Arakure (Shoujo) by Fujiwara Kiyo – Rating 7/10
Synopsis: Arakure (Wild Ones) tells us the story of Wakamura Sachie, a young 15 year old girl who has just lost her mother and is consequently an orphan as her father died quite some time ago. Sachie is left without house or home, leaving her no time to be sad. Rather she is in a very desperate situation, not knowing what to do. Just then, an elderly gentleman approaches her and introduces himself very formally (in Edo-style) as Asagi Raizo, her grandfather, the grandfather that her mother had told her was dead. It’s not long before Sachie (who reluctantly followed him to his house as she had no other choice ) realises that that her grandfather is the Boss of the Asagi Clan. Her family is now Yakuza!
Sachie tries to ignore this “family” wanting nothing to do with it or them. Most of them she initially finds scary as hell (tons of tattoos, missing teeth and missing fingers, lots of scars). She does her best to go about her everyday life, especially when at school. But the “family” member, assigned as her personal bodyguard, Igarashi Rakuto (who is also, ironically her school’s Student Body President), makes this exceedingly hard as he clings to her and waits on her hand and foot and is altogether way too touchy-feely and perverted for her liking. He insistently calls her his princess and his most prized treasure (it is explained why he cherishes her to this extent bit by bit in the manga).
However, as time passes, Sachie is forced to recognise the good in this group. Sure, Yakuza they may be, but there is no denying the warmth and laughter that comes from this house, and the brotherly love that blooms in it and often rocks it with laughter (and tons of hilarious fights and incidents). They are not bad people in the least. She finds herself drawn to this warmth and unexpected gentleness, and changes her opinion of all of them. Soon enough, they become her precious family, the precious family that she will allow no one to hurt, and that she will protect single-handedly if she had to.
Things aren’t always that easy however. She has to keep this loving family a secret from her friends and the school. There are several Yakuza involved incidents and misunderstandings. Moreover, to top it all off, Sachie begins to realise a rather troublesome new feeling toward Rakuto (who frustratingly keeps a professional distance and is reluctant to admit his own feelings because she is the “ojou”). Her “normal” life, she has to admit, will never return. Her life will never be the same again!
Will Rakuto admit his feelings or will he let her go? Will her friends and the school find out about the “family business”? Will her special family be cruelly broken up?
Mood/Artwork: Love the artwork of this manga. I really don’t know what it is. It seems shoujo-y but at the same time not really. Definitely not the wide-eyed type of shoujo though (you know what I’m talking about don’t you?). I especially love the way Fujiwara-sensei draws the eyes. They just seem really glass-like and deep and soul searching, if that makes any sense (but maybe it’s just me and my fangirlism. lol) Fuji-sensei pays a great deal of attention to detail, even in the background at times, which is something I love. It really sets the place and time. Even more attention is payed to the characters’ faces and expressions, especially the main characters’, Sachie and Rakuto. Every emotion that they are feeling comes out extremely well, and I really just adore the pain and torment in Rakuto’s face when he is contemplating his (and their) situation…(whoops, did my S streak just come out?). I also adore Sachie’s expressions, especially her “Yakuza”/badass/I’m gonna rip out your guts/”what did you just do asshole?” expression. You’ll know the expression as soon as you see it. It’s soo cool and kickass. She is also really good at drawing yukata and cherryblossoms, which I suppose comes in handy, being it is a Japanese yakuza oriented manga. Really good artist this lady.
This manga is a hilarious RomCom. You’ll definitely get more than a few self-satisfied snickers from this one. The gang members themselves are too adorable and funny. I just want to squeeze them all and make them my family. And Raizo, Sachie’s grandfather, is just a mental case, especially when it comes to Sachie. There is also another two characters are introduced (shan’t give you names, nya) who turn the story into a comedic love triangle…or square? So, it is in general pretty happy-go-lucky, but as we move deeper into the story when the family begins to have problems because of the “business”, and also when Rakuto’s and Sachie’s (sooo cute together) personal torment begins to really get serious, it gets a tad bit darker and sadder. There are also flashbacks to painful/bitter-sweet pasts, so it can definitely be kind of melancholy at times.
Random Rant Time: Love love love love love! I LUFF this so much I don’t even know what to rate it, and I’m almost ready to post -_-. It is amazing how little people actually know about this manga. I think it should be a federal offense. It’s definitely one of my favourites, and trust me when I say I’ve read a LOT of shoujo, from the most popular/known to the most obscure. I reiterate once more when I say that Sachie and Rakuto are adorable together (and should get married and make babies later on). And Rakuto is quite hot as far as 2D boys go, and his little play-boy ways and ero-touch-feely habits around Sachie really crack me up. Too cute (ok, I shall stop squealing now, it’s getting quite uncharacteristic and I’m giving myself hives -_-)
Sachie is my favourite type of Shoujo character, much like Misaki (Kaichou wa Maid-sama!), strong willed, brave, opinionated, very vocal about what she’s thinking/feeling, especially when angry, a very high sense of justice and altogether just badass. Even if she knows she doesn’t stand a chance, and actually has no special fighting skills, she doesn’t relent or stand down. She’s really admirable. The only thing I really don’t like is that she’s been saved like a Disney princess by Rakuto one time too many. I like it when my girls are independent and save themselves.**sigh** I dunno. It just seemed as the “ba-dumping” started, her personality dropped a couple of cool points. But this is a shoujo, so it is a pity we can’t expect much more. It seems as if this always happens. And it is probably one of the reasons why I was originally going to rate this either a 7 or a 7.5 (the other reasons being a certain lack of epicness and other elements, but hey, this isn’t a battle manga or the like so I can’t really judge it on epicness now can I?) I dunno though, maybe it’s still a bit too high of a rating? **sigh again** But yeah, back to the topic at hand…
Ok…one last time…look at this picture below….
Ok. End of Rant Time before I get carried away. READ THE MANGA!! (and them come back later and thank me, because, if you are a shoujo fan like I am, you will LUFF it like I do).
See yaa on the flip side and stay tuned for my next random Shoujo Review!
Status: Completed (10 volumes, 56 chapters)
Age Rating: 13+
If you like the manga, buy a copy or two. Show some love to the mangaka.
DISCLAIMER: Super Manga Fighters GO! owns nothing her. Characters and also Images (which are actually from the cover of Vol. 1 and 2) © Fujiwara Kiyo. Image #1 Source: Reimu. Image #2 Source: Major Arcana