories without having to take it from those five. But here’s “President Dad”.

Plot: Ami Won is such a loser! She doesn’t even have mention in the title! She’s shocked to discover that her father has been elected for Korea’s President! Ami Won must deal with the effects of being the President’s daughter! Can she… you know, I’m not sure what this manwha is trying to say.

The first problem I have is, of course, the title. It’s barely about the President, and yet he’s the one the manwha is named after. But it’s okay, because the father is nothing more than a typical father-obsessed-with-their-daughter character. I like that type, but it feels overused and unoriginal. Ami herself is the same as every other “poor me” heroine in manga (or, in this case, manwha). She actually sells it pretty well, and she’s less grating than most of her type. But I didn’t read this for her, I read it for the President Dad! BAH!

I mentioned in the beginning that this is a Cinderella takeoff. However, this manwha doesn’t realize that and makes Snow White references. But why should that be? I mean, this has a scene where a boy she likes gives her a shoe. It has an evil “step-sister” and “step-mother” (aunt and cousin, but whatever). She’s often put down, despite how good she looks. Everyone outside of the President calls her plain, but she’s quite pretty. So why claim it’s a Snow White story? But I digress.

I feel bad for the other aunt, especially since it doesn’t seem like she has a name. Aside from that, it would appear that she’s supposed to be the evil step-mother, but she’s concerned about Ami Won and protects her from harm. On the other hand, she acts like a tough character, has a wicked yet gorgeous face, and (GASP!) smokes. Oh, and she tied up the President. But she’s not the evil aunt, so there’s no need to portray her as such in the beginning! Fortunately, towards the end of volume one she seems to act more like a protagonist.

One disturbing character is Fahrenheit. He can shapeshift into anyone, but this seems extraordinarily painful. Seriously, he can change his height and features? It’s probably torture. Kind of awesome, though.

There’s some plot I don’t follow about a boy who went somewhere or something and might be a spy. At least, that might be what it’s about. It wasn’t the focus of this manwha, so I have no idea how it pertains to future volumes. But I hope the focus is mostly on Ami Won’s transformation into an adult. At least, that might be what it’s about.

I found the plot a bit baffling, and I felt the overall story might have had too much going on. They introduce us to a number of characters in the first volume alone, so it’s hard to understand what’s going on. Will Ami Won become a dignified lady? What’s with the spy or something boy? Does the President actually do something to deserve his name to be titular, or is he B.J. Novaking this whole series? Is there any point Auntie gets a name? What will the evil aunt do to Ami Won? Is the neat-freak cousin going to do something plotworthy? See, it’s all too much to take in. Oh, and Fahrenheit might feel pain when he transforms. Whatever.

Favorite Character: The aunt that isn’t actually evil. She’s probably the funniest character in the whole thing. Plus, she genuinely cares for her niece, which is always pleasant to read about. Oh, and Fahrenheit has his moments as well.

Favorite Quote: Ami Won: “I’m not going to drink chocolate milk anymore. High school girls drink coffee-flavored milk.”

The story is quite engaging, but there’s too much of it. The humor is fairly decent, and the art is basic, but passable. While I’d like to have actually read a manwha about a dad and his new struggles as President instead of another Cinderella story, this one is a pretty good telling of an old classic. Not bad.

Overall Opinion: Readable manwha with an engaging cast and good storytelling. Give it a go if you’re interested.

Rating: One Thumb Down, Three and a Half Stars out of Five, and a “B-“.

Inukami!

I didn’t like “Inukami!” at all. It starts out promising, but it leads into one of the most disappointing and anticlimactic manga I’ve read ever. No, in a while. A year. A month. Close enough. How many times can they do the same formula? “Guy’s a pervert, girl isn’t human, they live together, she tortures him, they fall in love”. The only real difference is what kind of non-human girl we have this time. It’s a dog-spirit thing! Exciting!

Plot: Pervert gets an Inukami, which is some kind of dog spirit. They fight, she loves him, she hates him, he doesn’t want her, he expresses mild interest in her, blah blah blah BLAH! Yoko is said Inukami, who has a secret that I’ll spoil later on, but now she’s a childish girl-dog who wants Keita, the aforementioned pervert. Keita and Yoko solve mysteries, but not in a van (which would’ve been much more interesting than this), although this is usually shoved aside for Kaoru and his Inukami team. More on them later.

This premise wouldn’t be so bad if they used any premise other than this. It’s extremely stale with nothing to shake it up. Yoko is like Saati from “A.I. Love You” or Lum from “Urusei Yatsura”: Non-human, cute girls who don’t understand human customs very well, love their pervert man but constantly abuse them despite their constant mention of said love. It’s tired, and it shouldn’t have been the focus of the entire series.

This manga constantly starts plot points but never manages to finish it. What is the importance of Karina’s ancestor? What will Yoko’s father do to her? What is the extent of Nadeshiko’s powers? None of this is answered properly (or at all, really). Most of all, Kaoru. Oh, how I hate him. In fact, because of him, I’m adding a new tag and saying this phrase for the first time on here: “Kaoru is a Marty Stu.” GASP!

I don’t like using the term because it’s hard to pinpoint what a Mary Sue or Marty Stu is. Kaoru, though, seems to fit the bill quite well. He has no flaws, looks devastatingly attractive, has ten female Inukami who fight over him, lives in a mansion, is kind-hearted and generous, listens to everyone’s problems, and everyone talks about great he is, even though he never does anything of consequence. Basically, he’s completely unbearable. Maybe I’m wrong about his “perfectness” (aside from being boring), but he does nothing to prove he deserves it, nothing that acknowledges that he has a point. He’s definitely a terrible character to have to read about, and I utterly hate him. But I digress.

Onto characters that actually do stuff. Keita’s a pervert, but he’s the kind of… no, wait, I still haven’t finished complaining about Kaoru. One minor detail, sorry. When introduced, it’s done so in the shadows. This implies that he’s either evil or mysterious. Well, he’s a sweetheart, and outside of an uncomfortable scene of him brushing Nadeshiko’s tail, he isn’t evil. This was a bad move on their part. If he was evil and only treated his Inukami respectfully to gain their trust, then he’d be appealing to read about. But they didn’t go that route, unfortunately. So he must be mysterious, right? NO! He has nothing to hide; his life’s an open book. No revelations about Kaoru occur, no dramatic twists. So why was he even here? Why was he mentioned so much? He was a complete waste of a character. Okay, NOW I digress.

Keita’s a pervert, but he’s the kind of pervert with a heart of gold. You know, the kind that rents porn videos in a store for the purehearted. He’s almost always awful, but with every Inukami he meets, he does ONE NICE THING and he’s suddenly the best Inukami trainer ever. Trouble talking to males? “PANTY PEEK!” “PERVERT!” “Hey, you should express your emotions.” “Wow, I’m falling for Keita!” Wash, rinse, repeat, then throw out. He’s fairly dull if you look at him closely. Ataru from Urusei Yatsura was fun because he was completely unlucky and unredeemable. If he suddenly gave Lum a lollipop, that would not make up for his lecherous ways. So the fact that everyone loves Keita for doing a minor kind action is unbearable to read about.

Yoko is cute, but unpleasant. I did enjoy her childishness and her various hairstyles, but she wasn’t interesting enough for me. Yoko seems promising at first, but she seems to fall in love with Keita without reason. And it’s so early on, too. She has amazing powers, but uses it to have a lacking action scene, strip, burn, or explode Keita, and apparently turn into some kind of fox or dog, I don’t care. She acts tough in the beginning, but she turns into a cardboard cutout of so many female manga characters. Also, she has a dull revelation. Spoiler in the next paragraph.

Turns out, Yoko is a fox spirit or something, I don’t care. It has no bearing on the plot, so why bother to put it in? There’s no valid reason, so it was a waste of a revelation. Moving on.

Kaoru has ten Inukami, one of which is Nadeshiko, who I find boring. She’s not the opposite of Yoko, but she’s close enough. But she’s not interesting enough to have three chapters on her. The other nine are a Victorian-style Inukami, twins, a girl with glasses, a child, a spunky one, a nurse one, a flirty one, and… TENSO! Ah, Tenso. Your bangs that cover the eyes, your drawing skills, the fact that you barely ever appear so you never end up doing anything stupid… yeah, I enjoyed seeing her, and it kept me going through this title. Again, it’s a shame she almost never appeared. Yes, out of ten Inukami, I only liked one. ‘Tis a shame, but I don’t care.

I could go on about characters, like Karina who appears like everyone knows him, or Hake who I thought was a girl, but I’ve gone on too much about them. The plots dangle like a dongle. It never knows what it wants to be. Mystery? Poor action? Fantasy? Eventually, it settles for romance, but it’s too little too late. I also noticed some plot errors. For example, Yoko mentions she’s illiterate. “That doesn’t sound right,” I pondered. “That MUST contradict something from earlier!” So I thought and thought and thought, and I realized… in volume one, YOKO WROTE NADESHIKO A NOTE! IF SHE CAN WRITE, SHE CAN READ! Don’t give her a half-hearted plot point for an unfunny joke! But let’s wrap this up.

I Don’t Care If It Spoils Anything Ending: Yoko and Keita love each other, she admits she’s not an Inukami and scared away potential Inukami away, and he admits he planned to sell her as a kid. This leaves nothing one would care about unsolved. Wonderful!

You know what? No. I have a few more things to complain about, so I might as well get them out. In one story, Keita disappears and reappears acting nice. This is a two-part story. Keita and a mysterious man named “The Doctor” (no, not even close to that one) are lurking in the bushes. This is a two-part story. Turns out Keita was acting nice to peek at the girls naked. This is a two-part story. Wonderful!

One character is a grim reaper. He’s gorgeous and acts like a ham on arrival. However, he can’t see without his glasses, so he confuses Keita for someone else. Sound familiar? How about Mousse from Ranma 1/2? You can say this was a coincidence, but the glasses are EXACTLY THE SAME. Just a minor complaint.

If Yoko is scared into submission because of dogs, why didn’t Keita use that to his advantage outside of the first chapter? Don’t say he’s purehearted, because that’s bull. Plus, she IS a dog (well, not really, but still). Plus, she isn’t scared of NINE DOGS that come up against her, and she claims she isn’t scared of them. The context isn’t even relevant to her fear of dogs; she was referring to the other Inukami. BUT THEY’RE IN DOG FORM! Moving toward the end now.

The art is nice, but basic. On some pages the ink isn’t properly printed, so it looks sketchy. But I almost never replace art over plot and characters. It can look very pretty, but the point of every romance story ever is looks aren’t important compared to what’s inside. And that’s why Inukami! fails.

Overall Opinion: If you just jumped to this section, I basically said I didn’t enjoy this particular outing because of its plot errors, loose threads, and pointless characters. For those of you who read the full thing, you guys are the best.

Rating: I don’t want to give “Inukami!” a typical rating, because I don’t think I could make it work on my conventional scale. So I’ll just say that it’s better than “Onegai Teacher”, but worse than “A.I. Love You”. Draw your own rating.