written by Masahiro Itabashi; art by Hiroyuki Tamakoshi
published by Tokyopop; $9.99 US
I am completely astounded that this series has put out at least 20 volumes when all of the stories are the same. Then again, when I realize that the point of every one of those stories is to show cute girls in compromising positions, it’s a little more understandable.
Here’s the formula: shy nerdy guy has a crush on a not-quite-unattainable girl. If they aren’t already classmates, then they have some almost-cool interest in common: they’re both photographers, for instance, or they have new pagers and meet electronically, or they listen to the same radio show. He spends most of the story agonizing over how much he likes her, while they keep being thrown together. Perhaps they have to sit close together to watch birds, or she needs to lean on him while limping.
Eventually, just as he finally begins to say something to her about how he feels, she reveals to him that she wants to be more than just friends. For example, he may say “I want to take your picture”, and she responds by kissing him. Along the way, he gets to see some kind of flash or turnon, often involving a short schoolgirl skirt. In the last story in this book, the most blatant, he manages to con a schoolmate into posing in her bikini for him under the guise of helping her prepare for auditions.
Beyond the visual attraction of the girls, who all look alike except for hair length, this is a boys’ wish fulfillment in other ways. Most significantly, the boys in these stories rarely risk themselves, or when they do, their slight discomfort is repaid tenfold. The girls are the ones who open themselves up emotionally and make the significant moves. All the boys have to do is be in the right place at the right time (which often consists of them simply going about their daily lives), and extraordinarily cute and well-built girls will be theirs.
But mostly, I think the appeal is that it’s all about the fan service! The lead story in Book 3, for instance, is all about how a girl goes swimming but forgets to bring her panties to change into. Instead of putting her swimsuit back on with her clothes over it, she spends the whole story on an impromptu date in a short skirt with no underwear. Talk about male fantasy!