Arisa Vol 1 by Natsumi Ando Manga Review

 

Title: Arisa Vol 1

Author: Natsumi Ando

Publisher: Del Rey

ISBN: 9780345522412

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Tsubasa thinks that her pretty and popular twin sister, Arisa, has the perfect life. Everyone at school loves Arisa—unlike the hot-tempered Tsubasa, whose nickname is “the Demon Princess.” But when Arisa attempts suicide, Tsubasa learns that her seemingly perfect sister has been keeping some dark secrets. Now Tsubasa is going undercover at school—disguised as Arisa—in search of the truth. But will Arisa’s secrets shatter Tsubasa’s life, too?

I like Tsubasa.  She’s impulsive and has a temper that has earned her the nickname “Demon Princess.”  She’s tough, and doesn’t hesitate to let people know that she’s pissed.  She gets into fights, has little patience for anyone, and has pretty much scared off anyone who would have been willing to be her friend.  Instead, she is now a loner, and she wishes that she could be more like her gentle, well-liked twin sister, Arisa.

What Tsubasa doesn’t know is that Arisa is desperately unhappy.  The two girls haven’t seen each other in three years, and instead keep in touch through letters after their parents’ divorce.  When they meet again, Arisa convinces Tsubasa to take her place at school. When Tsubasa expresses how jealous she is of her sister because her friends are so nice and her school is so much more enjoyable than her own, Arisa responds by trying to kill herself.  Whoa!  Suddenly Tsubasa is questioning everything about Arisa’s life, and she is determined to discover the reason for her desperate unhappiness.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would.  With the flowery cover, I was expecting a much lighter tale than the one I found.  The danger cranks up as Tsubasa searches for the truth about Arisa and her life.  By taking her place at school, she finds a mystery slowly enveloping her.  The King is a sinister being who exerts a dark control over Arisa’s class.  The King makes things happen, from a student getting good grades to the disappearance of the perverted gym teacher.  If a student questions The King’s method, they are marked as traitors and everyone turns on them, like a pack of rapid dogs.

With expressive art and an intriguing storyline, I’m hyped to read more of the series.  I only hope it doesn’t become a casualty of the Kodansha/Del Rey shakeup.

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher