Manga Planet Announces New Manga Additions to Its Library

The Manga Planet team is happy to announce that the following titles from SHONENGAHOSHA Co., Ltd. will be added to the Manga Planet Library in May 2020:

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior by Ruri Miyahara
Release Date: May 19, 2020

Thanks to his parents’ job transfer, Usa has to live on his own. The problem is, his new place is full of weird people, and the upperclassman he admires is one of them…? A teenage romance comedy that’s heavier on the humor, not so much on the romance!

SoreMachi: And Yet the Town Moves by Masakazu Ishiguro
Release Date: May 20, 2020

There is a small maid cafe that nearly nobody goes to – Maid Cafe Seaside, quiet enough for Sanada to do his homework in. His airheaded classmate Arashiyama works as the cafe’s only maid, even though she sure doesn’t act like one. What happens when her friends stop by for a visit?

Spirit Circle by Satoshi Mizukami
Release Date: May 18, 2020

Fuuta Okeya’s dad said second-year middle school students are unstoppable, and he’s inclined to agree. He’s determined to make the most out of his ordinary student life, but everything changes when the mysterious Kouko Ishigami transfers into his class. Not just because Fuuta thinks she’s pretty and likes her – but because she thinks Fuuta is her rival from a past life!

Sun-Ken Rock by Boichi
Release Date: May 21, 2020

Delinquent Ken goes to Korea to follow the girl he loves, but somehow, he gets caught up in Korea’s local gang business instead!? And what do you mean he’s the gang’s boss now?

* English titles and release schedules are subject to change without prior notice.

The first chapters of these SHONENGAHOSHA titles will be available for free in the Manga Planet Library. Subscribers to the Library get to read the succeeding chapters in addition to manga titles from LEED Publishing Co., Ltd., San-Ei Corporation, and by mangaka Masaya Hokazono. Manga titles from WANIBOOKS Co., Ltd. are also slated for release in June 2020.

2014 In Review: Spring 2014 Season

Yesterday, I took a look back at the shows I was watching during the Winter 2014 anime season. Today’s post is taking a look back at the anime series I started watching during the Spring 2014 season.

The World Is Still Beautiful: After watching the first episode of the series, I thought that it showed a lot of promise. Not only did the story grab my interest, but so did the look of the animation. The series also managed to find and keep the right combination of drama and humor to tell its story. It became a series I looked forward to watching week after week. Overall, The World is Still Beautiful is a sweet series. The only real issue I had is when it was glossed over in the episodes that introduced Bard that Nike had been ordered to go to the dungeon, but for whatever reason, she never went. Livius’ temper was definitely out of control, and that was definitely not one of the sweeter moments of the series. I really enjoyed Nike as a character, and Livius’ evolution as a character was pretty decent. With the way the series ended, I suspect there isn’t going to be another season; however, if there turns out to ever be a second season of The World is Still Beautiful, I’d definitely watch it.

One Week Friends: After watching the first episode, I thought that One Week Friends was a sweet series. As the series continued, it remained a sweet series; however, the sweetness never got to the point of being so sickly sweet that it was saccharine. It’s a light-hearted show, but it’s not so light-hearted that it’s simply a barrage of jokes. Throughout the series, there was a good mix of humor and drama. The characters are accessible to the audience; as you meet each character, you’re able to get a good sense of who they are through their interactions with each other. The characters I came to care about the most were Kaori and Yuki, and I came to care about them at the end of the first episode. However, I also came to like Shogo and Saki later on. At the end of the first episode, I was worried that the concept would hold up for the series’ 12 episode run. But I’m happy to say that the series succeeded in maintaining its concept throughout all of the episodes and succeeded in keeping the concept, story, and characters interesting the entire time. I also thought that the series was brought to a realistic end. And since there are still loose ends in regards to the potential relationships, there’s fodder for fanfic writers to work with to write their own continuation of the series. While One Week Friends is a good series, I’m really not sure there’s a chance for more episodes; at least, I don’t think there’s enough material to go for another 12 episode series. There might be enough to maybe squeeze an OVA episode or two out, but that’s about it. However, I have a feeling that it was intended to end here. I also really liked the animation style that was used in the series. It has a “soft” feel to it, and it almost looks as if it could have been inspired by paintings made with watercolors. This look and feel is perfect for bringing the story of this series to life.

Captain Earth: After watching the first episode, I found myself thinking that the series had potential. Admittedly, that first episode was a little hard to follow and understand at times, but my hope was that once the major exposition was done to establish Daichi and the world that he inhabited, that the series would become easier to follow. At the end of Episode Two, I was still a little confused, but there was enough interesting ideas being presented that made me want to see more of the series. At the end of Episode Three, I was genuinely interested in the characters and what was going on, especially since some of the questions I still had at the end of Episode Two were answered during Episode Three. At the end of Episode Five, though, I found myself feeling a little frustrated at just how slowly the storyline was progressing, as well as the fact as I thought I was starting to understand the story, new concepts were slowly being thrown out that I had to try to fit into my understanding of the series. It also didn’t help at that point in the series, the antagonists still weren’t very clear. It turned out that the first seven episodes were there to establish the premise and the series’ elements, and that Episode Eight truly started to move the story forward. The next six episodes focused on Amarok and Malkin working at awakening the other designer children and getting them to join their cause. Ultimately, the first half of the series had a rather slow start, and I think that the amount of designer children that were introduced helped to bog this section down. Now that I’ve seen the whole series, I can say with certainty that Liban and Bugbear really didn’t need to be there. Liban did nothing during the series after being introduced, and Bugbear only did a couple of things in the long run; the things that Bugbear did could have been done by another one of the Planetary Gears. I liked Bugbear’s backstory, and perhaps Zimbalt could have been given that backstory. Between Zimbalt’s backstory and Bugbear’s backstory, I thought that Bugbear’s was stronger. The second half of the series felt as if a lot of concepts were being thrown out to the audience and that the story was being hurried along in order to reach the series’ final destination. In the end, Captain Earth had an interesting premise that it was presenting, but the overall execution just wasn’t quite as strong as it could have been. While Captain Earth was an overall stronger mecha show than Aldnoah.Zero was, Captain Earth did still have some issues. And I have one question: Who is the girl with the recorder that appears about three times in the series around Daichi? She’s the one who ultimately leads him to the Livlaster in the first place, and then she shows up a couple more times near the end of the series. The audience is never given an explanation for her, so that’s one aspect of the series that I was dissatisfied with. She’s does some important things in the series, but we never get her name or know anything about her. All I can refer to her as is “the Recorder Girl.”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior: After watching the first episode, I thought the show had a good combination of comedy and drama to help drive the characters and their story. I also thought the first episode was charming and fun to watch. I enjoyed watching the series for the most part, although I thought Episode Nine was one the weakest episodes in the series. My favorite part of the series was definitely the story of Kazunari and Ritsu. Some of the ensemble stories about the other characters tended to not do much for me for the most part, and with some episodes I found myself wishing that there was more of a focus on Kazunari and Ritsu. My least favorite character was definitely Sayaka. Not only was she the most annoying, she also came across as a character who didn’t really add much to the series. A lot of the times, she was either just “there” or wasn’t even at the dorm for the entirety of an episode. In a lot of ways, I think this series might have been a little stronger if she wasn’t in it. She was probably intended to be a foil for Mayumi, but I thought Shirosaki did a pretty good job of filling that role for both Mayumi and Kazunari.

Brynhildr in the Darkness: After watching the first episode, I thought the series showed a lot of promise, and at the end of episode two, I thought there was a really good setup for the story. By the end of episode four, after both Kazumi and Kotori were introduced, I found myself wondering if the series was setting up Murakami to have a harem. By the end of the series, I think I could safely say that while Brynhildr in the Darkness wasn’t a true “harem anime,” some of the girls surrounding him did act as if they were part of a harem of girls attracted to the main protagonist. I started to become frustrated with the series around Episode Nine, because I felt like the loose thread of the device was left hanging. Unfortunately, it didn’t come back until Episode 12. With Episode 10, it began feeling like the writing started to become sloppier. At the end of Episode 12, I felt like there had been a major and sudden change to the tone and direction of the story. It also felt unnatural, like they were rushing things in order to fit everything into two episodes. I ended up being disappointed with how the series ended. When I reached the end of Episode 13, I found myself thinking, “I devoted 13 weeks of my life to this show, and this is how it ends?”

Haikyu!!: After watching the first episode of Haikyu!!, I thought that the series seemed to be following many of the tropes associated with sports anime. However, the main character of Shoyo, along with his backstory, was intriguing enough that it didn’t feel like “just another sports anime” by the end of the episode. By the end of Episode Three, I found that Haikyu!! was keeping my interest, even though I’m not a fan of volleyball. At that point, I was already looking forward to seeing what was going to happen in the series as it progressed. The two practice matches that appeared during the series helped me to get a better understanding of how to play volleyball, and the matches themselves were exciting to watch. These matches also helped to set the stage for the Inter-High tournaments. When the series hit the Inter-High tournaments, the story was done in such a way that these matches were even more exciting than the practice matches had been. When Karasuno went up against Date Kogyo, I was very impressed by how well Karasuno was able to hold up against them. But much of the Inter-High focused on the hard-fought match between Karasuno and Aoba Johsai; in fact, it was so hard-fought that it extended into a third set. I had anticipated which team would ultimately win the third set, but I still found myself feeling a little disappointed and off-guard when that team actually won. I knew in my heart of hearts that this is how this would have to play out, but the match had been so intense during the episode that I couldn’t help but find myself rooting for the underdog team. While the underdog team takes the loss hard, I think they also learn a lesson in humility as well. When I first started watching Haikyu!!, I never would have imagined enjoying a sports anime about boys’ volleyball as much as I’ve come to enjoy this series. While Haikyu!! may employ a lot of tropes that are associated with shonen series, the characters are engaging enough and interesting enough that the viewer doesn’t necessarily notice the tropes being used.

Riddle Story of Devil: At the end of the first episode, I wondered if the potential promise I had seen for the series would manifest itself as the series progressed. Sadly, I ended up being rather disappointed in that regard. By the end of Episode Two, I had a major issue with just how many characters were being thrown out there at once and I had a hard time keeping their names straight.  At the end of Episode Four, I found myself feeling a little frustrated because characters were being written out just as the audience was getting to know them. I also realized the weakness of knowing the fact that a student has to fail each time they try to assassinate Haru, because the series would come to an end if they didn’t. By the end of Episode Five, the only thing that was keeping my interest to any degree was discovering who the next person who tries to assassinate Haru is and how they’re going to do it. Admittedly, at that point, if I hadn’t been watching the series to write about it for my blog, I would have dropped it after watching Episode Five. The formula that had been developed started being changed with Episode Six, so the series started becoming a little more interesting again. However, after truths are revealed in Episode 11, things become very confusing and crazy in the final episode. In fact, I found myself spending most of Episode 12 feeling rather confused as I watched it. While Riddle Story of Devil wasn’t my least favorite anime I watched during the Spring 2014, it definitely ran a close second.

Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara: After watching the first episode, I found myself thinking that there was an interesting concept that was drawing me into what I was seeing. I also thought the episode had a good mix of drama and humor. Although I was already sensing from the ending credits that a harem could develop around Sota, I thought that the premise was interesting enough that it could potentially keep the harem elements a little bit more in check. After watching the second episode, I thought there was a major tonal shift, and it appeared that the series would simply end up being a harem comedy with gags that would end up getting old fast. After Episode Two, I felt a little disappointed by the series; however, I decided to stick it out and see if perhaps the series would get better as it went along. After seeing Episode Three, I thought it was rather predictable; this hampered my enjoyment of what I saw. And after such a big deal had been made about the flags in Episode One, it was hardly touched on at all in Episode Two or Three. At that point, I was already feeling that it was my least favorite anime of the Spring 2014 season that I was watching. Sadly, my feelings for this series hardly improved for the remainder of its run. And then, near the end of Episode 11, it’s suddenly revealed that Sota is actually in a virtual world, and in a story that feels like it was inspired rather heavily by The Matrix. At this point, the narrative became a confusing and contradicting mess, and those issues with the narrative continued for the remaining two episodes of the series. It also didn’t help that the ending felt rather vague. The main weakness for this series is that it doesn’t truly understand what kind of tone and feel it was going for. It started out with hints of a harem anime with the potential for an interesting story, then it became primarily a light-hearted harem anime with some elements of a fantasy story thrown in, and then it turned into wanting to be a sci-fi story with a setup like The Matrix and suddenly became much darker and serious in tone. The first shift in tone was kind of noticeable, but it wasn’t jarring. However, the change to the darker sci-fi elements ended up being a very jarring transition, and I don’t believe that it worked well. After finishing Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara, I found myself regretting having ever started it. This would also rank up there as one of the worst anime I watched during 2014.

Ping Pong the Animation: First off, I have to say that I have to give credit to Ping Pong The Animation for not being a “typical sports anime.” Unfortunately, I have to say that the pacing for the series ended up being a bit awkward, especially since the series was trying to condense about one year into the course of 11 episodes. This meant that the first seven episodes tended to feel rushed. Then, starting with Episode Eight, the pace slows down and the series spend its final four episodes focusing on one event; this would be the singles qualifiers that takes place for the series’ climax. But then, during the final episode, there’s a timeskip that takes place from the end of the qualifiers match to several years into the future. Unfortunately, with how rushed those first seven episodes were, this didn’t allow for as much character development as there could have been in order to help the audience care more for the characters. I wish there had been some more episodes for the series in order to give the story and the characters a little more room to “breathe” and to develop even more. Now that I’ve finished watching the series, I find myself wondering why Kazama’s cousin Yuri was ever introduced. Honestly, she didn’t truly add much of anything of any real relevance to the series and was quickly written out in Episode 10. When it came to the animation, I have to admit that I did have some issues with the animation style right at first; however, I became accustomed to it around Episode Three. Once the animation style didn’t distract me, I was able to better focus on the storytelling aspect of the series.

Chaika – The Coffin Princess: After watching the first episode, I have to admit that I was a little annoyed by Chaika’s tendency to speak in one, two, or three words phrases; however, as the series progressed, I just got used to this character quirk. But what I saw in that episode made me interested enough to want to continue watching the series. When Fredrica joined the cast and becomes part of Chaika’s party, I thought it added an interesting layer. At that point, not only were they being pursued by the Gillette Corps, they were now also traveling with a party member who is out to kill one of the other members of the party. Overall, I thought that Fredrica was a good addition to the party and its dynamics, and that she was portrayed realistically. When the Red Chaika was introduced in Episode Five, I thought this added an interesting twist as well; unfortunately, Red Chaika seemed to disappear after two episodes. In Episode Seven, it appeared that Chaika had developed feelings for Toru, which ended up adding another layer to the story since it was obvious that Akari liked him. I was thrilled when I learned that there would be a second season of the series in Fall 2014, and I found myself looking forward to what that second season would bring.

Nanana’s Buried Treasure: After watching the first episode, I thought that the concept of Nanana’s Collection was an intriguing one, and the interactions between Juugo and Nanana also kept me interested in continuing to watch the series. I enjoyed the first three episodes or so, but then things started to get a little confusing. Near the end, it was starting to get interesting with the final confrontation between Hiiyo and the Adventure Club in Episode 10. That episode ended on a cliffhanger, and I expected the final episode to be action-packed and focus on the confrontation. Unfortunately, that confrontation ended up being anticlimactic and boring in Episode 11; this is primarily due to the fact that so much time was spent on characters talking to each other and not having much going on in the way of action. And the very end of the final episode didn’t truly resolve anything, and some footage seen both during the ending credits and right after raised more questions than answers. To me, this was an unsatisfying end to the series, and I started to feel as if I’d wasted my time over the 11 weeks that I watched this show. At the end of the series, I didn’t see the promise that I had seen early on manifest itself like I had hoped. As the series went on, it seemed to lose its focus as various characters and concepts were added to the series. While the characters from Matsuri and their organization seemed to be important early on, those characters and the organization basically disappeared by the end. The last time we saw Yukihime and her partner was a brief shot of them in Episode 11 when they were in the mall at the same time as Juugo. Also, Juugo declares early on in the series that he’ll help Nanana locate her killer. Unfortunately, this part of the story is hardly ever touched on, and is not resolved at the end of the final episode. I wouldn’t say that Nanana’s Buried Treasure was the worst anime series that I watched during the Spring 2014 season, but I also can’t say it’s among the best, either. For me, it was ultimately a series that had a lot of potential that was never realized due to decisions that were made in regards to the storytelling. And I have to say that if it turns out that Nanana’s Buried Treasure ends up getting a second season, I would have no desire to watch it due to the various issues I had with the storytelling of this series.

Crunchyroll Adds Two More Manga Titles

Crunchyroll has announced that the service will be adding two new manga to its site:

  • The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior by Ruri Miyahara
  • The Legend of Onikirimaru by Kei Kusunoki

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior will be available worldwide excluding Algeria, Lebanon, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Morocco, Poland, Switzerland, Japan and South Korea. Crunchyroll will add the current chapter and catalog chapters on Friday at 8:00 p.m. EST. New chapters will be added monthly.

The Legend of Onikirimaru will be available worldwide excluding Japan starting on August 26, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. EST. New chapters will be added on a bi-monthly basis.

Source: ANN

Anime Spotlight: The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior is based on a manga by Ruri Miyahara. The series is produced by Brain’s Base and is directed by Shigeyuki Miwa. The series aired on Japanese television from April 3-June 19, 2014. As of this writing, Crunchyroll holds the North American streaming license for The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior, and Sentai Filmworks holds the North American home video license for the series.

The main character is Kazunari Usa, and he’s a first-year high school student. As he goes into the school library, he thinks about wanting to forget about his middle school years and spend high school in peace and quiet with a decent, intelligent girlfriend. Just then, he sees a girl named Ritsu Kawai sitting and reading a book, and he falls in love at first sight.

That day, Kazunari is moving into a dormitory complex because his parents got a job transfer and he wanted to be able to stay and attend school where he’s at. On his way to the dorm, he comes across a strange-looking guy named Shirosaki looking through a fence at a grade school. The guy knows Kazunari’s name, which takes him aback since he’s never seen this guy before in his life. When a cop comes over after receiving a report, it’s discovered there’s a hole in the fence and the guy says when you see a hole like that, you just have to poke in. After some more questioning, the officer decides to take the guy in for questioning. Kazunari, meanwhile, runs off.

Kazunari arrives at the dorm and meets Sumiko-san, the woman who runs the dorm; she turns out to be a sister of Ritsu’s grandfather. When Kazunari is shown to his room, he learns that he’ll have a roommate… and it’s Shirosaki. Kazunari decides he’s not going to stay there and starts on his way; however, he runs into Ritsu when he opens the main door of the building. When he finds out Ritsu lives in the dorm, he’s not in such a hurry to leave. Also, his mother makes it clear after a phone conversation that he’ll be staying at that dorm.

Another resident at the complex is Mayumi Nishikino, a bad drunk that has bad taste in men. There’s one other resident, Sayaka Watanabe; she’s a college student who’s sweet on the outside but loves to cause trouble for others.

A big focus of the series in on Kazunari and his attempts to try to get close to Ritsu. The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior is an ensemble piece, and there are also occasional stories that focus on the other residents at the dorm.

After watching the first episode, I thought the show had a good combination of comedy and drama to help drive the characters and their story. I also thought the first episode was charming and fun to watch.

I enjoyed watching the series for the most part, although I thought Episode Nine was one the weakest episodes in the series. My favorite part of the series was the story of Kazunari and Ritsu. Some of the ensemble stories about the other characters tended to not do much for me for the most part, and with some episodes I found myself wishing that there was more of a focus on Kazunari and Ritsu.

My least favorite character was Sayaka. Not only was she the most annoying, she also came across as a character who didn’t really add much to the series. A lot of the times, she was either just “there” or wasn’t even at the dorm for the entirety of an episode. In a lot of ways, I think this series might have been a little stronger if she wasn’t in it. She was probably intended to be a foil for Mayumi, but I thought Shirosaki did a pretty good job of filling that role for both Mayumi and Kazunari.

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior was a decent enough series, and I’m glad I was able to watch it for free from a legal streaming site. While it was enjoyable, I’m not sure that it’s a series I’d be in a hurry to re-watch or buy on home video to add it to my anime home video collection. However, if there ever is another season of The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior at some point in the future, I’d be willing to watch it and give it a chance.

Review: The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior: Episode 12 – “I Want to Get Closer”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior focuses on Kazunari Usa, a first-year high school student who moves into a dorm. It turns out that the girl he likes, Ritsu Kawai, also lives there, along with a pervert named Shirosaki, the drunk and lovelorn Mayumi, and the childish and mischievous Sayaka.

Episode 12 sees Ritsu looking very awkward at the mixer. A guy named Mitsui seems interested in her, but then he starts acting like a snob when it comes to who is a “true reader.” Just as things get uncomfortable, Ritsu’s phone rings and she heads toward the bathroom. It’s a message from Kazunari, who is using Mayumi’s phone, telling Ritsu he heard about what’s going on and asking if she’s OK. Ritsu says she’s not OK, but she has to handle this herself. When Maemura finds Ritsu, Ritsu says she has to go.

When Ritsu gets off the bus, Kazunari is there waiting for her to escort her home, since it’s getting dark. Ritsu vents her frustrations about Maemura, and Kazunari tells her that she needs to subtly tell Maemura that enough is enough, and he’s sure that Maemura will understand. However, when Ritsu tries to do this, Maemura doesn’t entirely get it at first. And when Maemura admits to having Ritsu’s picture taken and sent to the guys they met at the mixer, Ritsu becomes upset. Maemura tries to be insistent and to get Ritsu to change, but Ritsu wants no part of that. Later, Ritsu overhears Maemura telling her other friends that she and Ritsu ended up not being on the same wavelength.

We then see Kazunari taking notes and trying to read the book that Ritsu is really into. However, in light of what happened recently, he reads it in his room so she can’t see that he’s reading it. He’s not doing it to make her feel better, and that he’s genuinely interested in trying to learn to enjoy what Ritsu enjoys to try to get closer to her.

Their neighbor gives Sumiko-san some homemade plum wine, which has a rather high alcohol level. The adults are enjoying the wine, while Ritsu and Kazunari have plum juice. Unfortunately, Ritsu gets her drink from the wrong container and becomes rather drunk. She starts telling the others what she thinks of them, and also shares her recent issues with Maemura and the fact that she’s not happy with Kazunari for being so nice to Hayashi after she was so mean to him.

A drunk Ritsu insists on going with Kazunari to his room in order to get some snacks, and Mayumi and Sayaka escort them. The two guys are told to stay out of their room, and Ritsu and Mayumi fall asleep in there. The next morning, Ritsu finds Kazunari’s notes, and the two of them end up bonding over them and the episode ends with the two of them finally exchanging phone numbers and email addresses.

Well, this was the final episode for The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior. As I predicted, Kazunari and Ritsu didn’t become a couple. But, it was a satisfying enough resolution to see the two of them exchanging numbers and email addresses, since this is a sign that they’ve become closer friends.

After watching all 12 episodes, I’m still not convinced that Sayaka was a necessary character. In the long run, she didn’t seem to truly add much to the series, and tended to feel less developed as a character are more like she was just “there” a lot of the time. I think she was intended to be a foil for Mayumi, but I thought Shirosaki did a pretty good job of filling that role for both Mayumi and Kazunari.

While it would be nice to see more episodes and see what happens with Kazunari and Ritsu’s friendship, this type of ensemble series that has a stronger focus on vignettes usually don’t seem to continue after one season. If there’s another season of this series in the future, that would be great; however, I’m really not expecting one. And with the way the series ended, there’s a lot of freedom for fanfic writers to continue the story on their own and come up with their own resolutions for the various characters.

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior was a decent enough series, and I’m glad I was able to watch it for free from a legal streaming site. While it was enjoyable, I’m not sure that it’s a series I’d be in a hurry to re-watch or buy on home video to add it to my anime home video collection. However, if there ever is another season of The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior at some point in the future, I’d be willing to watch it and give it a chance.

Review: The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior: Episode 11 – “Don’t Have Any Friends”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior focuses on Kazunari Usa, a first-year high school student who moves into a dorm. It turns out that the girl he likes, Ritsu Kawai, also lives there, along with a pervert named Shirosaki, the drunk and lovelorn Mayumi, and the childish and mischievous Sayaka.

Episode 11 is split into two vignettes. The first one has a focus on Sayaka, who receives an unexpected visit from Miharu Tsuneda, a friend from junior high school. There’s a high school reunion event in the area, and Miharu wanted to see Sayaka; Miharu got her address from Sayaka’s mom. Miharu ends up forcing Sayaka to let her see and stay at the Kawai Complex. While she’s there, she reveals various embarrassing things about Sayaka from the time they spent together in junior high. Miharu passes out after getting drunk, and Sayaka helps Miharu with her makeup the next day for the reunion event.

Overall, this particular vignette did next to nothing for progressing the overarching story of Kazunari and Ritsu.  I haven’t been much of a fan of Sayaka prior to this episode, and this vignette didn’t really do much to improve my opinion of her. Fans of Sayaka will probably have a greater appreciation for this vignette than I did.

The second vignette focuses on Ritsu, and this one is very important for progressing the overarching story. At the school library, Ritsu is approached by a girl named Maemura who claims she’s also a reader, although she tends to focus on reading romance books. Ritsu and Maemura give each other book recommendations, and they seem to hit it off. Kazunari becomes a little jealous.

However, Maemura begins texting Ritsu constantly, which is keeping her from being able to progress in a book that she’s been enjoying. Later, Maemura invites Ritsu to join her at a gathering of book lovers. At first, Ritsu doesn’t want to do it; however, Maemura convinces her to go. When Ritsu goes, she discovers that Maemura has actually invited her to a mixer; Sayaka sees Ritsu and the other girls talking with some guys by the train station, and she relays this to Kazunari. Kazunari realizes what’s going on and isn’t happy.

From what I saw in the preview for Episode 12, the fact that Ritsu unwittingly went to a mixer and Kazunari’s feelings about this are going to play an important role. The preview also confirms that Episode 12 is the final episode of the series.

But what a way to end the second-to-last episode! At this point, I’m having a hard time seeing Kazunari and Ritsu starting a relationship before the end of the series, especially with this whole mixer fiasco thrown in. One episode won’t be enough to resolve that issue. I can see the two of them ultimately being friends at the conclusion of Episode 12, but nothing more than that. And Kazunari himself admits in his thoughts that since he first met Ritsu, he may be closer physically, but the emotional distance seems to have grown and shrink in turn.

It’ll be interesting to see how The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior will ultimately come to an end.

Review: The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior: Episode 10 – “You Could Just Ignore It”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior focuses on Kazunari Usa, a first-year high school student who moves into a dorm. It turns out that the girl he likes, Ritsu Kawai, also lives there, along with a pervert named Shirosaki, the drunk and lovelorn Mayumi, and the childish and mischievous Sayaka.

In Episode 10, Kazunari arrives for work at the café, and he finds that the owner has bought some bookcases at an antique shop and is filling them with old books; unfortunately, she doesn’t have enough books to fill up the shelves. All of the books she has are old, and she doesn’t want to include newer books because they would look out of place. Kazunari remembers that Ritsu has older books in her bookshelves, and asks if the café can borrow them; Ritsu agrees.

Hayashi, the ghost whisperer girl Kazunari knew from junior high who treated him really badly in Episode Eight, comes to the café to apologize to him; he accepts the apology. Hayashi meets Kazunari’s co-worker who believes in guardian spirits, and Hayashi falls for him. She starts spending more time at the café, and it’s obvious to the audience and most of the cast that Ritsu’s feeling jealous.

Later in the episode, Chinatsu makes a return. She comes to Shirosaki for some help to get her summer project done. Shirosaki, Chinatsu, Ritsu, and Mayumi work together to make shiny mud balls. The conversation turns to love, and Chinatsu tells Ritsu she should date Kazunari because she can tell that he likes her. Ritsu insists that he’s just used to taking care of people who are a little strange. After Chinatsu hears about Hayashi, she deduces that Ritsu is mad at Kazunari for spending time with other girls.

I have to say that while I’m glad to see that Hayashi apologized to Kazunari for her behavior earlier, I think he did seem to forgive her a little too easily. However, he does admit to himself in thought that he’d be lying if he said he didn’t harbor any ill feelings. And as soon as Hayashi started talking to Kazunari’s co-worker, I could tell right away that she would be impressed with his talk of guardian spirits. While she may have changed how she looks on the outside, Hayashi still has an interest in the ghosts and spirits that captivated her back in middle school.

I liked how Chinatsu, the elementary school student, could bluntly tell Ritsu about Kazunari’s feelings. While the adults around her knew what was going on, they would tiptoe around it. Unfortunately, Ritsu didn’t seem to believe Chinatsu, though, and also seems to be trying to deny to herself that she has any romantic interest in Kazunari.

At this point, there’s supposed to be two episodes remaining for The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior, and it’s going to be interesting to see whether Ritsu and Kazunari do end up becoming a couple by the end of the series, or if the conclusion is done in such a way where they may not necessarily become a couple, but they do become rather close friends. While I hope for the actual romantic relationship to blossom, I know that from the way the story has progressed up to this point, that this kind of ending may not happen. I just hope that however the series ends, I’ll be satisfied with the ending.

Review: The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior: Episode 9 – “Forbidden”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior focuses on Kazunari Usa, a first-year high school student who moves into a dorm. It turns out that the girl he likes, Ritsu Kawai, also lives there, along with a pervert named Shirosaki, the drunk and lovelorn Mayumi, and the childish and mischievous Sayaka.

Episode Nine is split into two vignettes. The first vignette focuses on Mayumi being upset and frustrated because one of the older ladies at the office that she works at got a boyfriend, and now everyone feels like they have to tiptoe around her. She’s sitting on Shirosaki’s shoulders and beating up on him in order to be able to look down on the others. Sumiko-san finds a guitar that belongs to Mayumi; after Sayaka says something that upsets Mayumi, she climbs up on the roof with her guitar and begins singing.

For the most part, I was rather annoyed by this vignette, because it focused so much on Mayumi whining and feeling sorry for herself. The only good thing to come out of it was the fact that it caused Kazunari to talk to Ritsu, and the two of them learn what each other’s home life was like before they came to the Kawai Complex.

The second vignette sees Ritsu freaking out one night because a caterpillar falls onto a book that she’s reading. The noise and chaos Ritsu creates wakes everyone up except for Sayaka. It turns out that Sumiko-san is gone, so it’s up to Kazunari, Shirosaki, Ritsu, and Mayumi to try to find the caterpillar and do something about it. The search for the caterpillar is the source of hijinks, and it also ends up serving as another way for Kazunari and Ritsu to get a little closer.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t terribly impressed with the majority of either one of the vignettes, although I have to say that the caterpillar one was a little better than the one that focused on Mayumi. To me, the best part of both vignettes was the fact that at the end of each one, we got to see a little bit of character development for Kazunari and Ritsu.

Overall, though, I have to say that this was probably one the weakest episodes I’ve seen for The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior. I’m hoping that Episode 10 will return to having an overarching story for the episode and that the story is more relevant to the overall series than Episode Nine was.

Review: The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior: Episode 8 – “Happy”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior focuses on Kazunari Usa, a first-year high school student who moves into a dorm. It turns out that the girl he likes, Ritsu Kawai, also lives there, along with a pervert named Shirosaki, the drunk and lovelorn Mayumi, and the childish and mischievous Sayaka.

In Episode Eight, we see Kazunari start his job at the houseboy café that he’s going to have over summer break. He’s given the name of “Anekoiji” for his houseboy personality. He meets his two co-workers: Hojo (whose houseboy personality is “Yamamoto”) and Kurokawa (whose houseboy personality is “Saionji”). It turns out that both of them aren’t what Kazunari considers to be normal.

When he comes home from work that day, he says the job is a reminder that his life is stuck in hard mode. Mayumi starts throwing a fuss, because her younger friends set up a group date and didn’t include her. At that moment, Kazunari gets a call from his friend Tagami asking him if he wants to participate in a group date. One of the girls is Hayashi, a girl from Kazunari’s middle school who used to talk to him about spirits all the time. It turns out she’s had a big high school debut and makes it clear to Tagami that she doesn’t want Kazunari to join them on the group date.

Kazunari is working on the day of the group date, and it turns out that the group comes to the café after being at the karaoke lounge. It’s an awkward situation for Kazunari, and Hayashi tries to claim that she knew of Kazunari in middle school but never talked to him; she also tells the group that he was weird in middle school. The group insists that Kazunari take their order, and they start teasing him mercilessly. At the same time, Sumiko-san the residents of the dorm come to the café to eat, and Kazunari ends up getting some unexpected help…

Wow, that Hayashi girl was really bitchy, and I was glad to see the come-uppance that Sayaka gave to her. When Mayumi and Sayaka saw a picture of her, they could tell right away that she realized she could make herself look cute but went way overboard. She obviously acted like such a jerk toward Kazunari because she didn’t want the fact that she had been a Ghost Whisperer to come out and destroy her reputation with her classmates at her high school.

While this was a crappy situation for Kazunari to end up in, Ritsu surprises everyone by coming to Kazunari’s rescue. It’s become really clear to the audience at this point that Ritsu likes Kazunari, but she just can’t seem to admit that to herself yet. It was really sweet near the end of the episode when we got to see how moved Kazunari was after realizing that Ritsu did what she did for him, even though she doesn’t like talking to others and becomes easily embarrassed when she does.

Since Kazunari’s job is only supposed to last through summer break, I wonder if we’ll be seeing the café and the new characters introduced there again or not. Also, could Kazunari end up being persuaded to stay beyond summer break? I’m very curious to see what direction Episode Nine takes this series in.

Review: The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior: Episode 7 – “Recommended”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior focuses on Kazunari Usa, a first-year high school student who moves into a dorm. It turns out that the girl he likes, Ritsu Kawai, also lives there, along with a pervert named Shirosaki, the drunk and lovelorn Mayumi, and the childish and mischievous Sayaka.

The first half of Episode Seven focuses on a molester who’s been in the area of the dorm who’s been exposing himself to women. Sumiko-san tells Ritsu to not read while she’s outside because she’s unguarded when she does. After some arguing, Ritsu says she has Kazunari. Kazunari accompanies Ritsu for three days in a “play boyfriend” role for three days.  After the three days, the molester has been caught, so Ritsu returns to reading as she walks by herself.

While Ritsu is at the library, two little girls run up to Sumiko-san and Kazunari and say there’s a weird guy acting like the molester and that he went into the underground. At the same time, Ritsu is returning from the library, reading her book as she walks through the underground. A molester comes out and tries to get Ritsu’s attention, but she’s so engrossed in her book that she doesn’t. The molester grabs her shoulder, but Kazunari gets there and bats the molester’s hand away. The other residents of the dorm are also there and punish the molester.

The second half of the episode sees summer break hitting, and Kazunari asking Ritsu for book recommendations since he has too much free time on his hands. Sumiko-san also takes the dorm residents to a restaurant owned by a friend of hers. She also owns a Japanese café but is short on help; she really needs someone who can handle strange characters. When Sumiko-san and her friend see Kazunari interacting with the dorm residents, Sumiko-san’s friend offers him the job. He turns it down.

The next day, Sumiko-san and her friend go into Kazunari’s room and put a houseboy outfit on him. Ritsu comes in with some books for him and is very happy to see Kazunari in the outfit. After seeing Ritsu’s reaction, Kazunari ends up agreeing to work at the café.

This episode is split into two different stories rather than one story arc running throughout it. It’s happened before with this series, so it wasn’t too surprising when it happened in Episode Seven.

Both of these stories have a strong focus on Kazunari and his feelings for Ritsu. When he’s escorting Ritsu during the first story, he finds himself looking at her in a way that makes him think he’s just as bad as the molester he’s trying to protect her from. But he’s rather protective of her, and I wasn’t surprised to see him going to find Ritsu and protecting her when she’s approached by a molester.

The second story sees Kazunari approaching Ritsu about reading recommendation; he does this in large part in order to be able to get a little closer to her. And in the restaurant scene, we learn that Kazunari had a nickname in junior high; Ritsu is amused by the story she hears about it and starts giggling. But near the end of the episode, we see a cute interaction between Ritsu and Kazunari when she sees him in the houseboy outfit.

I really enjoyed seeing Kazunari and Ritsu’s interactions in this episode, especially Ritsu’s reaction to Kazunari in the houseboy outfit. Her expression was so out of character, yet so cute, for her.

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior is still a rather enjoyable viewing experience. Looking at the preview for Episode Eight, it looks like we’ll be seeing Kazunari working at the café. I’m curious to see how that will end up working out for him.