When I went karaoke with Raylight and a few other friends last week, our conversation naturally drifted to manga and we took turns recommending stuff to each other. One of the series I told her about is a Shoujo one that caught my eye the week before. As evidence of her speed, the night of our meeting, she had already written a blog post on it that you can find here. Hahahaha, man, she’s awesome.
I’m definitely not a speedy reader and it also takes me extremely long to organise my thoughts + write, but here’s my
long-winded take on Ore Monogatari!!
Manga: Ore Monogatari!! 「俺物語!!」 a.k.a. My Love Story!!
Ore Monogatari!! is a Shoujo, romance, comedy, drama, school, slice-of-life manga written by Kawahara Kazune and illustrated by Aruko. The series is ongoing with currently 7 volumes published, however, English scans have only reached the 3rd volume thus far. That’s where I’ve read until. Ore Monogatari!! will henceforth be known at Oregatari throughout this post.
Gouda Takeo is a freshman in high school with an estimated height of 2 metres and weight of 120kg. He spends peaceful days with his popular-with-girls, yet insensitive, childhood friend, Sunakawa. It’s no surprise all the girls Takeo likes end up liking Suna instead. One morning on the train to school with Suna, Takeo saves a girl, Yamato, from being molested by a pervert. Is this the beginning of spring for Takeo?
Oregatari’s reception has been fantastic. Besides winning the Best Shoujo Manga at the 37th Kodansha Manga Awards, it was also nominated for the 6th Manga Taishou. The 5th volume was the 53rd best-selling manga volume of the first half of 2014. It was also nominated for the 18th Annual Tezuma Osamu Cultural Prize “Reader Award”. For the full list of its popularity, see Wikipedia.
WARNING: Nothing besides tooth-aching-cheesiness and innocence. From where I’ve read until, it’s not heavy, nor angsty. All fluff, funny and exasperating innocence.
The first time I randomly picked up this manga was just because I saw the image of the big guy on the cover. If you’re not already intrigued by the rare choice of main character for this Shoujo story, maybe Shoujo isn’t the genre for you, I guess.
The whole novelty of the series is in the fact that it revolves around the hot-blooded-manly-gorilla-like Takeo and his springtime of youth. I’ve never actually come across a Shoujo manga with a protagonist like that. Add in the fact that the manly protag has a cool, good-looking best friend as a side character, a relatively typical/normal romantic interest, with the story still involving cheesy, innocent, high-school-romance? I’m sold.
Going off on a little tangent here, but I told my littlest sister about this story. She thought it was really cute and said it reminded her of Beauty and the Beast, then proceeded to start reading the series. The thing is, she doesn’t read manga. At all. I was really surprised she decided to read it. This is probably the first and maybe the last one she’ll ever read just because Oregatari is that unusual.
Besides the breath of fresh air regarding the choice of characters, I also really like how Oregatari expands not just on the romance between the main couple, but also on the friendship bromance between Takeo and Sunakawa. I totally agree with Raylight on this. It’s great that other feelings are explored besides the romantic, couples ones.
Ore Monogatari!! vols 2 and 3 front cover
[Little spoiler alert in this paragraph] Other than the unusual story plot and certain developments though, the series gets repetitive really fast. Chapters start getting episodic after a certain period and might not be able to hold interest for long; They get together fast and stay innocent+cheesy. It’s all still really funny though.
As is depicted pretty accurately from the volume covers of 2 and 3 above, Aruko’s art style for Oregatari is really flexible and can fluctuate from one extremity to the other. With a character like Takeo to
abuse utilise as a source of comedy, the comical transitions of art styles between Takeo’s facial expressions are too amusing. Screentones are soft with a lack of contrast and backgrounds aren’t usually drawn or detailed. It’s all pretty clean.
I’d be lying if I said it the story wasn’t getting boring considering how fast everything came together. But with its unusual plot and characters, I’m still interested in how it continues. Hopefully the story after vol 3 pick ups interest again.