Love Attack! Vol. 1 (Tokyopop)

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loveattack-header.jpgThe creator of Girl Got Game offers up a rough-and-tumble high school romance.

 

 

 

 

260 pgs. B&W, $9.99

(W / A: Shizuru Seino)

 

The cover to the first volume of Love Attack! Click for a larger image.Brought to you by the creator of Girl Got Game and Heaven!!, Love Attack! is a charming high school romance reminiscent of Hana Yori Dango (a.k.a Boys Over Flowers)and Hana Kimi. However, unlike most ineffectual, lovelorn schoolgirl characters, its heroine, Chiemi Yusa, is a spunky, punky, fight-starting troublemaker with several suspensions on her permanent record. She's intensely likable from the start, and a refreshing change of pace in a genre clogged with passive female characters.

Facing expulsion for yet another brawl, Chiemi receives a bizarre deal from her teacher—if she can reform the school's other most notorious bully, Akifumi "Deranged Devil" Hirata, her permanent record will officially be cleared. Naturally, Chiemi's attempt to battle Hirata causes him to fall in love with her, and the star-crossed pair begins a courtship that's alternately violent and sweet.

Seino is adept at setting a brisk pace—you won't find a tedious, volumes-long will-they-or-won't-they plot here. Instead, the series' romance is focused on Chiemi's attempts to break through Hirata's tough-guy exterior, peer pressure from her more sexually active classmates, and interfering family members. Chiemi's struggle with these issues is appealing and unique-instead of wallowing in self-doubt, like many shojo heroines, she frequently takes matters into her own hands, making her an ideal foil for the brash, violent Hirata. While cartoonish at times, the art is dynamic and action-packed, particularly during the frequent fight scenes. And the humor, which ranges from disgusting bodily fluid jokes to wacky emotional misunderstandings, is nearly always on point. For fans of romantic comedy, Love Attack! is a promising new series. | J. Bowers

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