Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How do you spell no-longer guilty pleasure? G-o-k-u-j-o-u D-r-o-p-s

I need to start a private list of series that I've started out disliking (sometimes intensely) and wound up enjoying (sometimes immensely)- because it's getting to be a pretty large amount. lol ^^; Hazime Mikuni's Gokujou Drops is one such title.

Gokujou Drops boasts one of the more profound manga romance plots. Maezono Komari is a transfer student who managed to enroll into a Prestigious All-Girls' Boarding School (TM), Ohtori Girl's Academy (spelled with a different kanji character than Utena's Ohtori). Once she arrives, she finds that there aren't any dorm rooms available, although the school can arrange for her to live in an apartment nearby. But wait-! There is an open double room in Dorm 3, known as the "Haraiso Yakata"- a dorm exclusively populated by the most cracked elite students at Ohtori. As long as Komari receives permission from one of the residents to live there, she's home-free. (The reason why she won't accept living in an apartment is that her father stipulated that in order to live away from home, she must live in a dorm.) The occupant of the open double, wealthy school idol/ojousama Himemiya Yukio (who I can definitely see being voiced by Kawasumi Ayako), gives Komari permission to share her room- provided that Komari is willing to become her personal servant. (Cue salacious giggling from the yuri fandom.) You know where this is going. (Lesson of the day: Don't say "I'll do anything!!" to anybody who you really need a favor from.)

The first time I read volume 1, I really didn't care for it. I sternly read it as another manga narrative about a f-cked up relationship glossed over with flowers and screentones and SD-expressions, a la Hot Gimmick. But as soon as I reached the end of volume 2, I thought "What happens next?" (And later, while rereading the series: "Haraiso Yakata is the best dorm ever.") The story in volume 2 has a little more focus than the scattershot approach of volume 1- with Komari meeting Sai-sempai, an eccentric, reclusive computer-otaku who resides in Haraiso Yakata, before she learns from one of the other residents, Erika-sempai, that Yukio is leaving for a visit home to attend an omiai. She visits Yukio's  home, they have their first major misunderstanding, and they kiss and make out up and go on their first date to cement their relationship by the end of volume 2. (And the "omiai" was one big practical joke played by Erika-sempai on Komari.) Future chapters will probably deal with Yukio's dysfunctional family (all cool, dark-haired manga and anime ojousamas seem to have that sort of background ^^;) and Komari's vague memory of a mysterious girl who she loved in her childhood. (Who doesn't want to bet that it's Yukio?) Plus, it looks like computer-otaku Sai-sempai has a newfound interest in Komari.

This manga is pure silly/stupid romance novel fodder...but taken for what it is, it's pretty enjoyable. ^^ It doesn't take itself too seriously, and by the end of volume 2, I was really rooting for Komari and Yukio's relationship. (Aided by the fact that Komari grew more of a spine- and proved to be refreshingly sraightforward- and Yukio softened up.)

Update on 12/07/2012: Yes, this is a scanlated page I used to illustrate a moment I liked when I first posted this review. This series has been licensed in English by JManga and ALC, so you should really buy it if you enjoyed the scanlation.

The art isn't bad, but not remarkable either. It works for the story. I still consider volume 1 pretty banal, even for what it is (every girl in Ohtori seems to have a thing for Komari or Yukio), but the only part in it that I really dislike is Mayaa and Miya's kitchen scene. -_-;

Otherwise, Gokujou Drops is recommended for mindless, silly yuri romance.

Story: Volume 1 gets a C-, volume 2 gets a B-
Art: C+
Overall: C- for volume 1, B- for volume 2 (and B for the final chapter of volume 2)


Yi said...

I personally really loved the art and the story for this manga. I thought the characters look so cute. Anyway, it doesn't have much substance, but it really is a guilty pleasure.

Snark said...

I doubt that Gokujou will be able to steal the guilty pleasure crown away from Creo the Crimson Crises, but it might be entertaining enough to provide a fun distraction.

Katherine said...

@ Yi- Nothing wrong with that. This series really turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable- guilty pleasure or not. ^^

@ Snark- A most astute observation. GD is less...politically correct than Creo in many ways, but I still feel less guilty about saying that I enjoy it, somehow. ^^;