MabuSasa Volume 1 Review

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MabuSasa Volume 1 Kodansha Comics Cover

On the outside, Akira Sasagawa doesn’t appear to be any different from your normal high school girl. But get to know her more and you discover she’s a massive fujoshi. On her way to the bookstore she ends up spotting Ryunosuke Mabuchi, who’s known around the school as a delinquent due to his scary face and many troubling rumors over time, buying otaku stuff? Boys Love? Whatever the case, Sasagawa starts thinking she may have misjudged him.

Once the two (attempt) to talk and get to know each other, a whole new set of problems emerge from them meeting though!

MabuSasa is a decent look at figuring out that you can’t always go by looks and certainly not by rumors when judging a person’s character. This applies in many ways, and the manga wastes no time in establishing this. Sasagawa’s BL-obsessed while Mabuchi’s into 2D girls; we soon meet Mabuchi’s friend, who seems like a sweet high school standout publicly but is rotten and dumb personally; and then later on we meet Sasagasa’s friend who is in the karate club but has a real affection for her that borders on obsessive.(Sasagawa has yet to notice this.. We get examples of additional characters who aren’t what they seem in this volume, so expect to meet people who you’ll have to wait and see to know who they really are.

While romance is likely in this romcom, it’s honestly not noticeable in its first volume. That’s mainly because it’s focused on having 4-panel pages (Think Tomo-chan might be comparable to how it’s styled) that joke about each character’s hidden or obvious personalities and Sasagawa’s insatiable fujoshi appetite. That’ll likely be where the comedy will determine your enjoyment — at almost every opportunity we see her imagine BL pairings at wayward moments, take a statement and twist it into a pairing, and this extends even to her smarts in class. More often than not, it’s not always funny. The only one that felt laugh out loud funny was, due to LINE sabotage from her little brother, Mabuchi had a huge misunderstanding that Sasagawa knew he’d be confused by…but her fujoshi sense didn’t want to correct it!

Aside from that and a few others, MabuSasa doesn’t really feel different from other romcoms you’ve read before. So it’s not helpful that the art for this is ordinary. Comedy manga can usually have its look be a factor, but generally if the timing’s good throughout the read, it doesn’t have to be impressively drawn. The issue for this manga is that it all feels static as you keep reading. Character expressions at times are fine, but oftentimes they don’t convey any sort of hilarity at all. So factor that in with little panel creativity, it feels limiting in areas.

Overall, there’s nothing that really stands out from this manga aside from one particular protagonist wondering about an OTP or who’s the guy that’d be on top. There’s also not much wrong with it, and the humor might work with someone else, but it didn’t really work for me.

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