TO HEART: Vol. 1

Ukyou Takao, Illustrator . ADV Manga $9.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-4139-0022-4

Like many manga stories, this series involves first loves. Akari has known Hiroyuki all her life. She's doing anything and everything to get him to notice her as more than just a buddy, but that's tough, especially when another, older woman (a senior) decides she's interested in Hiroyuki, too. How can Akari hope to compete with someone when the odds are stacked against her? Rather than letting this cute first-love triangle figure itself out, Takao throws a monkey wrench into things by adding Multi, a teenaged girl who's actually an AI robot, into the mix as a sort of cupid who might help Akari finally win Hiroyuki. The addition of Multi may be in tune with the outrageousness associated with some manga, but here it just seems odd. Multi's appearance derails the simple story, and, oddly, no one bats an eye at an android maid cleaning up, hanging out with the kids and getting involved in their love lives. Takao's art is pleasant enough, and he has a knack for drawing young characters who actually look young. In the end, this work is a fairly pedestrian treatment of a standard manga theme whose attempt at a twist goes nowhere. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 05/24/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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