Title: Welcome to Wakaba-soh Vol 1
Author: Chaco Abeno
Publisher: Yen Press
May Contain Spoilers
Kentarou Sawai falls in love with Karen Toguin, and in a desperate effort to get closer to her, he enrolls in her high school. When he arrives on campus, he is heartbroken to learn that she’s on a leave of absence. To prove that he doesn’t get any breaks, his luck takes another turn for the awful – the girls in his dorm are slobs, and they bully him mercilessly. What’s a poor guy to do when life and love aren’t smooth sailing?
I thought this was a very lack luster comedy with over-used jokes and plot points. The pacing was also very uneven, and at times the action was difficult to follow. It did improve as the story progressed, and the last half of the book was better than beginning. Maybe Chaco Abeno was getting more comfortable with the characters and was better able to maneuver them through the ludicrous situations filling the pages.
While Sawai discovers that Toguin has taken a leave of absence, all is not hopeless. Through a roundabout wave of misadventures, he learns that she will be the caretaker of the rickety old dorm house where he’s living. Never mind that her family owns a huge conglomeration and are richer than god, she’s stopped going to school so she can take care of the misfits at Wakaba-soh. They include the class president, a manga fan, and a girl who is skilled at kendo. So now Sawai is all setup with his own little harem, but to make his life miserable, the girls don’t act very ladylike and they cause him nothing but grief. Throw in his lecherous uncle, the art teacher, and he’s in for a bumpy ride to graduation.
Toguin is the perfect girl – ultra polite and concerned about everyone. She’s also the perfect maid, and, oh, yeah, she’s even a fantastic cook. Never mind that she is boring and has no personality. Do girls like this really appeal to guys? I thought the three slobs were far more likeable, and they were certainly more entertaining than the too perfect Karen. The story didn’t hold my interest, and the humor didn’t work for me, either. Despite the adorable cover, Welcome to Wakaba-sho delivered a humdrum read.
Review copy provided by Yen Press