Fine!, by OTANI Noriko

Fine!, by OTANI Noriko
Title: Fine!
Author: OTANI Noriko
ISBN# 978-4-08-846453-4
Margaret Comics, 2009

When I first started reading this series, I went crazy with a feeling of déjà vu. This has happened to me a lot lately, and this particular title was bothering me more than most. I could have sworn that I had not only read this title before, but that I had also already created a summary for the title here. Yet I have gone through my archive, and can’t find it anywhere! What the heck?! Was I hallucinating? At any rate, I like this series enough to take another stab at writing up a summary for it. I hope that this isn’t a duplicate. I really liked this story because of the winning combination of comedy + fun artwork. Seriously, I loved the artwork in this. The lines are clean and each page seems very fresh. Even better, the events are so hilariously exaggerated, that all the characters get the most insane expressions on their faces! I have scanned a few of my favorite expressions HERE. Don’t they look funny? 🙂 There are also a lot of 70’s shoujo manga parodies (a favorite of mine), so I really couldn’t resist this series!

It all begins with a rather unfortunate accident. Our heroine is TACHIBANA Iroha, a girl who is about to start high school as a freshman. This is even more exciting than normal because she isn’t staying at home while she goes to school, she will be living in a dorm! The school she is going to is very prestigious, and, according to the school brochure, has a great campus and smart students. This brochure/pamphlet is pretty funny, as it pictures a really good-looking guy and girl smiling like fools on the cover, beckoning new students to come attend their school and create a new success story. It certainly convinced her to register. Iroha is mesmerized by this pamphlet, and thinks the guy and girl look so wonderful. Especially the guy. Wouldn’t it be amazing to meet him? Oh, just you wait, Iroha…

This wouldn’t be a shoujo manga if Iroha’s new high school life went smoothly. Instead, her dreams are quickly dashed when she arrives to discover her dorm is on fire! The building has been evacuated, and it is completely engulfed in flames. Uh, this is not good! In no time at all, she has lost her home, not to mention her wallet (a pickpocket) and now she must figure out what to do next. She is sitting alone at night, crying forlornly on a park bench. Gradually, she begins to get angry at her situation, and the sight of the smiling couple on the school pamphlet cover no longer makes her feel excited and happy. Now just seeing them looking so happy makes her really mad. Therefore, she is not in the greatest mood when she is approached by none other than the guy from the cover of the pamphlet!

Iroha can’t believe her eyes. It’s HIM! The guy whose photo she stared at so much! He wants to know what she is doing in the park so late at night, and wants her to leave. Iroha, still acting a bit crazy, thinks that surely he must have come to save her?! She needs help! Unfortunately, the guy in reality is not as wonderful as he appears in the pamphlet. He is surly and curt, and offers her no assistance. He is busy patrolling the campus, and needs to get back to it. (patrolling? hah, he is in a fancy car with a chauffeur!) He is really rude about it, too, in a sort of smug, smirking way. Oh no he didn’t! Iroha isn’t about to let him get away without helping her, so when he tries to leave, she jumps in front of his car, causing it to swerve and hit a wall!

She immediately jumps into the back seat, and throws herself on his mercy, begging him to help her. The facial expressions during all of this are hysterical. Iroha is pretty deranged and desperate here, and he clearly thinks she must be a lunatic. He tries to ignore her urgent pleas for help, until finally she falls asleep out of sheer exhaustion…

Only to wake up in an unfamiliar room. Iroha is confused. Where is she? And why is she…. surrounded by a giant group of strange guys?!?!

Naturally, Iroha freaks out, but soon the pamphlet guy appears again. Since the dorm she was going to stay in has burned down, he has found another place for her — the boys dorm! Wait, what?!? Oh, and you know that accident earlier? With the car hitting a wall? well, the whole front end of the car was smashed. And it was a Mercedes, you know. Guess who has to pay him back that money? Uh oh. Iroha is in even more trouble now! To pay him back for the damages to his car, Iroha must live in the boys dorm and work as their caretaker/housekeeper!

Iroha would argue, but it turns out that this guy, who is now almost sparkling with smugness about the situation, is none other than MISAKI Shingo, the dorm superintendent for the school. His father is the school’s board chairman and school superintendent. There is no arguing here.

Thus Iroha’s high school life begins in a way that is not quite as perfect as she’d imagined. She must now slave away at household chores while still maintaining her grades. While it helps that the boys in the dorm are all really cute and mostly friendly, she still feels uncomfortable. And Shingo! Why, he is an absolute demon! How could she have ever admired his photo on that pamphlet! But Iroha is not one to back down from a challenge, and embraces her job with gusto. She cheerfully throws herself into cooking and cleaning. But it’s a lot of work! Will she make it through high school in one piece?

3 comments

  1. It could be that you read a story eerily similar to it? It’s easy to get some shoujo series confused ^^; At any rate, it sounds interesting!

  2. The whole working-as-a-maid-in-a-house-full-of-hot-guys has been done to death (still love it though) so you must be experiencing shoujo deja vu. That scan is hilarious and I want to see the 70s parody >.<

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