Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Manga Review: Gals!



Gals

by Mihona Fujii
Release date: 1st April, 2005
Publisher US: CMX Manga
Tomes: 10

Introduction from Goodreads:

One of the top girls in Shibuya, Tokyo, is 16-year-old Kotobuki Ran. Burdened by a family full of police officers who pressure her to follow in their footsteps, Ran has turned to the kogal lifestyle out of rebellion, vowing to stay tanned and bleached until her parents get off her case.

Stubborn, sassy, and sometimes savage, Ran has already made a rep for herself as the "bull in Shibuya's china shop." In fact, the only thing saving rambunctious Ran from a run-in with the law is her big brother, Officer Kotobuki Yamato, luckily stationed in Shibuya where he can keep a watchful eye on his sister.

But despite herself, Ran has inherited some of her family's sense of justice and civic duty. She gives romantic counsel to a reformed kogal, Miyu, who is smitten with the more mature Officer Yamato. Ran also tries to save fellow classmates from the perils of teenage prostitution, shoplifting and other dangers faced by Gals.

Review By Alaiel Kreuz:

I'm aware this is not a new manga but hey, what can I say? Gals! is one of those mangas that won a place in my heart years ago.
Since it has already been completely published I'm just going to write a review for the whole series.

Ran Kotobuki is a gal. And what is a gal you may ask? Good question! Well, you see, if by any chance you go to Japan and visit the popular place known as Shibuya you will find yourself surrounded (mark my words: SURROUNDED) but tons of girls dressed in the height of fashion in Japan. And they know it.
But don't fool yourself, these girls are tough. And they are diverse: from the ones that only use sport clothes to the ones that wear everything posh and chic. You can find them with their skin as white as a porcelain or so tanned that you will wonder if they went recently to the Sahara's desert.

But in general gals have a bad reputation: most of them are known for exchanging their bodies for money and clothes (so they can keep up their gals status). Also they are kind of dangerous, specially if you mess with their territory and friends. A good gal knows how to fight, remember that.

And maybe this is one of Ran's worst problems because yes, she is a gal -and very proud of it- BUT she doesn't sell her body, she doesn't do drugs and doesn't fight... Scratch that, she does fight, a lot. But only for good reasons.

Ran is loyal, strong and never backs away from a challenge or leaves a friend in the stakes. She is also full of charisma, confidence and pride. But at the same time is shy and very clueless in love.

Her best friends are Miyu (sport gal) who has a relationship with Ran's brother, Yamato; and Aya (elegant gal) who is top of her class and has a crush with Rei.

Rei (AKA #1) and Yuya (AKA #2) were featured in a magazine as the hottest guys in the area. Somehow they end up being friends with Ran & Co. and the whole gang begin a live of adventures that has Shibuya as the main background.

Personal opinion:
If you like fun reads full of meaning, purpose and lessons this is certainly your manga. I loved every tome of this series, they made me burst of laughter and cry like an idiot with every single page.

You will laugh when Ran throws her high-heeled boots to some idiot that tries to touch her, you will cheer for Miyu and Yamato's relationship. You will want to fight alongside them to defend some girl from her problems.

And this is the main reason of why I love Gals!: Mihona Fujii does an amazing job portraying the difficult situations a teenage girl goes through: drugs, prostitution, abuse, bullying... But she portraits it with humor and makes sure that by the end of the chapter your heart if full of hope.
Of course I can't forget the fact that Gals! is a fun read, you will smile when Ran is crying for not having a cent to buy clothes and when the whole gang goes to a waterpark you will want to call your friends and go too. In Valentine's Day I'm sure you will remember them also.

The drawing is simple but neat and it evolves in every tome. And one thing I liked the most is that the character' expressions are reaaaally good. Hilarious to say the least.

Alaiel's Rating:

If you really like it, you can find it here: