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From Tokyopop: Ayumu Shiiba is studying for the all-important high school entrance exams. She is struggling to get by, but thankfully has help from her best friend Shii-chan, who is at the top of their class. Test results come back and their friendship falls apart when Ayumu surpasses Shii-chanís scores and gets into her high school of choice while Shii-chan doesnít! Losing Shii-chan is so painful for Ayumu that she starts cutting her wrists for comfort. Hoping for a fresh start, Ayumu arrives at her new high school and finally opens up to a new friend, Manami. But will Manami prove to be the friend that Ayumu truly needs or send her further in a downward spiral?
Note: Was adapted into a 11 episode Japanese drama.
In 2006, this manga won the Kodansha Manga Award for shoujo.
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I found it as quite a sad story, that pretty much made me cry in most chapters, but then again I like sad or touching manga's and I cry pretty easily when it comes to manga. The saddest part is just what happens in the story could and does happen in real life even if it doesn't happen to you or anyone around you. I really liked the moral of the story though, this story isn't just some shoujo where it's just a cute girl falling in love with a hot guy which personally sometimes get me wondering what's the point in reading it. This story actually makes you see things from different views and tells us how you can be part of the bullying just by standing there and letting it happen, and to stand strong even if there's no one supporting you. It also makes me want to choose my friends carefully, and to have your own ideas instead of just agreeing to everything. Personally I could sympathise with the main lead half of the time so I guess that made me like the story more. For those that don't want to read this because you think the main leads a wimp, she does actually get stronger. Although its not stronger as in she suddenly could do all these martial arts (it'd be a interesting development if that does happen though XD) but stronger as in she learns to stand up for herself instead of just being pushed around.
SORRY ABOUT MY BAD ENGLISH
Unrealistic? No. Exaggrated? Yes... but that is to make this manga more intense. It awakens feelings of terror, shock and sympathy. Makes us question the morality of our actions and what would we have done instead of the main character.
Also bullying in Asia is like this. My aunt told me some girls would humiliate other girls pulling their skirts down, make them eat dirty food etc.
Mangas who makes us think more deeply, from others point of view... mangas like these already deserve more than 8/10. Add few psychopaths and decent art and I think you already deserve 10/10.
Also it's a huge plus the author touched such sensitive subjects as rape and suicide.
Having marathon the whole series up until the latest chapter , for some reasons I was urged to write several criticism of the series.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
1. Lame heroine The point tells everything. I personally don't understand why is it so hard to communicate and tell whatever she experienced/suffered to someone, AT LEAST her family. On the contrary, she just kept it to herself to gradually worsened the bully. This is where I found it somewhat unrealistic (except the kidnapping and delinquents). I know that in real life there are some cases of someone who couldn't talk to anyone and had to bear with the bullying, but most of them are certain cases such as broken family, internal conflict, or whatever psychological reasons. But in this series, the heroine's family were just perfectly fine and I don't see any reason not to talk to them only because she thinks noone believe her. In addition, does a voice/video recorder to get evidence ring a bell? However, good thing that during the process the heroine grows stronger and stronger...
2. Sudden change of character development/behavior This issue is also rather strange for me. Although the series has drama, tragedy and psychology in it but all still seems unrealistic. The biggest sudden change lies to Chika. At the first few chapters, her personality is courageous, good and value friendship. In the middle part of story, she changed for worse to be submissive to Manami. Then after Manami got picked on, she suddenly (again) to the bossy, cunning type of character. And her personality changed in a matter of few days. Well, that's some psychology for you.
Overall, I don't have any problems with the series. It's just somewhat... unrealistic. The story is going down and turning into more and more stupid so much it pissed me off. Well, it's rather complicated feelings when you read this.
1 Shallow Characters - as soon as you see new character you can guess what s/he will do. 2 Black&White World - there is no gray, only good and evil. 3 Predictable Plot 4 Average Art
But it kept me hooked till the end.
Really, it depends.
Before people start bashing the story because of the extremism, please consider that Japan is a different place, and the school, while fictional, is quite a realistic portrayal of an actual school. Bullying is not a phenomenon as it occurs everywhere, and this manga is a close-up account of what can happen to a person. It's not extreme. Her reactions, based on her character, are quite predictable as well as saddening. As far as people's reactions to "why aren't the teachers doing anything?" Ha. I almost want to laugh at that. You seriously think that does anything? I think most of us have gone through the experience of tricking the authorities or at least having the authorities do NOTHING AT ALL. People naturally prefer the easier life. For many, it's easier to pretend as if bullying or other negative events never happened, /i/ even if they're reported. /i/
My critiques of it include the length coupled with the drama. I felt that the message of this manga was well delivered, yet I think it could have been neater and more poignant. The way the author drags it out makes a potentially profound story almost irritating to read.
My end comment? If you like something that hops on almost all the touchy teenage issues with a psychological perspective, go ahead. If you like "normal shoujo" or don't like shoujo at all, don't bother. Really, if you're looking for a REALLY good psychological manga, you should look elsewhere.
Well, I read it up to 7th chapter and I find this very disturbing. Tortments, violence, cutings... I expected heroine to gradually grow, become strong so that she can overcome it, but according to the comments below it won't happen. Too sad.. I don't want to constantly shiver when looking at cuttings and suffer as heroine suffers being bullied. Dropped
... Last updated on November 1st, 2011, 12:17am
For all those who say she isn't strong...
I'm guessing you haven't read any recent chapters? She becomes a fraeking bad a**. Ho** Sh**. It's so strong and powerful. The main character is likeable. She's realistic seeing how she tries her hardest not to be hated. The antagonist (Manami) Is easy to dislike. She's manipulative, sadistic, and envious. Anyways, you will cry almost every chapter. It's a good read if you like to have your heart strings pulled.
OKay, so this manga scares me alot. The characters are creepier than horror mangas that I read. I mean like all of them are messed up and it just creeped me out relaly bad. Over all. Amazing story, plot, characters, more horrifying than any horror movie I ever watched. The horrors of human nature.
When i first reading, i like it... after 8 volumes, i think this story is really screw up. the plot get boring, and every single char is screw up except Hattori. The main protagonist gets weepy a lot.. i think what she need is brain. Cause she's tactless. and twenty volumes are too much... but i'll continue reading it anyway, i love to see a screw up character. haha
Not bad, not good
As one who has experienced bullying first-hand and dealt with it the easiest and quickest way possible, I can agree with the opinion that indeed the main character is weak. She is weak for not speaking out, she is weak for caring what other's think. (Leaves a lot of room for character development though) I am a lot like the Hatori character, so it's tougher for me to sympathize, but I do understand Ayumu's pain. Cutting, however, is not a sign of weakness. It is a stress release; a mania. As for the circumstances the main character finds herself in, I cannot refute their realism, but the fact that they coincidentally happen to her a lot is unrealistic. But it's a fictional story, what do you honestly expect? I mean look at some of the minor characters...completely deranged. How often do these people clump together? Almost never. This manga never ceases to be melodramatic to the point of hilarity.
It's not a great manga, the story isn't anything spectacular or moving. But it's not horrid like "Koizora". In fact, I do find that the author is very capable at enticing the reader to feel emotion for the character in SOME parts, so I do give praise for that.