This series initially caught my attention because both volumes 1 and 2 were released on the same day. For a new series, this seemed kind of unusual. I am still not sure what the story is behind the release schedule, but when faced with these 2 volumes with their interesting covers, I couldn’t help but pick them up 🙂 This series is by the same author as the infamous sibling-incest-themed series, ‘Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo suru.’ No incest this time (sorry, kids) instead we get an interesting story about the music industry. It sort of involves idols, but it’s more about actual songwriting and rock bands than fluffy singing-only idol singers. There is a little bit of smut, but it is mostly “off camera” so to speak. The adult themes aren’t too unexpected, as this series runs in Cheese! magazine. I am not a huge fan of this author’s art. The lines are clean and solid, but there is something weird about how she draws the mouth/lips, and proportions can be odd. However, I found the story to be interesting, so I overlooked those issues. I do like the way she draws eyes.
Riko is a 16 year-old high school student. She is a huge fan of the rock band Crude Play. In fact, she is such a big fan, she actually formed a band with a couple of her school friends. Her favorite member of Crude Play isn’t technically part of the group, but is a huge influence on them. It is Aki, the mysterious person who writes their songs. Riko always feels so inspired when she listens to Crude Play’s music, and she loves Aki’s songs.
Riko plays guitar in her band, and her two male classmates Sou-chan and Yuu-chan, participate with her. In the case of Yuu-chan, it is obvious that the reason he is in the band is because of Riko. His crush on her is not exactly a big secret. Sou-chan helps him out when he can. But Riko is so clueless, she has yet to realize Yuu-chan’s feelings. It is a shame, because Yuu-chan is cute and devoted.
This being manga land, of course, Riko’s lackluster romantic love life will soon undergo quite a change. It happens one day when Riko is delivering some things for her part-time job at a grocery store. While running her errand, she sees a handsome guy standing alone, humming a tune. She is stunned by him, and when he suddenly asks her “Do you believe in love at first sight?” she can’t help but answer, “Yes!”
Who is this guy? Well, it turns out it is none other than the famous songwriter for Crude Play, Aki. Aki is a troubled guy who has some odd hang-ups. He has a girlfriend of sorts — the beautiful female idol singer Mari. However, Mari is ambitious, and is cheating on him with her producer. (The same producer who manages Crude Play, as it happens) Aki has been composing music for many years, and he deliberately keeps himself out of the spotlight. His relationship with Crude Play is odd as well. He has been friends with the lead singer, Shun, since they were small children, and they know each other very well. Yet there is some kind of weird situation between them that I am not sure about.
At any rate, Aki was feeling a bit emo over his relationship situation with Mari, and his music writing in general. He doesn’t really mean anything when he asks the random girl on the street if she believes in love at first sight. After all, that is one of the oldest, cheesiest, pick-up lines ever. But when the girl takes his question at face value, his attention is grabbed. Who is this girl with the funny hair that looks like a mushroom? Without giving it much thought, perhaps it is because he is lonely, or sad, or bored, he and Riko decide to start dating each other. Riko senses something about him, but as for him, he isn’t really sure why he has agreed. But they become a couple anyway, even on such a brief acquaintance.
There are some other odd issues about this new relationship. Besides the fact that they are practically strangers, there is an age gap. Riko is 16 while Aki is 25. Also, Aki does not tell her that he is THE Aki of Crude Play, her favorite band. She thinks he is a NEET (and even offers him a job at the grocery store she works for!) Can a relationship based on boredom and deception actually thrive?
Riko seems like a normal, well-adjusted girl, but Aki is a bundle of issues. When Riko tries to sing along with one of Aki’s melodies, he stops her, saying he hates singing. He hates girls who sing. Is this just a ‘walking wounded’ result of his problems with Mari, or is there another problem lurking? And what about Yuu-chan, who obviously loves Riko so much? The news of her suddenly getting a boyfriend does NOT go over well with him. Regardless of Aki’s feeling about singers, Riko loves to sing, and loves her band. But what would happen if she became famous too?
The mood of this series is strange. I can’t tell if it wants to be a serious, angsty drama, or a lightweight comedy. There are plenty of scenes and scenarios that seem pretty cold or somber (the hero comes right out and says he didn’t love the heroine when they started dating) but then, right in the middle of a scene, the characters will turn chibi and make a silly comment. I guess this is used to ease the tension or cheer up the mood, but it feels odd. The switch to chibi is sudden and out of place sometimes. I do like how there are scenes that are from Aki’s point of view, and other scenes from Riko’s point of view. I look forward to seeing the next volume.