I am too poor to afford a running subscription to any manga magazines at the moment, so the first time I discovered this series was when I found a wallpaper for it on the publisher’s (Shogakukan) website. Aren’t they cute? I didn’t know what the series was about, but the art style appealed to me, and those glasses the hero wears are memorable, so I kept my eye out. Sure enough, a tankoubon for the series finally appeared, and I couldn’t resist. Plus, this series is by YAMADA Komomo, an author who has done some other fun series (teacher-student series!) so this one looked promising.
Well, after finally reading volume 1, I will say that while it does employ several tried and true Shoujo Manga Plot Devices, it is still a lot of fun. The art is simple and cute. The heroine, while occasionally foolish, is not a complete airhead, and the hero is not absolutely perfect.
The story begins with the oh, so fun plot device of “Parents Conveniently Absent”. Our heroine is a girl named Mei who is in the process of going through her high school entrance exams. For the exams, Mei is staying in an apartment with her older brother, Shigeo. One day, when leaving the apartment to go take her exams, Mei notices a cute boy standing just outside. When he sees her, he smiles. This confuses and pleases Mei. Who is that cute boy? Why did he smile at her when he saw her? She thinks nothing much of the incident until a while later when the scores from the exams are released, and she is returning home again, thrilled at having passed the exam for her first choice high school. Previously, Mei was stuck at all-girls schools, living with her parents who have very strict rules. She wasn’t allowed to do anything! But now that is all over, she has passed her exam and will be attending a normal co-ed high school and living with her brother! Or will she?
Once again, standing outside her building, is that same cute boy that Mei saw before. And once again, he smiles at her! Then he takes it a step further, and congratulates her! Hey now, who is this guy?! When Mei tries to go up to her apartment to tell her brother the news, the strange boy follows her…. all the way to her apartment! This would almost seem creepy or stalker-ish, but it turns out that this boy knows her brother. Whew!
Mei’s relief is short-lived as her brother introduces this boy as Akira, her new ROOMMATE! Hey, what?! Yes, Akira will soon be living with Mei. You see, Shigeo has a girlfriend who lives in the same apartment building. They aren’t married, but the girlfriend is now pregnant. Due to some family-related circumstances involving their relationship, Shigeo has decided to move in with his girlfriend. But he will not be leaving Mei all alone. Who is Akira? Well, he is the teenage son of Shigeo’s girlfriend! Shigeo is dating a woman older than him, old enough to have a son that is Mei’s age. In order to move in with her, Shigeo and Akira are switching places. Shigeo will take Akira’s room, and Akira will move in with Mei and take Shigeo’s room.
Naturally, Mei is stunned by this news. Here she is, stuck in a Parents Conveniently Absent situation, AND living with a strange guy! She is nervous at first. Without Shigeo there, she feels lonely. And is Akira really a nice guy? He won’t try anything perverted, right? But Akira is handsome and kind, and he is actually gone most of the time, thanks to a late-night part-time job.
Can Mei really live comfortably with Akira? This is a girl who was looking forward to her new high school life, aiming for three simple things – her own cellphone, a Vuitton wallet, and a cool boyfriend. Now she has an unexpected roommate and a new family! After all, if her brother marries Akira’s mother, that means she would become his aunt, right? This is a lot for her to adjust to at once!
Things get more complicated when she realizes that Akira goes to her own high school, and that he is her sempai! Mei finds herself growing fascinated with him, but he has his own love-life problems and treats her like a little sister.
Yes, things can get predictable here, but I like the fact that Akira is not an ass. He is a nice guy, yet he is not quite the untouchable ‘perfect prince’ type. He works hard and he makes some mistakes too. Mei is funny, but I like her because she can be direct. Most of her silliness stems from inexperience (she has only attended all-girls schools and lived under strict parents) but she grasps things quickly, is unselfish, and she has some common sense and directness.
This is volume 1 of an ongoing series. I look forward to reading more!