Thursday, December 21, 2006

Punch!, v. 1

Story and Art by Rie Takada
Published in the U.S. by Viz Media

Slugline: Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield" has never been so true.

Elle is a typical high school girl, pining away, hoping for romance.
Unfortunately, her family is filled with martial artists, runs a gym that trains them, and she has already been promised to the grandson of her grandfather's greatest rival, who also trains at the gym. Whenever she finds someone she likes, the gym attendees manage to find some way to convince that person that it would be better for his health to stay far, far away from Elle. Up until the day that the street tough Kazuki walks into her life.

For a story that is about a girl balanced between two boys, there is a not a lot of balancing. Ruo, Elle's fiance, is a cardboard character barely developed past the fact that he loves Elle despite her rejection, and like most manga guys he has serious problems with impulse control. Kazuki, once you get past the fact that he is often covered in blood not his own, has all of the soft bits that make teenage girls go all squee-ish.

Sorry, not sure what the adjective form of "squee" should be.

Other than some interesting story bits, this is just an competently
executed shoujo story that has very little conflict to drive it, at least by the end of this volume.

- Ferdinand

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