Currently Reading: Kirai

Yes, I know I said that I would do Oishii Kankei. I’m sorry. I was just reading this until about one in the morning last night and I really loved it, so… ^_^

Kirai by Miura Noriko

Summary (MangaFox): He seduces girls, gets them and then dumps them. He specializes in the one-night-stand. He has no interest in love or romance. Dating someone would be a pain. This terrible guy, Hanada Shintarou, is nevertheless, extremely popular. But then he meets a girl (Matsumoto Sakura) who might just be the one who can change him and his low opinion of women. The only problem is that she despises him!

Thoughts so far:

As this manga was being updates back in ’08 and ’09, I went on ignoring it because I thought that Shintarou (the blond haired character you see on the cover of volume one) was really ugly. At the time, I was immature and uncultured, and refused to read anything written in the 90’s. Terrible? Yes.

But don’t be fooled by the art. This series is AMAZING!

Let me start off by saying that I love Sakura and Shintarou. They both fit character types you’ve seen in other manga for sure, but bear in mind that this was written in 1998. Also, Miura-sensei takes the characters in a rather interesting direction as the series goes on.

In modern terms, Sakura can simply be described as tsundere…minus the pigtails. She has this slapsticky aspect to her personality when she whacks Shintarou around, but it’s not in-your-face since Shintarou kind of deserves it. As the series progresses, Sakura develops this really thoughtful side to her, and by the end of the updates I currently have access to (up to Chapter 35), she’s mostly lost that tsundere personality. What I love about this transformation is that she chooses to make decisions for her own future, regardless of what Shintarou and her family want. There’s nothing I appreciate more than a level headed and independent heroine!

After reading, I’m was surprised by how likeable I found Shintarou to be. I went in thinking that he would be this aloof, playboyish character – and he was, to start. But as the series went on, his interactions with Sakura lead to personality changes that were SUPER INTERESTING to watch. He still retains that aloof persona to other people, but he slowly becomes more caring and willing to believe in love. I know that sounds totally cheesy and contrived, but it’s completely true and I’ve never seen such a transformation be more believable than it has been here.

The progression of the love story was really excellent. There was not one moment where I thought the motivations of Shintarou or Sakura were fake or unbelievable. Also, the growth of their relationship was so gradual it seemed completely natural that they would fall in love – exactly as it should. In a lot of shoujo manga, falling in love seems to be a lot more abrupt (not that love ISN’T abrupt), in such a way that it seems almost unrealistic. I love that this is NOT the case here.

I have no major beefs with any of the minor characters except for Shintarou’s fangirls, who have a SEVERE NEED for counselling sessions. The fact that they are that desperate to sleep with Shintarou is simply unhealthy. =__= I realize that there are definitely people like this in the world, but still. Sakura needs to punch them into a therapist’s office or something.

The one complaint I have right now is that in the later chapters, Sakura is virtually NO WHERE TO BE SEEN. I know the author has reasons for this, but I want to see what she’s doing! I realize the scanlation group that’s doing this releases every 125 days or something (I checked online), BUT STILL. T_T

The art is…an acquired taste. When I first started reading it, I thought the art was completely ugly even though I liked the plot. I don’t find this to be the case any more though. The art has this sort of unique visual style that is good at conveying the characters’ emotions. Basically, it’s not the sort of style I would emulate when drawing, but I think the art is effective – which is the true point, really.

I HIGHLY recommend this manga to anyone who really loves “retro” shoujo manga. To those of you who don’t, this is a great place to start!

Rating so far: 9/10