Title: Short-Tempered Melancholic &Other Stories
Author: Arina Tanemura
May Contain Spoilers
When it comes to Arina Tanemura, I am just not feeling the love. I find her plots extremely insipid, and her artwork is a jumbled clutter of screen tone. Worse, her character designs remind me of locusts, with their impossibly large, unblinking eyes. Even the boys bear this unpleasant curse – they aren’t cute, they are creepy!
The stories all center around the dizzying rush of young love. Here, that means spending about an hour walking about an aquarium with a total stranger before deciding that you’ve met your soul mate. I am just too old and jaded to buy into particular fantasy, and found the chapters rather tedious. The title chapters were probably the best, featuring a female ninja charged with protecting the family’s secret weapon from enemy hands. There were still too many overly enthusiastic declarations of love. I thought that a kunoichi would be a little more reluctant before just throwing caution, and her heart, to the wind.
Kajika is a ninja, and she’s just been warned by her gramps that someone is after the family’s legendary weapon. She confidently laughs off his warning, proclaiming that she can defend herself, and instead heads off to school with childhood friend, Yuga. Yuga is in love with Kajika, but Kajika has fallen for handsome Fujisaki. Fujisaki chides her for not being more ladylike, so Kajika sets out to show him just how ladylike she can be. Bad timing with someone after the secret weapon. Doh!
The rest of the short stories didn’t hold my attention for more than a few pages. A girl switches places with her beautiful friend before meeting her pen pal. For some unknown reason, she had sent him a photo of her friend, claiming it was her, and now she has to keep up the deception. Ugh! Makes her dreams of true love kind of tough. In another chapter, can a forgotten umbrella lead to true love? You bet, because romantic fantasies are the name of the game here. In the final story, a girl is in love with her best friend’s boyfriend, and she can only admire him from afar. When a younger boy starts flirting with her, will she find happiness?
These fluffy, brainless stories of romance are just not my cup of tea. They are not universally appealing, skewing to a much younger audience. The overly cheerful heroines annoyed me, and they are all copies of each other, with nothing unique to set them apart. There is nothing in this bland anthology that stands out, and I found it fairly forgettable. Worse, the bug-eyed heroes gave me nightmares.