I”s

    (Viz, 2005-2007)
™ and ©1997Masakazu Katsura
Read right to left; black and white series.

Ichitake, a ordinary Japanese 16–year–old, has a crush on Ishizuki, the prettiest girl in school. But when photos of her in a swimsuit surface in a magazine, she’s made the object of entirely too much male attention and Ichitaka becomes too intimidated to approach her. And when he’s about to make his move, who should move into his house but Itsuki? She’s a childhood friend who’s become a spectacular babe.

“Who Will He Choose?” is supposedly the fulcrum of this beautifully drawn teen romance, but it’s more interesting as a character study of people incapable of expressing themselves emotionally. These people include the lead, whose super-heated hormones and pornographic fantasies keep getting in the way of the love he so desperately needs. There’s also the same depressing manga declaration that any interest in the opposite sex is somehow “perverted” when so much genuinely depraved behavior is displayed. For example, an upper–class student’s attempt to video–tape Ishizuki changing clothes nearly escalates into sexual assault. Ultimately, it’s too strange and sad to be satisfying.

— S.A. Bennett

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#1

  4/1/2005
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