Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Species Domain Volume Two Review

Kazamori and her group of not quite friends struggle to get their club off the ground in a battle with the Equestrian Club with events that have everything from hair wrestling and Arm Wrestling to a Sympathy Contest in the beginning. While the rest of it is odd interactions or "wink and smile" references to Shonen Manga clichés. Still, the heart of the series is Kazamori coming to terms with the fact that she does not have to be special to be liked by others and letting her defenses down among her friends with the last half dedicated to doing something nice for Hanei. I really enjoyed this volume from its little characters moments to Noro's grasp of how to write character interactions such as hyperactive Rika playing off of reserved Kazamori. Rika honestly stole most of the scenes she was in with her loud personality and no sense of tact or personal space making her for me the second coming of Tomo Takino from Azumanga Daioh. While Kazamori's stiff, rigid and overly formal way of acting contrasted with Ohki's clueless and bumbling personality. Made me laugh mostly because you are in Kazamori's head for most of the series unless it changes perspectives and it's all a very awkward series not because it's badly drawn or written Shunsuke Noro has the grasp of the cringey bumbling often times hormone-addled adolescents down cold. Especially when Tanaka loudly declares he likes getting beat up and healed or Dowa having anxiety over crushed rocks. Honestly, this is less monster girl harem series or slice of shenanigans than it feels more like Eiji Nonaka's Cromartie High School with occasional flashes of almost-romance. Making for a monster girl series that feels steeped more in the sometimes mean-spirited and anarchic comedy that Shonen Champion was known for in earlier generations than the cheesecake that Monster Girls as a genre have become notorious for with certain titles. Then there is the hidden gem of the volume the absurd gag manga God & Dog & Yamashita's Species Domain Board a two page gag manga about a girl an anthropomorphic dog and a demonic looking samurai who break the fourth wall try to insinuate them into the main story and overall make for a weird anarchic end to the volume. This continues to be a strange title full of humor that feels painfully real in its awkwardness.

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