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Review: Suzunari (Vol. 01)

Manga-ka: Shoko Iwami
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: July 2008

Synopsis: “Kaede Takamura’s teenage life swerves to the brink of insanity when she comes face to face with her twin… or does she. Suzu is practically the mirror-image of Kaede–except for having cat ears and a tail and being far more well-endowed than Kaede thinks she ought to be. But the Takamuras have no qualms about bringing this strange, happy-go-lucky catgirl into their home. With Suzu completely ignorant of the ways of modern society, it’s going to be a very long year for poor Kaede.”

Kaede is the only child of a small family, attending school and living a normal life. That is until “little sister” Suzu appears in her bed one morning, staring down at her with adoring eyes and large catlike ears. Their faces and hair are identical so Kaede’s much-too-accepting family assumes the identity of Suzu is Kaede’s younger sister, and then they briskly move on with their lives. They decide to send the strange girl with their daughter to school under the guise of a cat ear hat, and Kaede protests every step of the way.

Kaede and Suzu are like night and day in many aspects. The rambunctious cat girl has no fear and no shame: she’s not afraid to tell you exactly what is on her mind regardless of what (or where) she’s thinking. Somber and level headed, Kaede on the other hand has been having trouble remaining calm in the face of her sisters free frolicking ways. Her natural reaction to embarrassing moments is to freak out, turn red, or just start yelling. Watching the two of them deal with each other on a day-to-day basis is absolutely hilarious! Some of the supporting characters are pretty entertaining as well, my favorite being Natsumi, Kaede’s fortune telling friend who enjoys manipulating people.

The art is very clean and the four-panel strip system is easily followed by anyone who can understand the concept of up and down. What amuses me the most is how much detail the artist, Shoko Iwami, manages to cram into every tiny little square. Along with detailed panels, we get to see full-page layouts every once in a while, but these are mostly only on the first page of a chapter or during Suzu’s dreams about her past.

Don’t be surprised if you get to the end of volume one and have completely forgotten that Suzu appeared from nowhere in the first few pages. Everyone accepts so fully that these two girls are sisters, it’s a real challenge to keep in mind that they’re not. Seriously, the girl has giant cat ears, (though it’s scary how easy it is to dismiss that fact) the odds that there is feline DNA in their gene pool are pretty slim. Take this little mystery and slather on a thick coating of twincest fan service moments, which could make a moe boys nose bleed, and you have the basic plot of Suzunari.

If you like cute this book is full of cute, cute, CUTE! They took a kitten and made it into a preteen girl, and her adorable personality is hard not to fall in love with. Personally, the first few full colour fanlicious pages made me want to close the book and never open it again. But obviously, I did, and in the end I’m going to have to say I’m glad. The underlying reasons for Suzu’s existence are much to intriguing for me to give up.

Review written October 27, 2008 by Marsha Reid
Book provided by Yen Press for review purposes

Marsha Reid

About the Author:

Marsha Reid is a self-proclaimed manhwa nut – "It’s my not so guilty pleasure and my one true love." She has a group called Anime@ Large, which has become much like a full time job to go along with her full time job at a local theater. Marsha likes fluffy animals (even though she's allergic), manga/manhwa, anime, and make Lolita costumes in her spare time.

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