Thank you, everyone who emailed or commented to wish Okazu a happy birthday! Special thanks to Brigid of Mangablog, who stuck the news at the top of her wonderful blog with very kind words attached. ^_^ (If you don’t already, you should absolutely read Mangablog. It’s awesome-ness personified. She works much, much harder on her blog than I do here.)
Today’s review has been sponsored by Eric P – thank you sir for your kindness. Sponsorship of materials for review makes a *tremendous* difference to me, really. Some of the companies will send me books or give me anime, but most do not. I buy all of the Japanese materials I review, and your support in the form of a book or video from my Wish List is just so important and helpful. Thanks to everyone who has ever sponsored a review! When I say that I couldn’t do it without you, I really mean it! ^_^
Kedamono Damono, Volume 2 is exactly like Volume 1, only more annoying. Mainly it is more annoying because it is *exactly* like Volume 1. Not a single thing has changed, except for the expected love rival for Konatsu’s affection. In effect, we’re watching the same story all over again, with no development, no progress, nothing.
I admit – I expected this to be the case. I was discussing this with Sean Gaffney last weekend, and he mentioned that this quality of prolonged repetition is something that he has come to expect from Tokyopop manga. As soon as he said that, I was in full agreement. It’s a manga quality – repeating the same situation over and over, changing only one characteristic from episode to episode. This works okay in action/fantasy stories, where the Monster or Enemy du jour can be taken at face value…but in stories about relationships that are predicated on one thing being out of balance so the relationship can’t just *be* a relationship, it’s downright exhausting.
Haruki still changes gender, he’s still rude and awkward about it as a boy and perfectly fine with getting Konatsu as a girl. Konatsu is still passive-aggressive about it all. Haruki’s family also still changes gender and he is still over the top upset by it all. I’m a pragmatist. Like, dude, get over it already. It is what it is. You’re what? 17? That means you’ve, at minimum, thrown 6205 hissy fits about something you can’t change. Aren’t your arms tired from being flailed uselessly all the time?
In the final chapter, there’s a pretty decent scene – when Haruki stops changing gender every time s/he sneezes and he proclaims that he’s back to being a normal guy. Konatsu sweetly comments that he’s never been normal and that’s why she likes him. For one second, I almost liked them both. Then she goes and ruins it by kissing him as she calls him a beast. This is important. Because the next story is a vile little character piece about a girl who loves a boy who treats her like dirt in public. And it really gets my goat to see this portrayed as a “love” story.
Dear shoujo manga readers – boys treating you badly is NOT a sign of love.
I get angry every time I see a dysfunctional, non-communicative troll being portrayed as a love interest. Not to mention bored.
So, as a gender-bending, Yuri, shoujo, romance manga goes, Kedamono is a mediocre specimen. I would definitely not give it to any young person questioning his or her sexuality or gender. But I think if the reader is the kind of person that enjoys gender-bending with a straight romance at the core, like Hana-Kimi and Ouran, this will probably be the light-hearted romp it’s meant to be enjoyed as.
Art – 7
Characters – 6
Story – 6
Yuri – 6
Service – 5
Overall – 6
Ishkabible. I really didn’t get as worked up about this manga as it sounds. It’s pretty much just more of the same.