Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pink Innocent Volume 2

By Kotori Momoyuki. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialized in the magazine Nakayoshi. Released in North America by Del Rey.

Loyal readers may recall my twisted love of the first volume of this series, which featured a heroine so gloriously over-the-top annoying that I felt it might almost be parody. Volume 1 of the manga stunned me in its sheer brazen appallingness in regards to its heroine, and I hoped that the pace could keep up.

Sadly, it was not to be. Yes, Kokona is still very annoying, and many computers are still broken in her desperate quest to be loved, but now that she and Renji are a couple, the story turns to far more ordinary devices. The first chapter sees her trying to help her friend Aery with her own love life. I'd wished in Vol. 1 to see more of Aery's plot, but unfortunately, it's the standard shoujo "I wanted you to be jealous, why weren't you?" plot, so no surprises there.

After this, Kokona gets obsessed with first kisses, and like most shoujo heroines, turns to incredibly bad advice from love magazines. This goes about as well as you can expect, especially as Renji is clearly pictured as a painfully shy repressed guy, who is unlikely to dole out first kisses for just anything. The "Kokona is sick" ending also felt very forced.

The last two chapters were the best, both in terms of Konoka being ludicrously over the top and in terms of being the most genuinely interesting. For one, they remind you of how rich she is, something that had been played down in the earlier part of the book. She invites Renji to a hanami party that turns out to take place on a cruise ship owned by her parents, who are the usual lovey-dovey couple who adore their daughter but have little time to devote to her. We also get the traditional rival, who would be interesting if we remotely believed him as a threat, which we don't. On the other hand, Kokona and Renji's fight was pretty well done, with Kokona noting she loves Renji even when she's angry with him, and Renji wondering if she thinks "I love you" can solve any problem.

This ends with the best part of the book, as it was also the most inane. Kokona decides to announce that she's going to study abroad and stay with her parents, in an effort to get Renji to say something. He's certainly affected by it, but not in enough time to do anything - Kokona's parents SPLIT THE BOAT IN TWO and take her off with them while the rest of the boat (with Renji) goes back to port. Kokona, realizing that she needs to get back to Renji, makes a 50-foot dive off the boat onto a small speedboat, drives after Renji, then crashes into a rock and has to be saved. If only the rest of the manga were like this.

(Also, I note that Kokona's father is drawn so femininely, with a ludicrous fake mustache, that I have to wonder if they're a lesbian couple keeping up the charade for an adopted Kokona).

Pink Innocent Volume 2 definitely improved on Volume 1, and Kokona goes from being the worst heroine ever to merely annoying. Sadly, that gets rid of the one reason to read the series. With this, Pink Innocent becomes merely average shoujo - and as such, there are better series to give your time to.

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