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In company-owned rabbit-hutch apartments live tenants who can't afford to live anywhere else, and the apartment complex in which high-school girl Hatsumi Narita lives is ruled over by the rumor mongering, self-righteous Mrs. Tachibana. Get on Tachibana's bad side, and life becomes hell. When Hatsumi has to buy a pregnancy test because her popular sister Akane's period is late, Mrs. Tachibana's son, Ryoki, who used to bully Hatsumi as a kid, promises not to tell the world about Hatsumi's secret, only if she becomes his slave. Suddenly, Azusa Hatsumi's protector in their youth, reappears to save her again! He's moving back into the neighborhood! Despite the budding romance between Hatsumi and Azusa, Ryoki has control over her through the secret that could ruin the lives of everyone in Hatsumi's family, and he hasn't forgotten who his slave is!
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Why so serious?
I have experienced abusive relationships and I'd hardly call Ryo and Hatsumi's relationship abusive. It was just another manga about growing up in love. I don't know why some people are taking Ryo's slave threats so seriously. Is it because he got so close, or because Hatsumi let him get so close? Or maybe, its because he wasn't the 4 year old making threats and a grown man? I see no difference, they were still young and inexperienced most importantly. The manga had people having physical relations left and right so I don't see why their close encounters were such a big deal. Ryo believed he could get whatever he wanted because of the way he was brought up. He didn't just sit there and wait to be fed though, he got whatever he wanted by any means necessary. I liked that about his character; he wasn't the stereotypical lazy rich guy. He put so much work into the relationship, some times I forgot he was rich and pampered. Many were turned off by his aggression, I found it hilarious that he had to try so hard to learn how to be gentle. He was also so calculative and plotting while Hatsumi was hardly thinking; the epitome of LOL's when a guy is trying so hard and the girl is not. Would you have read a book where a guy is sincerely trying to be gentle and kind? How many time has that been done? Wringing the dry cloth for more water = yawnfest.
If you think that Hatsumi was a pushover ready to submit, then you missed a vital trait. What Hatsumi needed was confidence. She received confidence when Ryoki chose her again and again, despite having more attractive and luxurious offers. Bigger boob size, more money, intelligence, mother's approval, you get the idea. Remember when she told off that girl? Yeah, Hatsumi had confidence in Ryoki loving her.
Hatsumi was jealous of her sister's good looks, and did not think much of herself. Then came Ryoki, a guy who wanted to possess her and have all of her attention to himself. He was quite in love with her, and I admired that. What he thought was love though and being in charge, he grew out of and learned how to better handle things. Eventually when he is fully sure of her loyalty (possibly after marriage) he will quit being paranoid and stop labeling. She did not realize how dedicated he was, until Ryoki chose a different more obvious approach. There was Ryoki's development - softening up a bit and learning how to love differently. Had Ryoki approached her like that in the beginning, the manga would have been boring and tiresome. Call it abuse, but I just think it was growth between two individuals.
Also for those who think that Hatsumi was still a pushover at the end of the series and that Ryo was still boss; you're wrong. You're not supposed to look at it that way. Ryoki learned exactly how to love her while still keeping his sassy attitude and natural leadership and Hatsumi gained the confidence she needed to be with RYOKI. She gained the confidence specifically to be with him, and nobody else. Hatsumi naturally fits the submissive type and that didn't change. Both personalities didn't change, but their approaches and views towards love and for Hatsumi themselves at the end of the manga did.
For those who think the author handled Shinogu roughly, I think your just bitter that the author chose to be very realistic at the end. I found it as incest, because she could never stop looking at him as a brother and could not find any chemistry between the two. I'd have rather seen Azusa and Hatsumi's relationship developed a bit more, though I liked that Azusa was the lone wolf at the end. Seemed to fit him. I think most here were turned off at Ryo's calculative way of learning how to love her, but lets not forget he also experienced an emotional roller coaster as well. Pissed then worried then jealous and even self reflecting at times.
Some might be mad that Hatsumi was so self sacrificing, and was willing to keel over to his demands and wouldn't stop him. Doesn't mean she has no backbone - it means she is a nice, self sacrificing person as displayed with how she handled her family relations. She may be on the dim side but she has a strong heart and is very humble. Sorry if the author didn't spell it out for you, or you cannot see yourself as being someone so self sacrificing. They're people like that in the world - I'd know.
To end, I thought this manga was done well and I would read it again in a few years.
Had potential, but it lacked the right mangaka
The story started off great! There were mysteries, conflicting feelings and a lot of events that created a great beginning. But, it seems the mangaka didn't know what was going to come afterwards. Plus, the male lead was such a pain to even read along to. Maybe it's my own personal hate for men like him that boss around the girl they like. It made no sense how the female character acted because it was just ridiculous. This manga could've been great, but the mangaka got lazy and did a poor job on building on the characters and making them grow up. Forget the plot, the characters were just horrific. I was seriously disgusted with everything about this.
... Last updated on June 21st, 2012, 8:53pm
Hatsumio and Ryoki make an amusing couple. Just read it and laugh and don't get to psyched up by it. Ryoki loves her deeply but he's bitterly jealous about how little attention she gives him, and rightfully so. While Hatsumi doesn't always present her best since she's knee deep in disturbing family affairs and can barely substantiate a romatic relationship. You can probably enjoy this easily but if you get hindered by the psychological profile of Hatsumi's wavering mind, then read something else.
this manga has no coherency at all whatsoever. I lose respect for both the girl and the guy, so there's a bunch of crap that goes on and then I barely even care because I don't feel at all attached to the story. I'm not sure why I even read it, I must have been bored to my bones.
HEART OF DARKNESS
I'm grateful to this hideous manga because it helped me understand women better. After reading this, I spent some time pitying the kind of decision-making by a woman shown in this manga. Pick this kind of boyfriend today, and a few years later when he's tired of you or has just gotten fired or something, you'll end up at the battered woman's center!
Why could no-one see this danger?
Thorough study of the many comments to the manga showed two things. First, the most common favorable base opinion was something like this (from an actual comment to this manga):
"No matter what anyone says i love this manga...Ryoki can make my heart beat really fast when he does something sweet to Hatsumi...sure he's a bit possessive but it's because he really loves the girl..." and, second,
from their phraseology (and lack of command of the English language), I was pretty sure that I could tell that most of those favorable comments were made by very young girls.
There are a bunch of other "Be mean to me and I'll love you, Big Boy!" manga in the shoujo lineup. I found some of them and was horrified again. I began thinking back to those comments to "Hot Gimmick".
I'm a big believer in the "playground analogy to life" school of psychology. All the cruelty and general emotional extemisms we see in, say, middle schoolers don't go out of us when we grow up, they just gets suppressed and live on in us, with only constant work by our mature minds able to keep them in check. And likewise that amazing number of young-girl fans of this manga hadn't yet suppressed this one drive I didn't know they had:
Ladies and gentlemen, I think the great popularity of shoujo manga like this, demonstrates that one part of the innate makeup of women is a desire to be dominated.
I'm sorry things like "Hot Gimmick" are around to get in the way of young girls' growing out of this unfortunate innate tendency.
I for one loved it!
At first I wasn't going to read it because of all the negative comments, but I was really bored and chose to read it. It was really good, very dramatic, but good. The heroine's boyfriend is kind of annoying with his orders but I got used to it. BUT I wish the manga was about the heroine's little sister. Her story was in fact much more interesting. That's the only reason why I chose to read it more haha. Plus her little sister and her crush are cute. So overall it was good for a shoujo read.
About the comments.
I don't actually read manga like this, and I confess not having read this one either. But I just felt like chiming in here.
Is it clear to everyone that this is simply a work of fiction, meant to produce a living for the mangaka? Yes, you may not like it and you are perfectly entitled to that opinion, but please do not parade under an imaginary banner of righteousness, preaching how wrong this manga is and how everyone who disagrees with you is also wrong, and conspiring with the mangaka in a circle of discrimination against women. This is silly, this is elementary school level bullying. Please stop and have some self security as a woman. Not everyone is out to get you.
And please keep the critique as such. I feel a bit shallow saying this without actually reading the manga, but I just couldnt gather anything constructive apart from dislike of the main characters from the comments.
This manga is a hot mess of an abusive, controlling, possessive relationship. Read this for a How to Not Have a Healthy Relationship 101. Overall, this leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.
boil my blood
the utter spinelessness of the main girl just make me want to vomit. i'm mad at those guys for their cruelty, but i'm more mad at the girl for not having any pride for herself. the only reason why i complete this manga is because my sis bought all the volumes and i read it cos there's nothing to read.
i give it some points cos well, there is realism - the amount of domestic abuse recorded in the crime statistics surely point that allot of women and men are in these sado-maso relationships. and there really are parents that will sell you for less than 'saving face'. but thats it- the realism is just too depressing.
... Last updated on August 14th, 2011, 8:34am
Good and Bad Points
This manga had a few good points, but some really blaring bad points.
Good points: The art was pretty. All the characters had distinct and entertaining/interesting personalities. The star of the show, in my opinion, was the brother character, because he was so charming in comparison to ALL the other characters. Although, his ending made me go O.o . Also, the side character romance was adorable.
Bad points: The mothers in this manga are bad people. Not I-kill-you bad, but they were all completely selfish people. The lead female was always manipulated by others. A lot of varying types of abuse go on, and she just takes all of it.
The I-don't-know-how-I-feel-about-these-parts points: The male lead didn't develop that much throughout the story. He sort of stayed the same way, and didn't change much. I can't decide whether or not I like this, because his character always entertained me, except for when I was like, "GET A CLUE ALREADY, YOU DUMMY!" Secondly, people forgave and forgot a lot in this manga, even when the offenses seemed unforgivable. It was almost like the characters were too lazy to deal with the problem. Sadly, I think that this reaction is somewhat realistic, hence why this point is in this section.
In total, I suggest that you pick it up, and read past the first arc. If you sort of enjoy the characters and the tone of the story by then, then continue reading it. Otherwise, please put it down, because the tone/characters/plot stays the same quality throughout the rest. I enjoyed it, but it by no means is for everyone. The amount of abuse that the female lead gets from everyone is ridiculous, and she basically accepts ALL of it.