by Shigeyoshi Takagi
All Riko wants is to live the life of a normal high school student, but her dream is shattered when Ran Tachibana storms into her classrom and points a gun at her face. Ran demands her life...as his wife! Needless to say, this doesn't go over well, and Riko refuses him. But Ran won't take no for an answer, and his pursuit of her brings assassins, kidnappers and rivals out of the woodwork. Life couldn't get worse for a girl who just wants to be totally average.
Riko's fixation on being “normal” stems from having her heart broken by a former crush. He thought her Hulk-like super strength – oh, did I mention she has that? - was freakish and rejected her, so now Riko just wants to hide that which makes her unique and special. I thought that this made her a realistic and sympathetic teenager, although the fact that the author repeated her sob story in *every*single*chapter* got a little old.
Of course, a shoujo romance is only as good as its male lead, and Ran is a big bundle of psychotic energy. I'm not sure what to think of him. On the one hand, I don't doubt his devotion to Riko; the reason for his initial attraction is pretty good and throughout the book his actions are based on what he think will make her happy. Of course, the execution leaves something to be desired, but Ran tries. But on the other hand, Ran is an obsessive stalker who introduces himself to a girl by threatening to shoot her, chases her when Riko has made it clear she isn't interested, and eventually transfers schools so they can always be together. It's creepy! But what the hell. Ran's outsized personality and inability to conform to societal norms is what sells this book because it is so over-the-top that it's hilarious.
The art is fairly standard for shoujo manga – clean lines, big eyes, generous use of screentones – but I like it. It's pretty and tells the story clearly.
Ultimately, the plot depends on a lot of shoujo tropes – heroine just wants to be “normal”, average girl suddenly thrust into the world of the extremely wealthy, etc. I wish that there had been more room to develop some of the background characters – there's a fun assassin character that I hope will continue to appear, since he's the only person with enough personality to balance Ran's antics.
3 out of 5 stars
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