DearS (Volume 1) Manga | My Reviews 30 JUN 2009

DearS Volume 1A Close Encounter of the Oh-So-Fine Kind.

The DearS have crash-landed on Earth and are now working with humans to become part of society – by going to high school! Lucky for the loveless, lonely Takeya, he stumbles upon an alien honey who is in desperate need of an education. Lucky for her, Takeya’s neighbour is there to keep the young man’s libido in check!

DearS tells the story of the DearS, an alien race that crash-landed their ship here on Earth about a here ago. Gifted linguists and apparent lovers of peace, the DearS were quick to befriend the human nations and as such were allowed to co-exist with the Japanese race over in Japan. Eager to blend in with society, the DearS have launched a number of programs to facilitate integration, one of these being the ‘home-stay’ project for surrounding high schools.

Takeya Ikuhara is a 17-year-old, live-alone student who is rigid in his ways and harbours a distinct dislike for these alien newcomers. However a chance encounter with one such alien, which happens to be completely unlike the rest that present themselves to our world, means that he now gets saddled with a troublesome, naive girl that he can only call Ren because quite frankly her full name is literally impossible to pronounce! Thus begins the arduous task of educating this girl and getting her to blend in with society more quietly, a task that Takeya is not particularly keen on picking up on – especially if she’s going to keep calling him ‘Master’!

Peach-Pit is a female manga artist duo in Japan, made up of Banri Sendo and Shibuko Ebara, with the pair taking the name directly from the hit 90’s show, Beverly Hills 90210 (it was the name of the hangout diner in case you’re wondering). DearS was their first recognised work as a manga duo, but they have since followed it up with the popular Rozen Maiden, Zombie-Loan and Shugo Chara! works.

Admittedly, the story for DearS is about as generic as they come. Wannabe bad-ass boy with no manners runs into naive, silly little girl who thanks to a misunderstanding ends up living with him and who he then needs to educate about the world but at the same time avoid his raging hormones and endure all the silly little messes that this unwelcome, and unexplained newcomer creates. Unfortunately, even with the whole alien slant, DearS doesn’t quite manage to rise up above this rather bland level of story that we’ve all heard before and this turns out to be quite a pity because the potential for a nice, fun, romantic story is buried down there – it just struggles to shine amongst so much other generic material that we’ve literally all seen before in some form or another!

The writing on DearS isn’t all that bad and yes, there are a few moments where you will definitely chuckle and some definite questions and mysteries are raised to pique your interest in perhaps purchasing the second volume just a tad, but it certainly isn’t strong or compelling enough to excite you as you read from start to finish.

On the other front, the art for DearS is very much all over the place, with lots of flitting between standard and super-deformed caricatures (which certainly does aid the silliness and humour in places), but unfortunately it is the standard imagery that proves to be a bit weak as quite often the character poses and perspectives don’t quite work out as one suspect the artists may have hoped for. Of course there is the penchant for drawing good-looking girls with lots of leg showing to take into account, but this is diminished when quite often the panel as a whole just doesn’t look right to the eye thanks to some or other slightly misshapen or undeveloped limb. It certainly isn’t horrendous artwork but it most definitely isn’t particularly pleasing artwork either!

In summary, DearS certainly will appeal to some segments of the market but I’m not entirely sure which ones those might actually be. It is a romantic comedy in nature, it does contain a little mystery and it is certainly fun in places (thanks to the very deprived homeroom teacher). If you can stomach reading a storyline that you’ve most certainly seen and witnessed before, then sure, go for it, but otherwise you certainly won’t be missing out on much if you choose to give it a good old skip.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.