Manga Village

Students at Imperial Academy are lining up for the “Confess Your Love” rally, during with students announce the name of the person they love to the entire student body in hopes of winning over their beloved’s heart. Maora wants to confess to Maguri, but Maguri already has plans to confess to Shizumasa!

By Arina Tanemura
Publisher: Viz Media – Shojo Beat
Genre: Romance
Rating: Teen +
Price: $8.99

Unless you’ve got a score card and have read the last three volumes, this volume will seem like a jumbled mess to you too.

Imperial Academy is having the school festival, and one of the events give students an opportunity to confess their love for another student in front of the whole student body. Confessions and attempted confessions run amuck. But the focus of this volume is on the ball, held on the second day. Haine, the heroine of the story, must attend as she is the Shizumasa’s “girlfriend”, but she has nothing to wear, and she won’t ask Shizumasa for help. The mysterious postman comes to her rescue and helps to create a beautiful gown for her. She goes to the ball, and dances with Shizumasa, but, like a Cinderella, she runs away from her prince, unable to continue the charade. Shizumasa follows and they share some private moments that ends in a kiss, which is caught on film and printed in the school newspaper the next day. But, Shizumasa, who sent his Shadow away to attend the ball with Haine, becomes too weak to continue and the Shadow returns. He is angered by the photo and declares that Haine is no longer his platinum. But, he is secretly hiding feelings for Haine that as Shizumasa’s Shadow, he can not have.

So, did you get all that? This series is shojo in the truest sense of the word. The relationships between characters are complex, and at times just plain convoluted. Without a chart to keep track of who likes who, even when it’s really Shizumasa and not his double Shadow, there’s no way you could keep up with what’s going on. It took reading several sections over and over to finally get it all. If I had been reading from the beginning, it might not have been so bad, but I doubt it.

Tanemura-sensei’s art to nice to look at, but the characters all look too much the same. I was constantly getting Haine confused with other characters. It isn’t easy when it’s just the hair style that differentiates between the female characters. But, males aren’t much better. And to be honest, I don’t find any of the characters in this series very likable. There wasn’t one that really warmed up to me, which if one had, I would have been more forgiving of the lack of differentiation.

This volume pretty much sums up what it is I don’t like about a lot of shojo manga. Lots of overly dramatic teenage angst over who’s in love with who this week. Really there’s a lot better Shojo out there like Yurara, La Corda d’Oro or Beauty Pop, that are smart and enjoyable to read. Do yourself a favor and get one of those titles instead.

Review copy provided by publisher.

About the author

Lori Henderson is the writer and reviewer for the manga blog, Manga Xanadu. She also keeps a personal blog at Fangirl Xanadu, and a writing blog at Muse of Xanadu. She contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. As the mother of two teen daughters, she needs all the escape she can get, which reading and writing about manga gives her.

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