Title: Rifle Shoujo (Rifle Girl)
Flower Comics, 2008
Yaay, it’s another volume by Taamo! I really like this author. Once again we have a very simple, yet eye-catching cover. Usually she uses a plain white background, but this time the pink really makes it seem exciting. The guns help too, lol 🙂 I am not exactly sure why this is called “Rifle Shoujo” considering there are no actual rifles in any of the stories, but it certainly makes for an attention-getter. This is another cute collection of short stories. The first three stories are related. The first two cover overlapping events shown from different points of view.
In chapter 1, we have a main plot and a subplot that happens at the same time. This story is shown from the point of view of a high school freshman named Aiko. She, like many shoujo manga heroines, is looking forward to a happy high school life, and finding a boyfriend. She knows this will be very difficult because she has a small problem. She was raised by a very rude-mannered father. And thus, his bad habits and blood was passed on to Aiko. What this means is that for as long as she can remember, Aiko sometimes loses control of her temper, and she changes from a cute, normal girl, into a scary, almost yakuza-sounding demonic rude monster girl. She has been trying to clamp down on this bad habit of hers, but sometimes her inner monster comes out, and she gets really scary. Aiko does have a boy she likes, but she hasn’t yet mustered the nerve to talk to him yet. He is a cute boy she sees every morning on the train. Meanwhile, Aiko has two best friends. The first is a girl who is also named Aiko (For clarity, I will call her Aiko2), but her name is written with different Kanji. The second is a boy they call Riki-chan. Aiko2 and Riki are important to our heroine because she has known them since kindergarten. However, things suddenly start to get really complicated when she finally manages to talk to the boy on the train, and he isn’t exactly how she imagined he would be. Even worse, Aiko2 also seems to be interested in him! But wait, is she? And what about Riki? Poor Aiko has so much to juggle, what with her unrequited love, sudden best-friend love rivalry, and inner rude demonic personality!
Chapter two shows things from the point of view of Aiko2. She first moved to this town in kindergarten, and when her classmates were being mean and teasing her, the Aiko from chapter 1 and her friend Riki defended her. They soon became best friends, yet Aiko2 has always felt slightly left out. They are a trio, but perhaps her corner of the triangle is slightly farther away from the other two. Aiko2 is also in love with a boy, and has yet to confess her feelings to him because she doesn’t really think she has a chance. This results in her bad habit of dating almost any guy who confesses to her. She has had many boyfriends, and many breakups. Thus there are many bad rumors around their school about what a tramp Aiko2 is. Yet Aiko sticks with her and defends her. But when Aiko2 sees Aiko talking with a boy on the train, something changes. Something isn’t right. Almost without even thinking, Aiko2 decides go after the boy on the train too. The two Aikos exchange some cruel words. Will Aiko2 ever get her feelings straightened out?
Chapter 3 is related to the first 2 chapters because it stars a girl named USHII Kaori, who is a classmate of Aiko and Aiko2. This story is a lot more funny than the first two, though they also had their silly moments. Ushii is a strange girl. she looks to be rather plain, has a funny hairstyle, and she is not popular. She has no friends, really, and is a quiet, weird girl. Even the Aikos laugh a bit at how strange Ushii is. The first kanji character in her name, “Ushi” also means “cow”, and Ushii is uncool enough to write just that first kanji on things that belong to her. This story is shown from the boy’s point of view, which I find refreshing. His name is Yousei. He is a very cool looking guy, in a sloppy, almost punk sort of way. He is popular, and gets confessed to a lot. One day he sees Ushii reading a book on the train, and he is fascinated by her. This is mainly because the title of the book she is reading translates to “A Dog’s Anus” (hahaha ^_^;;;). Yousei can’t quite believe the title of that book. And what kind of girl would read a book like that?! He is even more intrigued when this strange girl doesn’t seem to be impressed by him. He is so used to girls getting all sparkly and falling for him at first sight, that Ushii’s bland reaction to him gets his attention. But yeah, she IS really weird, and obviously unpopular. Meanwhile, he has his friends, and the cool crowd. But he soon realizes they have something in common that might bring them together.
The last story is short and cute, and involves a girl who has just moved to a small town near a forest that is said to be haunted. This girl, Akane, is very gullible, and believes all the local ghost stories. Meanwhile, the very surly guy who lives next-door to her new home can’t believe she falls for all these crazy stories. But he has his own issues…
I always look forward to tankoubon by Taamo. Her art style is very delicate, with fairly minimal backgrounds, and very cute characters.