Title: 1-nen 5-kumi Ikimono Gakari
Author: FUKUSHIMA Haruka
Kodansha Comics, 2010
Once again displaying my complete and utter lack of logic when buying manga, I picked up this volume simply because it was the one book on that particular shelf at the bookstore that I didn’t already have, and hey, it says something about monsters on the back cover! Really, my manga buying habits are very shallow. 🙂 So yes, this is a book that has supernatural stuff going on, but it’s a school-life romantic comedy, too. In fact, when I get to the plot, it may sound strikingly familiar to you. This series is currently ongoing in Nakayoshi magazine, a publication aimed at very young girls. Yet in spite of this audience, this book seems to have quite a few little naughty moments that surprise me. A couple of times I was left wondering if this book was really for kids! Not that it gets outright graphic or smutty or anything. For the most part, it’s silly and cute. But yeah, there are hints of naughtiness here and there 🙂 The art is cute, if occasionally messy. I’m not entirely thrilled with the funky asymmetrical hairstyle of the heroine, and sometimes two of the guys are hard to tell apart. But overall, this is a fluffy enjoyable volume that is obviously cashing in on the popularity of certain supernatural creatures 🙂
This is the shockingly original story of a completely average high school girl who finds herself caught up in a love triangle between a vampire and a werewolf. Haha, yes, Twilight fans, this does sound familiar! Ah, but because this is shoujo manga we’re talkin’ about here, and not some adaptation of that series, we have quite a few decidedly shoujo-style departures from that familiar plot. Yes, our heroine is average. Her name is YAMADA Eru, She first attracts the attention of a vampire while walking home one night. Being a clumsy shoujo heroine, she trips over her own two feet and skins her knee. The small trickle of blood that forms draws the attention of TANAKA Ichiro, a teen vampire who just happened to be lurking near by. He may not be a sparkly vampire, but he can fly! He floats over to Eru and licks the blood from her knee, savoring the flavor. Understandably surprised and grossed out, Eru recoils, kicking Ichiro in the face.
I guess you can say he’s a masochist, because one kick from Eru was all it took for him to decide that she belongs to him. He lets her go, only to show up at school the next day, arriving in her class in disguise as a nerdy new transfer student! Eru doesn’t recognize him at first, but he sticks to her like glue, even following her to her club after school! Eru is a member of a school club dedicated to living things. She and the club’s teacher advisor, Chiaki-sensei, are actually the only members of this club. The club room looks like a zoo, filled with cages and aquariums containing various critters. Chiaki-sensei is a handsome teacher who wears a lab coat, and always looks a bit messy. He has hair that always covers one eye. He is very enthusiastic about the Creature Club, and he is very devoted to Eru. Yes, Eru doesn’t know it yet, but Chiaki is a werewolf!
Hahahah, I love shoujo manga. You can’t just have a vampire-human-werewolf love triangle. One of them has to be a teacher! I’m surprised Ichiro isn’t an idol singer! 🙂 Anyway, Ichiro tries to claim Eru as ‘his’. He loves the taste of her blood, and he wants to always be with her. As he does manage to save Eru from some scary situations, she quickly begins to feel sympathy for him, and even lets him suck her blood. However, when Chiaki realizes that the new student is putting the moves on Eru, his jealousy springs into full gear. Eru is his! Uh oh, Eru’s in trouble now! I like how the fact that Chiaki is a teacher never seems to be brought up in discussion as possibly another obstacle for him winning Eru, besides the whole werewolf thing 🙂
Oh wait, the fun doesn’t stop there! Why leave it at two supernatural love interests, when you can have three? Yet another magical boy shows up, this time with a completely different ability. He takes a shine to Eru as well! But why leave it at that? We even get a supernatural love rival for Eru, a girl with quite a dangerous talent! Wow, Eru must be like supernatural catnip or something, the way supernatural beings flock to her! Is she really normal? Soon Eru has a lot of craziness to contend with!