Friday, November 11, 2016

My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong As I Expected Vol. #02 Manga Review

Die in a fire, youth.

Creative Staff:
Original Story: Wataru Watari
Art: Naomichi Ito
Character Design: Ponkan8
Translation: Jennifer Ward
Lettering: Bianca Pistillo
Cover Design: Hiroyuki Kawasome

What They Say:
Hachiman Hikigaya may be in a club with two hot girls, but this isn't going to turn into a rom-com. He may have given out his number, but his phone will remain untexted. Besides, the only true cutie around here? Yeah, it's a guy.

Hachiman the loser, Yukino the ice queen, and Yui the bimbo have to find some way to put the "service" back in "Service Club" -- but so far they've scored zero points in the game of high school life.

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
After completing their first real mission in conquering the kitchen difficulties Yuigahama faced, the service club inches a step or two closer toward being more than just a quiet room where loners read books and shoot condescending remarks at one another. Now that the club roster has grown to an ever-impressive three members, the requests start pouring in. Kind of. Okay, not really -- but at least our main characters have something to do.

The first of these requests comes from Saika Totsuka, who is totally a dude. (You probably won't understand that if you haven't read this yet). Totsuka problem is a little heftier than Yuigahama's, however. Instead of just wanting to figure out how to make a passable batch of cookies, Totsuka want's to essentially save the school's tennis club from an encroaching state of disrepair. According to him, all of the club's older members aren't all that good, and with that in mind, the younger members are beginning to become demoralized and lose interest in improving. Totsuka, noticing the club's shortcomings, figures that the service club may be able to help him in some way or another. And so they do. Or, at least they try to until all of those damn popular kids show up.

Wanting the keep the tennis court for themselves, the popular kids wind up challenging Hachiman and company to a doubles match: Hayama and Miura vs. Hachiman and Yui. The winner of said match will be able to hold the court and the loser will walk away. And while this match is initially in favor of Hayama and Miura, it takes a dramatic shift when Hachiman starts harnessing skills he picked up during his depressingly lonely middle-school days. To make a [kind of] long story short, Yui winds up getting hurt, Yukino steps in, and the service club wins. Totsuka, even though he has barely cooperated in any of this, winds up walking away at the end of the day being magically better at tennis because that's how practice works.

Our next problem comes from good ole' Hayama, himself. Apparently, there have been text messages circulating around school detailing rumors about three of the guys from his group of friends. Hayama, being a textbook 'lawful good' character, wants to put a stop to these texts and restore order to his clique. However, considering how lawfully good he is, he wants to do this without exposing who has been sending the text messages in the first place. Yukino, not wanting to touch this with a ten-foot pole, sicks Hachiman and Yui on the task and the two get off to a rocky start in determining where this is all coming from. Fortunately for everyone, Hachiman has the superhuman ability to read any and all situations and winds up deducting that none of the three guys involved in these text messages are actually friends with one another. Instead, their social lives revolve around Hayama and how he is basically the glue keeping everyone together. After Hachiman reveals this, Hayama decides it is in everyone's best interest if he does not pair with any of the guys in the upcoming class trip and essentially forces them to bond with one another. Really, though, what a great dude. Right?

Just as things begin to wind down for the service club, another request makes its way to Hachiman and 'friends'. Initially brought up by Komachi, it is revealed that Hachiman's classmate, Saki Kawasaki, has sloped into a state of delinquency -- not showing up at home until almost 5:00 AM some nights. This request, initially stemming from Saki's younger brother, Taishi, is gracefully taken on and each member (As well as Zaimokuza for some reason) gets to devise their own plan on how to tackle it. While our main members' plans wind up crashing and burning, Zaimokuza's gets off to a decent start. Somehow or another, the service club winds up linking the word 'Angel' to a location that Kawasaki allegedly has started working at. Being a super-otaku, a nearby maid cafe jumps out of Zaimokuza's memory and the service club makes its way there. In a cliche example of comedic timing, our club members arrive at the same instance that Kawasaki is leaving -- and they manage to do this without even noticing her. DUN DUN DUN.

In Summary:
While this manga tailors beautifully to pre-existing fans of the Oregairu series, it doesn't hit nearly as hard as the other adaptations (Anime/Light novel). That being said, it really isn't bad by any means. There are a few inconsistencies in terms of general artwork, but thanks to an immensely lovable cast and a plethora of modern philosophy from Hachiman, this manga adaptation is still one that I'd go on to recommend to all fans of the slice-of-life genre. Even though it does have a few minor setbacks, the manga is very clearly progressing -- and it's doing so at a pleasant, enjoyable pace.

Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B-
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: September 20, 2016
MSRP: $12.99

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