Content/Trigger Warnings: Bullying, minor threats/act of violence, minor anger issues, minor manipulation
Tsukushi Makino is from a poor family, but she’s attending an elite school for the super rich. Her life has become intertwined with the ruling boys of the school in a whirlwind of love and confusion. Rich boy Tsukasa returns to Japan after he discovers the true identity of Tsukushi’s “Kinsan.” Tsukushi herself is having trouble accepting his identity. Then Kinsan invites Tsukushi to a swanky party where they bump into Tsukasa, who causes a major scene when Kinsan declares his intentions toward Tsukushi! Still desperate for money, Tsukushi goes to Tsukasa who comes up with a plan that everyone can benefit from. That is, if Tsukushi can win a beauty contest…!
Do you every get those moments of deja vu when you read a book? That somewhere, somehow, you came across something insanely similar to that book. Yeah, that’s the feeling I got when I read this book. It seems so oddly familiar and combines elements that I have recognized from some of my favorite anime and K-Dramas! How does one even begin to process this?!
Well, for starters, this book follows two main characters. We have Tsukushi Makino who come from a family who struggles financially and she has to spend every day working hard to prove she belongs at the elite school she goes to. Then we have Tsukasa who comes from a very rich family so rich that his family is one of the economic power houses of Japan. He’s also taking an intense liking to Tsukushi and will do anything to keep suitors away from her.
In all honesty, I thought I was going to love this volume much more, but there were a lot of things that I disliked and there were plenty of good things to go along with it. I honestly wanted a little bit more romance out of this book and even though we get one really sweet moment near the beginning of the book, it definitely wasn’t enough to make me feel invested in the characters. In fact, I found I was having the complete opposite happen and a lot of the times I had conflicting feelings about the characters and how they were handling situations. I had a strong detachment from them and no matter how badly I wanted to connect with the characters or be invested in them, I couldn’t find a way to overlook a lot of things.
I think the thing I liked the most about this book was the overall family issue. We have this family that isn’t perfect, they’re struggling financially, and then the major event happens then suddenly there’s talk of divorce. I loved how realistic everything felt with the family. Things didn’t feel forced and the way everyone was reacting to things felt like the most natural responses to have in that moment. I just have a deep appreciation for content that shows the flaws in a family and shows very realistic problems that happen all too often in the real world. I loved seeing that and I wish more books talked about them more often!
Speaking of familiar things, this manga has so many vibes of Ouran Highschool Host Club. Now it doesn’t follow it exactly, but there’s moments where I have to pause and double check myself because they will feel so familiar to one another. And then of course, if you’re a fan of the K-Drama, Boys Over Flowers, well that show was based off of this manga and that’s why it feels so oddly, scary familiar. Even though I couldn’t connect with the characters of this manga, finding those familiar bits in this manga from those two elements really hit me with some nostalgia. So if you loved either of those shows/manga then you should definitely consider this manga series. It’ll bring such familiar vibes to you.
Overall, there were things in this book that I disagreed with and not being able to feel connected to the characters didn’t really help. However, just the nostalgic vibes was enough for me to find enjoyment. Plus, there are some moments that are sweet and a little endearing, not all, but some. I think if you’re looking for a manga that will be a fast read and probably bring you some nostalgic vibes from K-Dramas and different anime/manga then you should consider picking this series up. There’s bound to be more chaos in later volumes, but there’s also bound to be more moments of awe in them.