Title: Ugly Duckling’s Love Revolution Vol 1
Author: Yuuki Fujinari
Publisher: Yen Press
May Contain Spoilers
Everything is pretty average about Hitomi; she’s an average student, has an average brother, average looks …the only thing that makes her stand out is her weight. Weighing in at 220lbs, she’s no elegant swan. But this wasn’t always the case! When she was younger, she would take part in children’s beauty contests and bring home all sorts of prizes. It was only when her sweet tooth took over that she gained all the weight. So when Hitomi moves into her older brother’s apartment, she discovers that his neighbours are the five hottest boys at her school! And when they decide to get Hitomi back to her cute and pretty roots by helping her stay away from sweets and lose weight, it’s a recipe …for disaster!
This random collection of episodic chapters left me perplexed. I’m not sure what to think of it, and I found the presentation bland, uninteresting, and the more I think about it, insulting. The characters are all cookie cutouts, and they are boring, boring, boring. Not one of them has a personality worth remembering. Hitomi, the overweight protagonist, is as sweet as they come, but she is portrayed as an uninteresting blob. While all of the pretty boys are drawn with precise details, Hitomi is a caricature, a round, fluffy, shapeless blob. The other overweight character, Tooru, is also drawn as an unattractive lump.
The more I think about this book, the more annoyed I get. Plot? There isn’t one. Hitomi tiptoes around school, trying her hardest not to offend anybody with her mere presence. She’s friends with all of the pretty boys, but because she is drawn with no appeal what so ever, there’s not even a glimmer of attraction between any of them. It’s like Hitomi is their mascot, like she’s some weird animal that everyone wants to pat on the head.
Somewhere along the way, she starts exercising, by swimming and picking up trash during cleanup duty. She berates herself for craving sweets, and wonders why she is such a bother to everyone around her. Everyone but her brother, that is. He has a sister complex that I think is supposed to add some comedy to the book, but falls flat for me.
I don’t know where the series is going to go, but with the first volume, I am unimpressed with the message that I am getting. Why does Hitomi have to change in order to be attractive to these guys. Some of them are very shallow and aren’t worth her attentions. Why does Hitomi have to be a big, blobby lump? Why can’t she sparkle because of what’s inside, instead of what’s on the outside?
Review copy provided by publisher