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Goo-oogle!

 

Power!!!
Synopsis | Review

It's very unusual for me to prefer the English title of any anime or manga. I think about how a cute title like "Kimi wa Petto" got turned into "Tramps Like Us" and I shudder.

But I actually like the English title of Power!!! It's "Girl Got Game." As I was looking for images for this manga, I saw that the title "Girl Got Game" is actually fairly common. It's just too cute.

Wait. Isn't Power!!! English already? Why does an English title need another English title? Yeesh. These publishers. Maybe they decided all the exclamation points were unnecessary.

But I digress. Yet again. Girl Got Game was written by Seino Shizuru, and it has 10 volumes. It's released in English by Tokyopop. Yes. Tokyopop is the one who decided to change the English title of this series into another English title. Go figure.

Synopsis
Aizawa Kyo's father loves basketball. Unfortunately, an injury prevented him from becoming a pro, so he decided to live vicariously through his daughter. In fact, he was so vicarious about it that he registered Kyo at Seishu High School, a boarding school that had one of the best guys' basketball team in the country. Kyo was all excited about it, because the girls at that school has adorable uniforms. Then she finds out that her dad registered her as a guy.

Of course, Kyo's dad did it because he wanted her to play basketball with one of the best high school teams in the country, with nary a concern for the fact that his daughter will live in a guys' dorm and worry about how she could shower and take care of her periods and all that fun stuff.

Kyo made a gorgeous guy. Short, sure, but gorgeous. The girls at the school noticed her immediately. And she immediately noticed her gorgeous teammate, Eniwa Chiharu. He's considered the star player of the basketball team, even though he's only a freshman. From the beginning, there was crackling tension between Chiharu and Kyo. They, however, made a great team on the court. Then they found out they're roommates.

As the schoolyear progressed, Chiharu and Kyo saw each other through various obstacles (some of which were caused by each other). Gradually, Chiharu realized he was incredibly attracted to Kyo. Kyo wasn't impervious to Chiharu's charms as well.

It goes without saying that Kyo held her own with the guys' basketball team. Even before she went to Seishu, she was already considered a great basketball player. She was so good that her sempai from middle school, Tsukaya, decided to transfer to Seishu. Tsukaya and Kyo used to play on the girls' basketball team at their old school. Tsukaya expected that they would also play on the girls' basketball team at Seishu. This sempai of Kyo's was responsible for exposing her secret to Chiharu (in the literal sense).

Chiharu and Kyo continue to go through more obstacles (some of which were caused by each other. Still). The story culminates with Kyo's gender being exposed (literally) to the whole basketball team. They were then forced to decide if she should remain at Seishu after all.

Review
This manga started out great. I was really excited at the prospect of reading more about this girl who was forced to masquerade as a guy and is considered a total bishounen. It's very, very Hana Kimi-esque: girl masquerades as a guy and gets an incredibly handsome roommate who is also a fantastic athlete. Both Girl Got Game and Hana Kimi can also exploit the oh-no-she-might-get-discovered escapades and the he-looks-so-much-like-a-girl situations. Actually, there's so much similarity between them, I'm surprised I don't hear them mentioned together too often.

The differences between them is that Girl Got Game is more focused on sports and bears an unsettling resemblance to Good Morning Call. In both series, the guy is very attracted to the girl and gets jealous of any guy who looks her way--but he never admits it and always denies that he doesn't like the girl. I think that's a huge flaw in Good Morning Call (those kinds of heroes are unlikeable for me). Consequently, I think Girl Got Game is also flawed in that respect. Chiharu started out great, but he just got to me after a while. He was just too much of an ass. He continued to turn away Kyo up until the bitter end. I guess Kyo doesn't really help matters either, since she's too lovey-dovey and clingy. Oh well.

Another grievance I have with Girl Got Game is that it fluctuates from being a nice and light shoujo manga to having really heavy and serious stuff to being downright silly and stupid. It's as if Seino-sensei couldn't figure out how to maintain the nice and light balance that she started out with. It was during the silly and stupid phase of the story that Chiharu and Kyo started acting...silly and stupid. Along with a whole bunch of absurd situations that just failed at exuding comical charm.

This is an okay read, but considering this series is 10 volumes long, I recommend you borrow it from somebody first and buy it if you decide you really like the story. You're much better off going with a different, large series or with anthologies. Perhaps the greatest loss in this story is the lack of character development. By the end of the series, the characters were no more difference from what they started out with. It's a pity, really. This series started out with so much promise.

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