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Atashi wa Bambi
Synopsis | Review

I never really thought I'll be reading a manga series with "Bambi" in it, but here I am with Atashi wa Bambi. It is a three-volume series by Maki Youko with plenty of adorable characters. More importantly, it has a number of bishounen :D

This is my first enounter with Youko's work. She's well-known for Aishiteruze Baby, a romantic shoujo manga which became an anime series. Anyway, it looks like Atashi wa Bambi itself is a staple romantic shoujo manga, and that's why I ended up getting my grimy paws on it ^_^

Atashi wa Bambi has a fairly weird storyline. Okay, it's not that weird. It's just unexpected. It's not a typical girl-gets-boy or boy-gets-girl story. You know those series where the bishounen hero's ex-girlfriend shows up to take him back? How about those series where the hero's guy friends help him go after the girl that he's destined to be with (Hana Yori Dango!)? Atashi wa Bambi has these manga storyline staples but puts a different twist to them.

Yoshimura Mai started high school with a mission: she wants a boyfriend (whee, yet another one of those heroines who are set on making a difference in the world...). In middle school, classmates teased her for being frumpy, so Mai gave herself a makeover before moving on to higher education ^_~

Opportunity presents itself when a guy bumps into her on the first day of school. Mai initially thought he was cool. Then she decided, as they had class together and she found out his name is Ishigaki Sen, that he's a colossal jerk and isn't worth her time.

Later that day, opportunity presented itself to Mai once more by having another guy hit her (literally). A basketball hit Mai on the head just as she's heading home with her friend, Tomo. Just as this guy was apologizing to her, Sen appears. Mai finds out that this guy, Azuma Yaezou, is Sen's best friend.

None of these events really had much use for Mai, since she decided that Sen's a jerk and she's not impressed with Yaezou either. But one day, Tomo invited Mai to get together with their middle school friends. She brushes Tomo off and walks home by herself only to run into a bunch of their old classmates. It wasn't long before they were making catty remarks about how she used to look like. Mai started having horrible flashbacks of how her old crush said he didn't want to have anything to do with her. At that moment, she bumped into Sen. She instinctively grabbed onto him and introduced him to her old classmates as her boyfriend.

Sen played along and later admonished her for possibly hurting Tomo's feelings. The whole thing made Mai revert back to her original decision that Sen's cool ^_~ It wasn't long before Yaezou noticed she has a crush on Sen. He stuns her by informing her that Sen's his. Huh? Yep, it looks like Yaezou's gay and Sen's not aware of it :P Pretty soon, Mai found herself in a tug-of-war with Yaezou for Sen's affections.

Just when Mai's getting ahead of the game (she and Sen started dating), Sen's ex-girlfriend, Minami, shows up. Pretty soon, it stopped being Mai vs. Yaezou and became Mai vs. Minami. Somewhere along the way, Yaezou ended up approving Mai's relationship with Sen and has become somewhat protective of them. However, Mai realizes that Minami's not a terrible person and that Sen's still hung up on her. With great reluctance and with Yaezou's support, she broke up with Sen and encouraged him to go after Minami. And then before Mai knew it, she's getting drawn towards Yaezou. Whee.

This is probably what Fushigi Yuugi would look like if Miaka falls for Nuriko. Just kidding. It's definitely different from a lot of manga out there.

Atashi wa Bambi is definitely a love story. You know, one of those series where the main storyline is the romance between the characters and there's virtually nothing else. Relationships between Mai, Sen, Yaezou, and Minami are well-developed, and the whole thing about Mai's makeover just faded into the background as the story progressed. The reader can clearly see how Mai and Yaezou grow closer to each other over time.

I think it's the Love Story and Nothing Else element that kind of made Atashi wa Bambi a lukewarm manga for me (I think the title doesn't help much either). The events and the dialogues don't seem very profound. Alright, if I want profound, I could just pick up a monstrous textbook on some boring course instead of reading manga. But really, Atashi wa Bambi didn't seem like a huge page-turner. Even though the ending made me go "Awww, that's so cute," I wasn't exactly ripping throuhg the pages to get there. I wasn't even going like, "Aaargh! I can't stand the suspense! Will Mai end up with him?" My general sentiment as I read the manga was "Hmm. Okay..."

Atashi wa Bambi's characters also don't seem very profound, which contributes to the overall shallowness of the story. Mai's not very likable to begin with (when she introduced herself to her class, she announced that her main goal is to get a boyfriend). Sure, she's heroic enough to give up Sen and tell him to go to Minami, nothing really stands out about her. It probably would've been more intriguing if the story went into more detail about her past. Sen's cute, but he's one of those unreadable guys that it's hard to feel anything for him. Minami's no price either. The whole reason why she initially broke up with Sen was pathetic to begin with (I think Mai should have duked it out with Minami). Yaezou's probably the most intriguing character here ^_~

If you're looking for an entertaining story, Atashi wa Bambi probably won't fill you up. This is something you should read if you're in the mood for any love story or if you're out of manga to read :D It doesn't have laugh-out-loud moments or events that will make you sit at the edge of your seat in suspense ^_^;;

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