Nikki's Corner (sennetari) wrote,
Nikki's Corner

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[Manga] NG Life Volumes 1-4

I usually like reading shoujo manga with a guy as the main character. (Wonder why? Can't be for identification since I'm female and prefer to stay that way.) So far, here is the list of that kind of manga I posted about on this journal, in no particular order:

Don't Mind Princess (I talked a little about Detective Conan movie 12 at the beginning of that post, but don't think there is any real spoiler for it.)
Duck Prince
Boku to Kanojo no xxx (well, the story follows Akira, not Momoi; and the post is the drama post (vague spoilers for episodes 1-3) which I mentioned only a little of the manga version)
Yamada Taro Monogatari
Shigeshoshi (shouldn't count, because I'm so behind on this; and the hero isn't a teenager, for another thing. The post really has heavy spoilers for the first volume, and might spoil the early drama episodes too.)

(The above all have spoilers, except perhaps Yamada Taro (I spoil it more with the drama post I never did finish writing).)

(There are more shoujo manga I read with male protagonist(s), but I haven't talked about them here.)

And the latest one to join that rank is: NG Life by Mizuho Kusanagi.

I think most everyone else (on the web) can summarize this series better than I can anyway, so I'm just going to talk about what I notice personally. Spoilers, of course, though I try to make them vague, and probably spoilers for Don't Mind Princess, although I wonder if anyone looking at this has ever heard of that series...

NG Life is a manga that reminds me so much of Don't Mind Princess: the reincarnated angle, the object of main character's affection doesn't remember a thing from the past life, the hero who looks cool on the surface, but actually kind of crazy, especially when it comes to his past love. The guys have similar hairstyle (which, okay, means nothing because every manga high school kid probably has that hair :P), and same hair color (screen tone). And starting from NG Life book 2: the school teacher who hates the main character's guts, haha, whom the main character (usually) treats with respect, and then there are the famous manga artist characters (they look similar, though seems like the personalities are totally different and they draw different types of manga). The main chara of NG life gets a bonus of reminding me sometimes of Tamaki from Ouran Host Club (he cries at almost every single little thing. :P)

And I love gender-bending media, so I'm open to be persuaded to begin with. A little disappointed with the ones who get gender-swap but retain no memory, though. Because they are not conflicted between their identities in this life and the past life. Though Yuuma seems to already have an identity crisis without knowledge of past life.

To be honest (too much for my own good, probably), the first book didn't really sell this series to me. I enjoyed it fine (and didn't find any character annoying), but I didn't exactly look forward to the next volume. Can't specifically put my hand on the problem, but it just seemed too much all over the place (it is still the volume I read the least), and not setting up the story as well as I like. It sat there kind of neglected for several weeks. Then, randomly, I came across volumes 2 and 3, so I snapped them up anyway, hoping it would get better. And I'm glad I did since the series becomes so much better. (Just my opinion, of course. The new chara from volume 2 plays a big part in rescuing the series for me. That, and I enjoy seeing more of Keidai protecting/standing up for his friends...)

Having read four volumes (but understood only a few parts of volume 4, so my views on the two characters first introduced there might change when I have translations), I think I like every character, though I suppose I do have favorites. So far, though, no one made me hate them (not even those who like to sabotage someone else's date--I'm actually sympathetic, which is rare because those types of characters usually have no dimensional depth in other manga).

(One nitpick (or maybe I'm just thinking too much): Why Keidai never calls Serizawa by her first name? He makes free with plenty of other people's first names, and he has just met them (in this life, anyway). It's not like he's not close to Serizawa either; she calls him 'Kei-chan', after all. If Serizawa uses 'Keidai', I wouldn't have batted an eye with him using her last name.)

Art is fine. Not the best I've seen, but better than a lot. (And pointed chins would usually bug me, but, for some reason, I can overlook them here.) Bonus: I really like that the artist draws hair over the eyes and eyebrows. (I mean, it kind of bothers me when I can see eyebrows under the hair of characters from other manga. What? They have see-through hair?) It's how I try to draw, too, even though eraser hates me for using it a lot. Anyway, taking care to erase parts of eyebrows (and eyes) that the hair cover makes the style of this manga seems a bit shounen (even though I know some shounen manga have characters with see-through hair too).

I don't see where this series is going, exactly, though I hope it stops introducing new characters after volume 4. The manga has a handful enough trying to develop the ones already here without adding more.

Me want to see this as an anime, but since it already ended in Japan, that wish is not likely to come true.

And I would love raws (or anything actually) of volume 5+. I searched and searched, but the most is only up to the fourth volume, and, as I mentioned, I already have hard-copy versions for the first three.

As for the title, NG really means 'No Good' in this context? Without seeing an official confirmation, I tend to agree. (I used to wonder what NG stood for. <--And I thought I didn't have the post since I never did tag it (still don't have a tag for it).)

My last verdict: read volumes one and two together (for those in the US, that means wait until July). Because most people seem to not sure what to make of this series with just the first book.

P.S. Unlike with other traits, [guy main character] doesn't seem to be a label when one looks at a list of shoujo manga. (Maybe I can tell from the cover, if one is present, but still...) Anyway, I considered asking for recs, but taste is pretty much subjective (and what I want is too niched anyway), and I'm aware I might just be lucky that I like most of the guy main character shoujo manga I read. I usually am not very interested in the well-known series either. (Bad bias I try to cure, but stuff people talk about a lot almost always seem hyped up and more often than not I end up feeling disappointed.)

EDIT: Wondered for a moment if Vampire Knight counts as having main male character(s)? By my definition, probably not. It still follows Yuuki's story more than theirs. (I haven't read past volume 8 (hey, I changed my mind), so don't know and would rather not know if that changes.)

EDIT EDIT: Sorry, I would usually lj-cut more, but just can't find a good way to do it. That said, I'll go to bed and leave this post alone now.

EDIT EDIT EDIT: No worries. I manage to cut the big chunk of this post, though I don't think this is on anyone's first page anymore.
Tags: don't mind princess, manga, series: ng life
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