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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wild Ones vol. 1 Impression

I originally published this article on Comics Alliance back on October 25th 2007. Recently I recevied news the site, AIM's official Comic Book community site, is going away, being shut down, all content gone. I had a lot of good times, fun post, on that site that have remeined there, I even reference them in my first post on this blog. So with it being shut down I'm bringing my content here. There are comic and manga reviews but also various round-ups of multiple manga and video games I don't want to loose and that I'll be expanding on in addition to new post. So here we go, the first of about 20 or so post being reborn ...


You've heard of Lifetime, television for women right? Well I've seen a few shows on this channel, courtesy of my wife, and I must say, it's TV for women indeed. It targets its audience and does not give the men in the house much chance to get hooked. Viz fortunately does not suffer from the same syndrome with its Shojo Beat manga lineup. Shojo manga are targeted at the female demographic, whereas the Shonen is more male oriented. Where one embraces action, the other takes on relationships, BUT not all the time. As a red-blooded, sports loving, raw meat eating guy I love me some action manga, but like any good breakfast cereal I have my sweet side also. Wild Ones from Viz's Shojo Beat line of manga appeals to my sweet side, but hooks me with its Yakuza influence.

Sachie Wakamura is adopted by her estranged grandfather after her mother passes away. The hitch, he's the head of a yakuza gang so Sachie's new 'family' is indeed different. As the granddaughter of the boss, Sachie cannot maintain her normal life no matter how much she tries, especially when Rakuto is assigned as her bodyguard. He's about the same age and attends the same high school as Sachie, but he's also mega-popular, good looking and an all-around stud. As to be expected Sachie begins to fall for Rakuto, but seeing as how she's the boss' granddaughter that's a no, no for the tow of them plus does Rakuto have the same feelings? Don't let the title mislead you. In volume 1 of Wild Ones Sachie and Rakuto are anything but wild. This is the story of a young girl thrust into a new world where violence reigns, yet none is really seen in the series. The yakuza henchmen are bumbling fools trying to please Sachie and offering their fingers for any misstep while the boss is (so far) a sweet caring grandfather missing is deceased daughter trying to know his granddaughter. At its heart is a romance brewing, one with history, one that is taboo due to the work status of Rakuto and the secrecy of Sachie's new family.

Wild Ones is written and penned by Kiyo Fujiwara. The story does leave the reader wanting more, wanting to know what will happen between Sachie and her grandfather, her school mates, with Rakuto as well portraying a humor that does not go over the top, and brings a smile to the readers face. These are two very likeable characters and many readers can identify with Sachie on some level, be it the loss of a mother, being thrust into new circumstances or finding a new love that's about to bloom. Rakuto's reasons for being in the servitude of a yakuza boss is to be explored further, but he's a very honorable character tied to a traditionally violent organization. He protects Sachie and shows a deep understanding of her situation that only the most gentlemanly of men understand. Will there be plot twist and action in the future volumes, I'm sure, but the lack of in volume 1 is not a hindrance and allows the characters and settings to flourish in a manner that even a Shonen fan like me can truly appreciate.

Shojo manga is not for everyone, but it's also not only for the farer sex. Wild Ones offers a very deep and engaging story that is not overly sappy or full of awkward moments, but instead is a more mature ... in a teenage way, manga most any manga fan will enjoy. Give Wild Ones a spin, it's fun, romantic and won't leave you feeling stripped of your manhood like a movie of the week on Lifetime.

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