Review: Rockin’ Heaven


I’ve seen this manga kicking around in the manga updates for a while now, so I kind of just decided to give it a try. And it was okay, I guess.

Which isn’t a resounding recommendation, I will admit.
Anyway, here’s a look at Rockin’ Heaven.

Rockin’ Heaven by Sakai Mayu

Summary (edited from MangaFox): Sawa applies to Heaven’s Wing Academy, thinking she would look cute in the uniform. But she never expected the academy to be a previously all-boys’ school! To make matters worse, Ran, the head honcho of the school, and class president doesn’t seem to like her one bit, and takes no pains to hide it. At first, adjusting to life at the academy is tough; Sawa is bullied and teased, and the boys in the class even throw her new shoes in the water. While attempting to retrieve her shoes, she falls into the water and is unexpectedly saved by Ran. The newfound gentleness in Ran intrigues her—and she finds herself falling for him. What will her days be like for the rest of her school life?

Review:

Well. I came into this manga not expecting to much, and came out of it…without getting much out of it.

Rockin’ Heaven is what I find generic shoujo to be. Sawa fits all of the stereotypes, as does Ran, and they don’t do too much to break out of those roles. Same goes for the rest of the ensemble. In fact, I think the only characters that really stuck with me were Ran and Sawa’s parents…which isn’t a GOOD THING.

Sawa is really bubbly, cheerful and just…not very exciting. On the whole, she didn’t grate on my nerves very much, but depending on your mileage with shoujo manga (which if you’re even reading this blog, must be a lot), you’ll just find her bland and boring. While she has her moments where I sympathize with her, and she doesn’t have a lot of the passivity that a lot of other shoujo heroines have, I really wasn’t that impressed.

Same goes for Ran. The summary that I managed to find makes him seem like a “bad delinquent” kind of character, but he really isn’t. In fact, I think he has real issues that he needs to talk to a counselor with. Also, his actions in the manga were rather confusing and weird, although that kind of sets him apart from a lot of other shoujo heroes. Overall, his characterization is rather bland and unexciting.

Sawa’s friend, Akira is a manga artist. Most of the manga artists depicted in shoujo manga are either PAINFULLY SHY, or really outgoing in their creative research. In this manga, I’m glad the author chose to go with the former, because Akira turned out to be rather likeable, and the latter simply would not have worked, in my mind. In this sense, she turned out to be one of the most identifiable characters among the teenage ensemble in this manga.

Apart from these, Ran’s friends are mostly rather unmemorable, as is the actor character that shows up later (which was a rather boring plot device, I might add). However, I do think that Ran and Sawa’s parents are comparatively well-written, and are pretty good to read.

My frustration with the plot progression was rather significant. While I was interested in knowing what would happen next, I ended up getting pretty annoyed at how things progressed. I’ll go into this in more detail after I give my score, so that you can avoid the spoilers if you want.

One prominent part of the manga is that Sawa really LOVES high school, and she wants EVERYONE to enjoy it, going to extreme lengths to get her classmates to participate in school events. I found this part of the manga to be very boring, to be honest, and wished the author could have thought of a different scenario…

One good though: I’m very glad the manga didn’t end with a wedding scene. A lot of shoujo manga tend to do this, and if it isn’t executed in an original way, I get way more bored by it. So thank you, Sakai-sensei, for not taking that route.

The art style is good, although how well Sawa is drawn can fluctuate slightly, although Akira is ALWAYS drawn well, oddly enough. The guys also tend to fluctuate too, although the author can make ANY of the guys look 10 times more bishounen if she wants to…XD Also, for some reason, the way Sawa’s eyes are drawn strongly reminded me of Arina Tanemura’s style…wait, actually the whole manga’s art style did that. Hm. Curious.

Overall, this was a pretty boring and generic, but decently executed read. There are many better things out there than Rockin’ Heaven, but honestly, you could do worse. Also, since my tolerance for generic shoujo is higher than most normal manga fans, I’m giving this a higher rating. For those of you who want originality in your shoujo, this series is only on the higher side of mediocre.

Score: 7.0/10

And now…it’s SPOILER TIME! People who want to read the manga and don’t want to be spoiled, LOOK AWAY!!!! (Although I think a lot of you won’t…hehe.)

Section break and SPOILER ALERT! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Now…

This is something I don’t normally do, but there are a few interesting, odd and random plot points/things related to the ending that I didn’t want to spoil that I wanted to go over.

1. Sawa’s parents’ back story was rather interesting. While I was first reading it, I thought it was an inserted one shot, until five pages before the end of the chapter when her parents said “We’ll name our kid Sawa! :D” and then I was completely surprised. LOLXD

2. Ran’s dad is one of the best written aloof dads out there. Not only does he have REASONS for treating Ran the way he does, but they’re GOOD ONES! He basically abandons Ran to live by himself because he think Ran hates him, and doesn’t want him to have another suicide attempt. And it’s not that he doesn’t love Ran, it’s just that he doesn’t really know how to show it. So when Ran’s father’s reasons were revealed and they reconciled, I was pretty happy. XDDD

3. WHAT IS UP WITH SAWA AND RAN’S RELATIONSHIP??!??!?!?
Here’s a broken down description:
Basically, they really loved each other, and then after they started going out, Ran didn’t give Sawa enough attention romantically (no dates, no kissing, etc.) so Sawa got kind of annoyed, and then she became friends with the actor guy (whose name I don’t feel like looking up right now), and then Ran was like, “Let’s break up.”

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

And then they go back to being friends, and the Sawa is like, “I love you, but I don’t know how long I can wait for you,” and then it seems like they’re going to make up later when they’re going through his childhood stuff and his mother’s pictures, and then he says “You don’t have to wait for me anymore” and basically gives up.

Seriously. Most unmotivated shounen hero ever.
I know the actor guy who Sawa starts going out later basically gives up and tells her to go be with Ran in the last few chapters, but it felt so manufactured by the author that I was just annoyed by it. NGHHHH….

4. Ran’s friends are really boring, with the exception of Kido, who was still generic, but I kind of pitied. Also, his poor sister…Ran really shouldn’t have said he would go out with her if they could get into the same high school. Ah, shoujo hero irresponsibility. How you never fail at being repetitive and contrived!

5. I would have liked the author to have included one of Akira’s manga, just for fun. Just sayin’.

6. The ending was pretty unobjectional. Seeing Ran as a teacher was pretty good eye candy. Hehehe. >:)

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