Kare Kano series by Masami Tsuda. Los Angeles, CA: Tokyopop Manga, 2003. 126 pages.
1. A succinct evaluative annotation. Plot: [Conflict] Yukino is a straight A student, the best at everything at school and wants to be at the top all of the time, but then a new student came to her school, Arima, and he ended up being better than Yukino, which then made Yukino determined to out beat Arima. [Rising Action] Yukino studied harder and also started doing Arima’s homework when he needed help, all to try and get the best grade in the class. [Climax] When the final grades came out, Yukino beat Arima by 6 points, making her the “smarter” one in the eyes of her classmates. [Falling Action] After Yukino got her goal, she started to realize that she liked Arima as a friend, but those feelings grew stronger the more she started to hang out with him. [Resolution] In the end, both Yukino and Arima confessed their love to one another, and their competing days were over. Theme: The themes in this story included competition, winning, determination, and love. Tone: The tone was very comical because Yukino basically embarrassed herself in front of her school and Arima trying to be the best in her class when no one really cared except Yukino. Style: Since this is manga, the writing style was definitely different than what I’m used to. There were Japanese symbols that I wasn’t able to figure out and reading from right to left was difficult. Also, I wasn’t able to figure out right away that I was supposed to read from the top to bottom, right to left so it took some getting used to. Characterizations: Yukino is very competitive, and smart, which she knows so she’s kind of a snob to others. She wants everyone’s respect but, at the beginning, didn’t give her respect back. Arima was very helpful to everyone, never judging others for their lack of smarts, and overall a nice guy. Readability: For people who know how to read manga, this would be a very easy book to read. After I got used to it, I flew through the story quickly.
2. My reactions to the book. This was a cute romantic story. It wasn’t the best, but for my first manga experience I was glad that it was a realistic story that was easy to follow. I think the best strength it had was the drawings – the artist really did a great job showing the story through their artistic ability. The only weakness I saw was that while this is a Japanese story, having Japanese symbols on the side with exclamation marks made me want to know what they were saying but I had no way of figuring it out. As for accuracy, I don’t think much of this story was very accurate, just a cute story about a girl and a boy falling in love after being “arch enemies”.
3. Comment on the cover art. The cover art of this novel definitely shows that it’s a romance story, and how well the drawing is in this manga volume. I think it will definitely attract a female audience that likes to read manga, but that will be the only audience that would appreciate the cover because I wouldn’t think that too many males would want to read it based on the cover. However, the cover does show the viewer what the novel is about for those interested.