By Renchamp 4 Comments
I very lately took on a very rash project: read a manga and put its universe in our database. I picked one at random. I have never read a manga before and so I took a recommendation. Eiken was the series and it sounded interesting: a boy is chosen to join a club of attractive ladies; he likes one of them; no one knows what the club does. That sounds like a lot to build an interesting story around. I noticed our Eiken pages were basically blank and I looked forward to being the one to add the character pages and flesh them out. The synopses on the issues pages would be long, as each volume contained between six and eight chapters. This was to be a big project that I anticipated would get me over 50,000 points easily. (In all honesty, it probably would have been closer to 75k.)
I first added all the plot summaries. Tasty, easy points there. Then I busted open the first volume. This was my first problem since I had never read a manga before. The right to left - even with the speech bubbles - was at first confusing. I got the hang of it and proceeded to write out a synopsis of the first chapter. It was long (and length is the same as massive points). After seven chapters I had just over 1,500 points on one volume alone. If each volume had the potential for a similar synopsis then I was already looking at close to 27,000 points. Healthy.
Another problem cropped up, however, and that was the content of Eiken. I'll begin with the structure and move on to the themes. I recognize that first issues/volumes need a bit of leeway to allow the author to introduce the characters and establish some sort of direction for the series. I understand that each chapter in the first volume was dedicated to getting the main character (and, by extension, the reader) introduced to each club member. I accepted that the main story of the club's purpose was put on the back-burner for all this. The thing that got me was that the second volume continued putting off the story for cutesy anecdotes about the members. Oddly enough, the characters that are specially and specifically introduced are pushed to the background, only appearing when a line or plot devise can't be effected by the main three characters.
Themes: There is so much wasted potential here. First off, the main guy Densuke has a crush on school hottie Chiharu. This is obvious because he has sexual thoughts of her constantly. He gets waylaid, however, by a host of other girls that would have a legitimate shot with him. Kirika has an episode in which she shows that she can be the perfect girl. This gets swept aside when her actions were based on a fever. A teacher suffers from the same type of no-namedness as Densuke, a seemingly match made in heaven. This is explored little. All this opposition to Densuke's love for Chiharu would be fascinating if there were any indication that Chiharu had feelings for Densuke. As it is, the reader can't help but wonder what Densuke sees in the girl that is hardly ever in the book and has very few lines.
And here's the straw that breaks the camel's back. I hate the exploitation of the women in this book. Densuke has a propensity for accidentally grabbing the various sets of massive boobs or having his face land in someone's butt. It's meant to be funny, but how many times in one chapter can this happen and the reader still be expected to laugh at the same gaffe in the next? (I just looked in a chapter in a volume far into the series and the same shenanigans are still being played.) Not only is the joke old by the second volume, but Densuke doesn't keep his accidents to the older women but he also stumbles into girls far, far younger. He grabs their butts and ogles a sixth grader's very, very large breasts. And the book does its very best to make sure that sexual situations are frequent. A trip to a spa, a girls' locker room, barging in on someone changing, girls falling over and having their skirts flipped up, and on, and on, and on.
All-in-all, I can't bring myself to continue reading this book. I don't care about the characters enough to make their pages (scans already deleted). The points just aren't enough to get me to finish the series. And they would be easy points. I just hate that I have the first volume as one of my top edits.