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Mucha Kucha Daisuki
Synopsis | Review

If the movie "A Walk to Remember" is a manga, it will be Mucha Kucha Daisuki... okay, if Jamie Sullivan's a clueless country girl with a jealous childhood friend and Aoi sings gospel music. But for the most part, these two stories are quite similar. Gorgeous, sophisticated guy meets gauche, simple girl. They fall in love and guy will do anything for girl. Guy's pretty and equally sophisticated ex-girlfriend wants him back. True love between guy and girl prevails. Girl falls sick. Guy and girl want to get married *sniff* I never really expected this manga to end the way it did.

Mucha Kucha Daisuki translates to "Love You Like Crazy" and is by Shimaki Ako. It's four volumes long and has lots of side stories. I typically don't like side stories because it feels like all the space could've been used to better develop the focal storyline. Mucha Kucha Daisuki's side stories, however, are pretty good and are actually enjoyable to read. Shimaki-sensei evidently knows how to make shoujo manga fans happy :D

Synopsis
When Katagiri Aoi's father got transferred to Tokyo, she wasn't exactly thrilled. While she was telling her childhood friend, Heita, about how the city and its people intimidated her, he mentioned that one of their neighbors has guests from Tokyo. It's a couple and their son, who reportedly has an aura of an ogre about him. Aoi decides she doesn't want to run into any Tokyo people (maybe she wanted to enjoy the purity of life in the country as long as she could) and headed home. Naturally, she ran into Sugita Tsuyoshi, the "Tokyo Boy," along the way.

One thing led to another, and before Aoi knew it, she fell flat on her face and Tsuyoshi carried her home on his back. And before parting ways, he managed to steal a kiss from her. Naturally, it's Aoi's first kiss but Tsuyoshi's unaware of that @_@

Fast-forward to school. Tsuyoshi decided that he'll turn over a new leaf and go after simple, pure, country-type girls. His friend was berating him for not getting her phone number when the teacher called the class' attention and introduced a new student, who happens to be Aoi. Quite cluelessly, Aoi wore braids, a long skirt, and frumpy socks, which all screamed that she's a country girl. She brightened when she saw Tsuyoshi, but he was so taken aback that when other people are around, he refused to acknowledge he knew her. Well, until she started lifting her skirt and checking out her reflection in a store window. Then he had to rescue her from embarrassing herself :D

Aoi immediately got the hint and the following day, she wore her hair down, shortened her skirt, and wore the socks that everybody else wears :P Pretty soon, she's a hit among guys. This raised Tsuyoshi's blood pressure and led him to rescue her from the fawning admirers. Before he knew it, he was telling her that they'll be going home together from then on.

Shortly after, Tsuyoshi and Aoi's trials as a couple began (even though they weren't officially a couple yet when they started having all these drama). Tsuyoshi becomes intensely insecure that Aoi doesn't like him as much as he likes her. His admirers aren't thrilled at the turn of events and took advantage of Aoi's gullibility. Heita moves in with Aoi's family and transfers to their school to keep them apart. Tsuyoshi's ex-girlfriend enters the picture and tries to get him back. Aoi's father disapproves of Tsuyoshi and teams up with Heita. Finally, Tsuyoshi and Aoi face their ultimate trial when she falls seriously ill.

Review
My hallmark for incredible gullibility is when Sailor Moon gave the cup thingy to Mistress Nine. Not anymore. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new winner. Aoi's so gullible that in comparison, Sailor Moon is street-smart about the ways of the world. This doesn't mean, however, that Aoi is a terrible and annoying character. Far from it. Shimaki-sensei made it so that Aoi's gullibility is a cute little quirk that sometimes gets everybody into trouble, but helps the storyline along.

Mucha Kucha Daisuki, surprisingly, has a good story. I really didn't expect to like it so much after checking out the initial pages. It's good even though there are some cliche events, like how Tsuyoshi and Aoi actually met each other when they were kids. There are times when the sequence of events are rearranged and get you disoriented. With this in mind, Mucha Kucha Daisuki just gets better when you read it the second time around. There's a lot of focus on Tsuyoshi and how intense he can be, which diverts readers from thinking about how gullible Aoi is >.< Oh yeah, and this is the first time I ever got annoyed at The Other Guy. You know, the non-leading man who wants to take the leading lady away. I used to thrive on them and am a huge Miki-and-Kei fan when I was watching Marmalade Boy >.< But when reading Mucha Kucha Daisuki, I just wanted to club Heita over the head and wished he would leave Tsuyoshi and Aoi alone >.<

The story definitely has its cute moments, such as when Aoi went to an old shrine and pray out loud while Tsuyoshi was hiding inside. He disguised his voice and pretend to be God, issuing orders to Aoi so she'll go for him instead of Heita >.< Then Tsuyoshi climbs in through Aoi's bedroom window after a God-impersonation telling Aoi to choose the man who does so >.< I especially like how the dialogues would sometimes have deadpan humor, which is not something I see a lot in manga.

The artwork is okay. There's nothing ornate and fancy, and there are definitely some comical sketches for humor. The more you look at Tsuyoshi, the cuter he is. I've read and re-read the manga enough to say that he's a bishounen >.< Heita's not bad either. And Aoi's kawaii, in that gullible sort of way :D

Bottom line: this manga series is worth checking out. Like me, you'll probably be surprised at how much you like it when you reach the last chapter.

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