23 November 07
What do you call the girl who’s been dumped as many times as there are hearts in a deck of cards? Yuri Muroi’s her name. She’s been ditched 13 times and cheated on 12 times by 11 different guys. However our thick-skinned heroine manages to bounce back and always keep a positive outlook on life. However this has left her with many female enemies at her school, and is often accused of going after peoples boyfriends. Things begin to change, however, when Yuri meets Motoko.
Motoko Kagurazaka is tall, naturally beautiful and is quite the envy of most of the other girls. But don’t let her good looks decieve you, her antics are very … hmm … what’s a good word … schemy. Often it’s hard to tell if she is truly friends with Yuri (especially after saving her from wannabe porno-filming thugs), but events keep occuring between them to question how much they care about each other. Motoko is the current love interest of self-confessed bad boy, Yabe Takahiro. But Motoko has no interest in him whatsoever … or does she? Motoko is interested in many unexpected things like wrestling, fish sausages, and getting a look at beautiful girls. She appreciates beauty, but isn’t gay.
Yabe Takahiro is forever being chased around school, whether it’s by angry staff members for riding a moped around, by angry girls who he’s apparently cheated on, and even angrier guys for getting together with their girlfriends. Being (possibly) the biggest … well, tallest guy at school it’s not hard to miss him. Like Motoko, Yabe also has an interesting (though very elusive) past including getting stabbed by a girl who truly loved him. Speaking of love, did I mention that the girl currently after him is … Yuri? No? Well I did now!
There are also an interesting array of ‘smaller’ characters, ranging from ex boyfriends, current girlfriends, and so on, but there’s also a guy who tries to help Yuri handle Motoko’s friendship called Tomoharu Sekine (aka Motoko Lacky Number 1). Though somewhats quiet through this issue, you feel that he’ll have a big impact later on.
Gatcha Gacha is (according to the arguement in the mini-comic at the back) a romantic comedy, however it also has aspects of drama, suspense and adult themes. That being said there are many scenes of violence, but nothing too terrifying to keep you awake at night. The story is nicely paced and although one or two scenes are somewhats predictable, I found Gatcha Gacha to be quite a fresh and original idea. I especially enjoy how Yutaka Tachibana (artist) describes Yuri “Yuri is a little bit different from other heroines I’ve drawn. Y’see, there’s this unwritten rule in shojo manga that goes: “heroines are better off being innocent girls.” I decided to be daring and ignore that, so I made Yuri an “impure” heroine”. Notes from the author do pop up in the book from time to time (one time even recommending a film to watch … I’ll get Kazuki on that one), but they’re not too often that you can predict when one is going to sprout up.
To conclude if you like romantic comedies where people get beaten up for batting an eye at the boyfriend of an overobsessive chick then this is for you. The artstyle is quite similar to the majority of shojo manga on the market, but it’s the story of Gatcha Gacha that gives it the extra edge (and the interesting title spelling). That being said successive issues will have a lot to live up to and I feel that the story could either end as a roaring success or like a lead goldfish (I’ll let you work that one out), but I do hope it succeeds.