Sunday, August 25, 2013

Manga Review: Kare First Love, Volume 3, by Kaho Miyasaka

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo)
Volumes: 10
Spoilers?: Some/Nothing Major.
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble (on Nook). Powells. (Almost Out-of-Print)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Coy and self-conscious high school student Karin Karino never paid much attention to boys until she met Kiriya, a popular student from a nearby boys' school. Karin and Kiriya embark on a romantic journey despite Karin's classmate Yuka's best efforts to sabotage their relationship, but Karin soon learns that living happily ever after isn't on the curriculum when she becomes Kiriya's centre of attention, as well as embittered Yuka's bull's-eye on her dartboard of hate. Karin and her friends begin preparations for their trip to Okinawa, and Kiriya's past slowly unravels after his father forbids him to go on the trip. Karin and Kiriya's relationship blossoms, but intimacy rises to the surface of their turbulent sea of young love as the pressure to give in torments romance newbie Karin.


I am still simply enjoying this series at the moment, even with all its clich├ęd stereotypical glory. It’s just a good, drama-filled, fun read.
Most of this volume was about the group going to the beach, and S-E-X. S-E-X was a big part of it, if not the main part, really.
So, at the start of the volume, Karin gets a job to help pay for the trip, where she ends up working with Yuka, who seems to be ever present in her life (she’s shows up again at the end of the volume, too). Then Kiriya’s family has a freak out over their trip, and Kiriya’s camera ends up broken while he’s gone, and Karin pays to fix it. Then they finally go on the trip, and we find out that the reason Kiriya’s family was so freaked, and why he’s been so odd, is because his brother used to come there all the time, and it’s where he drowned, trying to save Kiriya. This is a rather big step in their relationship, in a good way, and gives the reader a good amount of insight into Kiriya.
Then there’s the S-E-X bit. So, Kiriya tries to make a move but Karin freaks out over it, then gets drunk on one of their nights there. So, pretty much, nothing happens between them during the trip. Then, when they get back, they have a fight over sex, and how he doesn’t want to wait forever but she’s not ready yet. And, at the end, after their fight, she hears that the guys from his class (maybe including him, she doesn’t know yet) joined Yuka and her friends out.
My biggest problem is the way sex is handled in this. Karin is constantly freaking out over the fact she’s not ready yet, and the fact that that’s so abnormal, and then the fact that Kiriya wants to have sex and doesn’t want to wait forever. First of all, there is nothing wrong with waiting to have sex. You wait however the fuck long you want to wait; you wait until you, yourself, are ready. That’s all there is to it. Then there’s the fact that Kiriya is pushing it so much, which is just him being a dick, really, and nothing else, and he needs to stop that. And Karin needs to get mad about it, which she won’t. The only good way sex is handled in this is by Nanri, who tells Karin that Kiriya shouldn’t push, and if he is then she can find someone else to be with. She also tells Karin that, I guess, it is kind of normal to be having sex already, and she does push Kiriya and Karin together, but I would like to believe that she’s doing it under the impression that Karin does actually want to have sex and is just freaking out over it, which is kind of true. But I also think that she’s just not ready, and so everyone needs to just stop pushing her, and she needs to stop letting them.
That’s my biggest problem with Karin, too, is that she’s so weak. She’s the stereotypical weak, damsel in distress, heroine, and I hate that. I can overlook it here, though, because I’m liking the series.
Oh, another thing: this series is a lot like Mars. I love Mars, and it is very much the stronger of the two series, but this one has its differences—I think a big part is that this one falls into a lot more stereotypical tropes than Mars does. But there are a lot of similarities, including the fact that there is a scene in this volume that is almost identical to one in Mars, which makes me a little uneasy. 
Anyway.  I’m enjoying this series. I’ve got one more volume at the moment, and plan to get the others very soon, and am looking forward to reading more.

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