By Kosuke Fujishima. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialized in the magazine Afternoon. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics.
For all that Fujishima’s Oh My Goddess! was a series with angels, devils, and everything in between (that is when it wasn’t just about vehicles and those who love them), there was an awful lot of what is generally termed ‘slice-of-life’ in the series. And before that we had You’re Under Arrest, which also took a basic premise (female cop buddy movie) and used it as a springboard for everyday amusing situations. As a result, it should not come as a surprise that his new series details the rather everyday, slice-of-life adventures of a girls’ dormitory way up a hill, and the eccentric characters therein. Of course, the problem with this is that the series needs to rise and fall on said eccentric characters, and so far we don’t really get a good handle on any except one or two.
Our two heroines are on the front cover posing for us, and they are very much of the Miyuki and Natsumi school of personalities. Takanashi is brash, sleeps late, loves to eat, is not very good at school but makes up for it with energy and heart. Misawa is her best friend, the straight man of the group who exists mostly to react to Takanashi’s antics and sometimes sigh. The dorm they’re in is old and tends to fall apart easily, but its residents all love it, particularly when defending it against their all-girls’ school’s other dorm, which is modern and state of the art. We get the overly sadistic sempai, the elementary schoolgirl who acts as a dorm mother (she’s the daughter of the REAL, almost never seen, dorm mother), the overseas student, the otaku, the eccentric artist, etcetera.
The volume begins pretty much in media res, showing off the group’s everyday school and dorm life. We see how Takanashi deals with dogs, heat, and typhoons, as well as what appears to be a rivalry with a stuck-up girl from the otehr dorm. After this volume, we get as an extra “Volume 0”, a collection of the initial chapters that ran as one-offs in the spinoff good!Afternoon while Fujishima was still working on Oh My Goddess!. I can see why it was put later, as the characters are not quite in character yet, but it does give a better introduction to everyone than the initial first volume does. There’s also a short story featuring Takanashi’s parents, about the springtime of youth, etc.
This is light and fluffy fun. If there’s a flaw it’s that that’s all it is. There’s not as big a hook to draw people in as there is with Oh My Goddess!, and I doubt we’ll get serious plotlines here. The pacing can be slow, as you’d expect with this genre. And sometimes there’s a gag thrown in that just doesn’t work, such as one girl comedically falling into another girl’s breasts during a blackout, as if Fujishima is reminded that fanservice has moved on since 1985 and tried to imitate it. But if you like Fujishima, and his art is very nice here, this should appeal to you. It’s also over in Japan, so should wrap up pretty soon.