|Ryuji and Tsukasa respectively.|
Artist: Nakamura Yoshiki
Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Gender Bender, Martial Arts, Mild-Nudity, Romance, School life, Shoujo
It's the year 2020 AD, and Tokyo is a city infested with crime. Women can no longer go out in the streets alone without being victimized. Not wanting their daughter to suffer the same fate, Tsukasa Kozuki's cop parents raise her as a boy. When they are suddenly killed by one of the yakuza's in-fights, Tsukasa is left orphaned on the streets along with her three brothers. With no other options, she goes to the only person she can think of for help: pokerface Ryuji Shirogami, her classmate of 8 years and also the head leader of the powerful Yakuza group, Kuryugumi. Ryuji, whose father was also a victim of the same yakuza fight, agrees to take her on as his personal bodyguard. As they set out to find their enemy, Ryuji slaps on an increasing amount of debt onto Tsukasa using all manners of ploys necessary to keep the reluctant Tsukasa by his side.
Plot: The plot is created both linear and nonlinear. The reader gets to both enjoy the creatively woven story line that Tokyo Crazy Paradise has to offer as well as the extra stories that involve the crazy lives of Tsukasa and Ryuji. Their inane bickering and hilarious antics keep the reader enjoying the story, laughing and smiling, creating a just atmosphere with the reader. You see the inner struggles of both Ryuji, who has been watching Tsukasa for the 8 years they have "known" each other, and vis versa for Tsukasa. But, because both characters are basically polar opposites (Yakuza brat and police brat), they never socialized with each other; until now of course. The story quickly paced itself in such a way that the reader was not overwhelmed with constant information (Not a lot of characters introduced in the beginning, but enough to keep the story moving) as well as the use of different facial perspectives, environments, and artistry that keeps the manga flowing. It places the reader in mostly the POV of Tsukasa, who struggles having to keep a front of a man, but grows into the womanly features and feelings of being in love and also fighting for love. It also puts the perspective into Ryuji and his close attendant, Kamojima-san (Kamo-san), who is a fatherly figure to Ryuji. It's interesting to see both sides of emotions and story because Ryuji is such an interesting character (the best!) because of his "lack-of-emotions" facade and also Kamo-san's attempts to make Ryuji happy (like a father should). Ryuji is usually fighting with himself about his feelings for Tsukasa, and his reactions to many of her facial expressions or words is very fun to see. Back to the plot line, it stays on track and doesn't deviate too far from each other. Generally, most arcs ("arc" = episode/story portion & usually the constant story plot for a few to a couple of chapters) within TCP is connected one way or another, whether it is to delve deeper into the central story or to learn more about a character. The plot of TCP and the characters creates a full and satisfying story at the very end.
Tsukasa Kozuki~ One of the most entertaining and creative characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. Her character is so well thought out, and her actions and feelings slowly develop. The reader actually grows with the character, rather than the character just having an epiphany and changes suddenly. It is a gradual change and so rare into today's most mangas. Tsukasa is a very fun character to watch in each panel she is in, and she isn't your typical heroine. Bad things and good things happen to her, and she lives her life in strides. If anything, I'd base my main heroines on her any day.
|Tsukasa and Ryuji|
Ryuji Shirogami~ Ryuji definitely deserves some credit as well. His character is also like Tsukasa, where he is gradually growing and becoming a better man. His stoicism at the beginning and his IDGAF-unless it is about my Kumi (lower-class Yakuza men, i.e. "henchmen")- attitude creates an tsundere (Definition here) character. This also creates the paralleling opposite characters between Tsukasa and Ryuji (Loud and active VS Quiet and tough, respectively). This creates a conflicting atmosphere, yet when both characters are on the same wavelength, the reader feels happiness at their shared moments. Ryuji's character is amazingly created, and his character design also supports his attitude.
Kamojima~ Kamo-san is a supporting character, but I feel Ryuji would've lacked a little without Kamo-san. He created the underlying warm side of Ryuji, which this warm side is presented in the later volumes of TCP. Kamo-san was a wonderfully made character, and truthfully, he is one of my favorites.
|Ryuji & Kamo-san|
[Honestly, I noted Kamojima because he has a huge impact on both characters and he's just so FUGGING AWESOME!!!]
Art and Volumes: Okay, so the art and # of volumes are the deciding factors of my review. Alas, though, they need to be noted! The art is so freaking beautiful. It needs to be put in a museum. Seriously. The art is somewhat more realistic than today's mainstream manga/anime art. I believe that this incorporates both the old style mangas and new style mangas, yet creates an iconic style by Nakamura-san. This uniquity might be a turn off for more mainstream manga fans, but I find that this shouldn't turn you away from this absolutely amazing story line and set of characters that you will never forget. I included the volume count because I believe that if that there is too many books than the story begins to deviate away from the main plot. For this story line, 19 volumes was fairly good and not too much/not too little.
Overall: Okay. I'm just going to gush.... GODTHISSTORYISSOFUGGINGGOODANDAWESOMEANDIHAVETHISONMYIPHONEANDIREADITALLTHETIMENADOMFGITSAMAZING! (<- If you can read that, you deserve a cookie.) This story is so well planned, and the characters actually develop over time with their emotions and personalities. You don't feel the sudden "Oh wow, they just went from depressive little crybaby to kick-butt hero!" You get the satisfaction of understanding the characters as well as learning a bit about how you could improve yourself. The conflicting emotions, actions, and personalities create a whirlwind of story that just.... It's amazing. Just go read it. Right here -- and here.. Just... DID YOU CLICK IT!? DID YOU SEE I RATED IT FOUR POLISHES!? Okay, so to conclude: Tokyo Crazy Paradise is an action-packed, romantic, and comedic story placed into 19 volumes of awesomeness that I could not turn away from. This story will have you smiling, crying, and wanting to punch the people in Tsukasa's way. IT IS EVERYTHING YOU COULD POSSIBLE WANT IN A STORY! <- UNDERLINED, BOLDED, IN ITALICS, AND CAPPED.
Inked with Brilliance and Love,
P.S. I'm sorry this is a bit jumbled. It's the VERY FIRST manga review for BNR, and Alisha said I could do them at the beginning of the year along with my Manga Mondays! So, check in every Monday to see the featured presentation! I will be doing a comparison between an Anime and Manga, so stay tuned! If you have a request for an Anime/Manga, feel free to email me at - ladyseratynan[@]gmail[dot]com. Sayonara!