Thoughts on Subete ni Iya Girl

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Obviously, when someone sees a synopsis for a story about a middle school girl with an arrow through her head, they’re required by law to give it a shot. Though, I’m American, so I’m not sure this law spans across any other country. Despite the silly premise, there’s an air of realism that surrounds the opening chapters. A clear introduction is presented and the major characters, the girl with the arrow and the boy interested enough to pursue the girl further, exchange a relatable tension between normalcy and absurdity. Clear intentions are made to establish the introduction of an intriguing backstory of a girl just within the boundary of lunacy. Unorthodox, sure, but it works for what’s presented. And once the chapters begin to find a rhythm, the writing shows how spoiled it really is.

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There are times when manga can be silly. Notable examples come from the parody genre, with titles like Onidere or Fujimura-kun Mates. I think they’re parodies, anyway. These two titles and others have a tendency to completely subvert the expectations of the viewer by making random or wacky situations seem normal. Things like melons coming to life to sprinkle salt upon the noses of newborn children (I made that up, but I wouldn’t say it’d never happen in manga), only to have the major characters stop them. Subete ni Iya Girl, or The Hating Girl, is another one of these stories, though one wouldn’t be able to see it at first. Indeed, the opening chapters of Hating Girl are rather normal, outside of the obvious arrow-themed jokes, with a pragmatic approach to humor and character interaction. It isn’t until twenty to thirty chapters in do the situations become more than “daily school things.” It is also at this point where the manga becomes nearly intolerable.

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Humor is very subjective, understandably, but Hating Girl tends to appeal to the lowest common denominator, complete with a buffet of sex jokes and random obscenity. A majority of the aforementioned “spoiled” writing takes place within the humor. Things that would never, ever happen in real life are taken advantage of within the lax universe of Hating Girl, providing an unfunny plethora of filler chapters that don’t mean anything. Really, does a chapter dedicated to two random characters enticed with the idea of feeling the female lead’s breasts mean anything? There’s too much of an emphasis on the unrealistic possibilities presented for humor to have the reader care about the occasional bouts of character development. Yes, there’s an effort to make these characters relatable and multi-dimensional, in-between chapters dedicated to the female lead accidentally giving the male lead a handjob. That statement is only slightly exaggerated.

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If the humor were better and served more of a purpose to each chapter, Hating Girl would definitely be more enjoyable. With the imbalance of humor type and the characters being nearly literal walking misunderstandings, it makes it hard to see it as an impactful story. It feels more like a draft, a sort of sandbox style of writing that it may serve better without an overarching narrative. If not for the dramatic moments dealing with the female lead’s past, that may as well be what it is. The manga is unsure of its strengths and weaknesses, with its rapid-fire changing of moods and scenarios, doing whatever it can to mix things up… without actually mixing up the sexually-tinged humor. There’s even a chapter dedicated to making the female lead into a live-action girl!

The art isn’t anything to write home about, either. A lot of the characters have weird looking heads, ranging from bowling pin-like to completely round (something that’s joked about). The style of facial features reminds me a tad of a poor man’s Akira Toriyama, with slanted eyes and similar pupil styles. And noses exist. It, like many other manga, improves its style over time, but never to the point where anything outside of exaggerated faces are anything to the point of attractive. One will likely have no trouble getting used to it, but at no point was I really amazed by what I was seeing. It’s rather ordinary, if not a little off.

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This ended up being short than I anticipated. There isn’t really much to say about Hating Girl, it has its negatives and negatives. Very little positives. There’s some effort into making the story feel alive and relatable, especially when delving into the history of the female lead’s arrow, but it’s too swamped by unnecessary cockteasing and incredibly awkward sexual humor. With one last note worth mentioning, the characters are more oblivious than the standard harem male lead—to the point where they’ll immediately assume one thing and do nothing to try and collect more information despite it happening on multiple occasions. If that isn’t enough to scare one away, The Hating Girl won’t likely be The Hated Girl.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

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