Author: AIHARA Miki
Flower Comics, 2001
I bought this manga up because of the very eyecatching cover. The art style looks attractive, and the heroine looked like the type who is strong and sassy. Very cute! Unfortunately, she turned out to be a bit of a doormat, but I still love the series ^_^;;; The interior has a clean look, and a somewhat unique look to it. There is something about the way the manga author draws some expressions that I find funny. It’s just a tiny bit cartoonish but attractive ^_^ I have a few other titles by this author that I also enjoyed, so this one seemed like a good thing to get.
The story is about a girl named Hatsumi, who lives in this large apartment building. Ever since she was young, she has been afraid of this woman who lives in her building. She is some sort of community leader (or landlady perhaps? She is very influential) who is always looking out to scold people for bad behavior. That woman’s son, Ryoki, used to be mean to Hatsumi when she was little. There was one particular incident in which he pushed her down some steps. Hatsumi has been afraid of Ryoki ever since, but he soon moved away. When Hatsumi was pushed down the steps, and Ryoki had run off, Hatsumi was rescued by a nice little boy named Azusa. He is gentle and sweet, and very nice to Hatsumi. She likes him, but, like Ryoki, he moves away.
Now Hatsumi is 16, and like any good shoujo manga, coincidence has made both of these guys return to her life at the same time ^_^ Hatsumi’s 14 year old sister thinks she might be pregnant, and begs Hatsumi to buy a pregnancy test for her Hatsumi does, but on her way back, she runs into Ryoki! He is back, and now he sees what she has bought, and immediately thinks the worst of Hatsumi. Explaining doesn’t help things, and in a very evil way, he decides to use this information to blackmail Hatsumi (he hasn’t changed much…). He threatens to tell his landlady mother (and leader of their ‘culture association’ and very snooty woman) about Hatsumi’s sister’s secret which might get them kicked out of the building. Ryoki decides Hatsumi must now be his SLAVE in return for him not telling! Hatsumi is still a little bit frightened of him, from childhood, so she agrees.
Meanwhile, at school, the new transfer student is none other than Azusa, the boy who helped her when she was little! He is now a male model, super popular and famous, and of course, is super nice and is a bishounen. Azusa recognizes Hatsumi and wants to be good friends/date Hatsumi! Boom, instant love triangle 🙂 Ryoki keeps trying to get Hatsumi to do stuff with him, reminding her she is supposed to be his slave. And Hatsumi is torn between doing what Ryoki wants (he can be oddly appealing sometimes) and dating Azusa. This manga reminds me somewhat of Hana Yori Dango, with Hatsumi as Tsukushi, Ryoki as Doumyouji, Azusa as Rui, and the cute neighbor boy Subaru as Kazuya. I like it a lot!
This series has been licensed for release in English in the US. VIZ has released some nice, larger, omnibus editions that collect 3 volumes into one book. A good buy! It can be purchased HERE!