Tokyo Boys and Girls by Miki Aihara
Published by Shogakukan
Serialized in Betsucomi
It’s your first day in High School. You chose the school with the best school uniform so you could round up more boys. Everything looks great so far until a guy you can’t remember suddenly tells you that he’s going to get his revenge at you. And you try to remember all the things that you have done in your life, but you just can’t. What starts out as a beginning of a funny comedy, turns into a sappy high school romance. Miki Aihara takes the usual shoujo formula and expands it to a 5 volume teenage drama. God, if it took her four volumes to figure out what she has done to the guy, you wouldn’t wonder why the publishers considered pulling the plug.
No. I don’t hate Shoujos.
But I certainly don’t like this one. I’ve had an array of shoujo titles in my life, and I say there were a couple that were truly memorable. However, Aihara’s work with Tokyo Boys and Girls doesn’t even come close to memorable. It is much like those other shoujo titles that I’ve tried and I can’t remember why I even started reading. The fact that I can’t mention one now is because I prolly just forgot about them. Going back to Tokyo Boys and Girls, this high school love story’s mediocrity makes it forgettable. It’s much like every other shoujo title in there. Nothing new. Nothing special. Nothing.
The heroine of this tale, Mimori, is not an overachieving girl or a total klutz. She’s basically just a normal girl looking for love. On my end, in terms of character design, she doesn’t even come close to impressive. But I probably could forgive Aihara for that since this was an early work of hers. Mimori’s character, albeit funny, doesn’t leave an impression in your head for you to create a fansite of her. If she stood in a crowd of High School students from different mangas, even if she had the best school uniform, other girls like Miyazawa or Haruhi could stand out more than her. This is how Mimori is. And sadly, she’s the heroine of this series.
However, by some standards there are always those heroines that never stand out but the the series turns out well because she has an interesting bishounen (or bishounens) by her side who makes her life more interesting. Sadly, despite the presence of Haruta’s affections and Kuniyasu’s persistence, it still doesn’t work. Affections and emotions are completely half-baked in this series. Things happened naturally in Tokyo Boys and Girls, which is not bad at all, however the story lacked meaning and weight on this supposed love story. I mean, by volume 2 she was already in love with Haruta, before she even figured out why she loved him in the first place. I don’t get her “It’s because I want to see his smile” logic and then declaring eternal love for him afterwards. It just doesn’t fold right to me. And I hated how this thing also turned out with Nana and Ryu. God, don’t get me started with Nana. If she was the heroine of this series, I would have ripped the comic into pieces. Thank god I got a digital version instead.
As for our love interest, Haruta is overly dramatic for me. There are angry boys in series that get away with it because they look cute when they’re teased. But not Haruta and not this series. He was like ripped out of an emo song. People around him were too emo to even tease him to make him look cute. Perhaps a more worthy hero would be Kuniyasu whom we saw grow with the series. I like to see characters grow out of their characters and see how other characters in the ensemble has changed them. We saw how Mimori has changed him and you aren’t entirely robbed of that process. Half of me was wishing that she gets him instead since we see him giving more to her. However, having previous disappointments with other threesome shoujos (insert Parfait Tic here), I really wouldn’t wonder where this all ends up. At least she didn’t turn out confused or something. That was somewhat a saving grace.
In the end, I’d say… read Hot Gimmick instead. There may be more drama, but at least it isn’t entirely half-baked like this one. As to why I read it ’til the end? It’s the manga nut in me who would not to let go of the story. I was hoping until the very end that she gets Kuniyasu instead, even if I knew she wouldn’t. Now that I think about it, Kuniyasu deserves someone a lot more interesting than this mediocre girl and this mediocre story.