I decided to talk about this series today because it by the author of Strobe Edge, another series I have covered here, and one that I have been enjoying. SAKISAKA Io is the author, and this is one of her earlier works. It is a one-shot volume. The main story takes up the entire book and is split into 4 chapters. I liked this book because the characters seem smart, and react to things with common sense. This is an unusual love triangle story, and it is portrayed simply, with a little comedy (ok, there are a few really silly moments), but no crazy hysterics and over-reactions, even considering how out-of-the-norm the relationships are. The artwork, while just a little rougher than Strobe Edge is still very nice. I think it’s the way she draws hair in this that looks a bit sloppy. But there are a few scenes where I really like how the hero looks 🙂 I think I have one more book by this author that I need to track down, and then I will have a complete set.
Anyway, this is the story of high school freshman Anna. She is really excited to be going to the high school she is starting because the guy she is in love with is also starting there, too. She has shamelessly followed him to this school. Unfortunately fr Anna, the guy in question doesn’t seem so thrilled to see her.
His name is Reiji, and he knows Anna very well. In fact, he is Anna’s cousin. Ah, poor Anna, in love with her cousin! But it’s hard to blame her. Reiji is handsome and smart. Yes, he is that ever-present type of shoujo manga hero that has all the girls swooning over him and crowding around his desk all the time.
While checking the lists to see what classroom she would be assigned to, Anna encounters a small and cute girl who is having difficulty seeing the lists through the crowds of people. Anna is struck by how adorable this girl looks, and is soon helping her out. Turns out the cute girl is named TEZUKA Rumi, and she becomes Anna’s first friend at her new school.
Because Rui is so small and cute, she gets a lot of obnoxious unwanted male attention. Anna, being taller and tougher, automatically tries to defend Rui from the slobbering fanboys, but Rui actually has a strong and tough personality, and is perfectly capable to telling them off herself.
Even though Reiji is cool towards Anna, she is still happy when she discovers they have been assigned to the same class, and that Rui is there too. As expected, a flock of girls has attached themselves to Reiji, and have all staked a claim on him. When these girls see how casually Anna treats Reiji, they immediately start trying to bully her. To Anna’s shock, Reiji actually steps in and explains to them that she is just his cousin. While this news calms down the jealous girls, it also drives home to Anna the fact that her love will never be requited. She will always be just his cousin, and not be seen as a girl.
Anna is depressed enough about the state of things when circumstances get even worse. When Reiji meets Rui, the sparks fly. Rui stands up to Reiji just like she did to the obnoxious fanboys. She is not impressed by Reiji’s popularity. They have strong words, and it is obvious that Rui is not like the other girls. In fact, Anna soon notices that Reiji stares at Rui a lot. Why does he take such special notice of Rui? A feeling of dread forms in Anna’s stomach.
What is a girl to do when the boy she loves seems to be falling for her very best friend? A boy that you have no chance of winning anyway? Anna’s status as ‘the cousin’ means no one takes her very seriously when it comes to Reiji. But Anna IS serious about him. And what about Rui? Her relationship with Reiji is odd. Does she like him too?
I enjoyed how all of the characters in this are fairly strong. Anna has a difficult position as ‘the cousin’ so she is limited by how much she can say. Her reaction to the idea of Rui and Reiji is realistic, and she handles the situation with maturity. When things take an unexpected turn with Rui, Anna also behaves with maturity. I am just glad to see a shoujo manga heroine who, while not perfect, at least has a little common sense. She does make some mistakes, and hesitates a bit, but it is believable. Reiji is somewhat of an enigma. What are his true feelings? He acts cool towards Anna, yet he is not overly affectionate with Rui either. However, when he finally makes his feelings known, it is fun to see.