Title: Wild Beat
Author: ENOMOTO Atsuki
Margaret Comics, 2002
I originally picked this up at random because the cover artwork reminded me of another series with a “wild” title, Wild Act, by TAKADA Rie. I had hoped that this one would be also be about music or some other celebrity-type setting (maybe I am thinking of a cross between Wild Act and Skip Beat?), but that is not the case here. However, we do get a silly but amusing story of opposites attracting, and one very determined and stubborn heroine. I actually want to shake her sometimes, but by the end I liked her more. The art style is okay. It’s not BAD, and it’s not exactly messy or cluttered, but there is something about the foreheads or placement of the eyes that can be weird occasionally, but then there are parts where everyone looks extremely cute and the eyes are shiny and pretty. This has a very “90’s” feel to it, which is also difficult to explain. Wild Beat is a one-shot volume that contains two stories, each one taking up half of the book.
Our first story stars a cute school girl named Airi. Airi looks young, wears glasses, has her hair in two braids, and is treated like a child by all her friends. This frustrates her because they are always talking about interesting topics like clothes and fashion and boys, but they won’t let Airi join in because the consider her to be too young or immature. Yeesh! As for Airi, well yes, she is rather naive and romantic, but she longs to meet a boy and fall in love. (This seems to apply to most shoujo manga heroines) I don’t think there are as many shounen manga heroes who spend all their days dreaming of a girlfriend unless it’s a harem series ^_^
Anyway, this being a manga story, Airi’s situation will soon change. Airi’s family owns a scooter shop, so Airi knows how to ride, and commutes to school on one. She wears a cute helmet and goggles. One day when riding her scooter home from school, Airi is nearly run down buy a guy on a motorcycle. Fortunately, he is kind enough to stop and make sure Airi and her scooter are ok. There is some damage, but Airi is too dazzled by the guy to notice. The guy IS very cute, with dark hair and a sort of dangerous look to him. Yet in spite of this, his actions are kind, and he seems concerned about her well-being.
The guy’s name is Reiji, and the very-impressionable Airi is already beginning to fall for him when she realizes what school uniform he is wearing…. it’s a high school that is known for its delinquents! Seriously, it’s a school full of scary thugs, the type that you see in shounen manga about gangs! Naturally, Reiji and his friend Koujun are the only two students there that look normal (and hot).
However, Airi doesn’t care what school Reiji goes to, she likes him anyway! But can a timid and naive girl like her catch Reiji’s interest? Can she last very long with a guy who rides a motorcycle and gets into violent fights with thugs? They are total opposites from different worlds. They do have some common ground, but how long will it last?
The second story is about a girl named An who always seems to have the worst luck. The story begins with her family going off on a trip to Hawaii and leaving her behind. An’s mama won the trip for 4, but their family has 5 members. An drew the short straw and is stuck at home. Before they leave, An’s mama warns her that there should be some sort of package arriving while they are gone. It’s a prize that she won at her women’s association party. Mama doesn’t know what the prize is, exactly, but thinks it is some sort of food item.
When the package does arrive, it is not what An expected. The prize is actually…. a handsome guy? His name is NISHIJIMA Sei, and for the next 10 days is going to be An’s very own manservant! He will move in with her, do her cooking, cleaning, and even protect her! Wow, could An’s luck finally be getting better? Oh, but there is more… Sei is also a high school student. One from an elite academy, no less! What is he doing working in a job like this? What will happen when the 10 days are over?
Each of these stories is a lot of fun and, while somewhat predictable at times, they are innocent and sweet. The heroines aren’t completely brain dead, and the heroes are not cruel. This is a quick, fluffy, read. 🙂