Entry #21: Imadoki! (Spoilers?)

I don’t have anything witty to open up with.

Imadoki! is from the same author as Sakura-gari (Yes, the last three entries were just manga I chose from similar authors). Does it show? Not really. Had I not known this beforehand, I probably wouldn’t have suspected it. There are some segments here and there that reflect Sakura-gari’s darker atmosphere, but they’re all far more tame. The direction of storytelling is somewhat similar, though. Focusing on a major character whose background is revealed minimally as the story continues, which attributes to their cheery, take-what-life-gives-you personality. Another character then comes along and challenges the way the main character looks upon the way life is and how they treat it.

There is no rape in this manga.

No rape, I swear.
No rape, I swear.

Imadoki! is one of those manga where nothing about it particularly stands out. It has a heart and a decent sense of humor and drama, but doesn’t get over the first hurdle of subjective attachment. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’m super cynical, anyway. There isn’t anything about this manga that really distinguishes it from other manga, except perhaps teenage pregnancy. Nevertheless, there’s not much about it that’s flawed, either. A very in-between manga. Not good, not bad. An even flow. A boat out on a relaxed ocean bed. That’s not to say that each individual part of the story are all even. There are flaws and there are strengths.

Starting off, I didn’t much like this story. The female lead was abnormally optimistic and willing to see everything from everyone else’s point of view, even if those points were blurred with red. She was the commonly associated trope of being the perfect Shoujo role. Somewhat like the female lead from Fruits Basket, who I despise as a character model. She is placed into an elitist school with rich and wealthy snobs who only get into the school due to their prestige and power. How did she get in? She “tested in.” She’s a substitute. A replacement for a sudden drop-out. One question: why her? Why not some other rich kid? Why not some other prodigy? Was she really the only other person who applied to the school after they filled their quota? I highly doubt that. Regardless, because of this, she’s bullied and slandered everyday for being a “commoner.” Will she survive this new environment of disgusting, one-dimensional assholes that the author clearly wants you to hate in order to shine the female lead in a better light? Obviously.

In comes male lead, who is a two-dimensional asshole to begin with, who tries to hide his sweet side for such trivial things as plants, from everyone in the school. It all falls apart when the female lead starts being obnoxiously persistent to become friends with him, which eventually breaks down the barrier that was placed around him by society’s standards. He starts becoming nice after a few chapters, and eventually develops a yearning for our female lead, but you didn’t see that coming, right?

Cute characters have cute sidekicks.
Cute characters have cute sidekicks.

The rest of the story’s characters all enter the same way: they’re assholes at first, but through the power of female lead’s optimism, they start to show their kinder side. This reminded me again of Fruits Basket, which is a very bad sign. Thankfully, after they filled their character limit, they stopped doing this. Each character has their own quirk. One wants to marry someone only for their money and power. Haha, so funny. One is just a lover of technology, despite only showing what he can do with it once throughout the entire story, and likes to doooooooo thisssssssss. Haha, so funny. One is some Hispanic looking girl who likes to fuck everyone, but then stops fucking everyone because she didn’t have her partners wear protection. If you catch my drift. Haha, so funny. Two more are the brother and fiance to the male lead. They’re both pretty funny.

In all seriousness, though, I like how a lot of these characters developed over time, despite how stupid their introductions and conversions occurred. By the end, I didn’t hate any of these characters! Except maybe male lead’s fiance…. Regardless, a lot of the characters ended up being more likable than not, though that’s not to say they were fully developed. The major characters I felt did receive a lot of development, and their actions near the end of the manga felt genuine and realistic. They were never happy or sad for the sake of being happy or sad. They felt human. Unfortunately, only a key few characters get this honor. Can you guess which two?

Imadoki! 3

One major complaint I have with the story is something I’ve come across many times. That being the manga dropping its initial premise for the sake of sole character development.  The manga was originally about how the female lead will be able to survive that prestigious school of assholes while still trying to maintain her humble, normal conditions. This is solved in the first volume alone. After the male lead (who I guess has power in the school or something) decides to tell everyone to STFU, they pretty much leave the female lead alone. So… what’s the point of the story now? It would’ve been nice to see some more effort put into continuing her struggles with the school’s body. One asshole telling all other assholes to STFU shouldn’t just solve everything. These people are supposed to be assholes. Their views aren’t going to change just because one person reverted to the other side. In fact, it would probably make them more bitter. I know this because my brother’s an asshole.

It’s a shoujo manga. Basically all shoujo manga look the same, so what else should I say about it? The girls have big eyes and the boys have big smugs. The expressions become cartoony when emotions get funny. The expressions become highlighted when emotions get srs. I barely noticed the backgrounds, unless the backgrounds were emphasized. Even then, I wasn’t entirely impressed. I believe this manga is more for those looking for character interactions as opposed to a frivolous, visual treat. This is also a shoujo manga published in 2000, so it’s not exactly going to be high-caliber stuff.

There’s good and there’s bad. I wasn’t emotionally attached, but I can see why others would be. This is a story with just enough effort put into it to pass by, but also doesn’t ruin anything with bizarre quirks or overexaggeration. It’s a down-to-Earth and sweet story about the relationship between a boy and a girl, who grow together through trials of life and whatever. A lot of it is a failure of communication and jealousy, but this is Shoujo, so that’s also pretty expected.

Personal Score: C

Critical Score: C+

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