Home > Reviews > Review: Bonbonzaka Koukou Engekibu

Review: Bonbonzaka Koukou Engekibu

It’s yet another manga in the highschool scene, but what makes this manga stand out is it’s colorful characters, and also the unique situation the main character is in.  This manga was released back in 1992, and it never gained much popularity in Japan (at least not to my knowlege), but it was once a very popular manga in Taiwan.

General Info: Bonbonzaka Koukou Engekibu – Baka-Updates

Read at: MangaFox (only 3 chapters)

Review:

Bonbonzaka Koukou Engekibu was serialized from 1992 to 1995. It’s a relatively short series with 12 volumes, but it’s rich in content. It’s a pretty normal highschool setting where the main character falls in love with a girl, but the outrageous situation he gets himself into is very unique. The characters are wonderful, each with their distinct personality, and there’s sufficient amount of chapters dedicated to each character to learn their backstory. I’ve read plenty of highschool love mangas, but none gave me as much enjoyment (Mx0 was close) as this manga.

The story revolves around Junna Shoutarou, a freshman at Tokeizaka high school. On his first day at school, he falls in love with Hibino Makoto, the most popular girl in school. However, Tokudaiji Hiromi, a notorious homosexual and also the president of the school’s drama club, saw Shoutarou and made it his goal to make him his man. Unfortunately, Makoto dropped in at a bad time, and Shoutarou has been branded by the school as a homosexual as well. The story continues as Shoutarou joins the drama club to get close to Makoto, and at the same time, try to clear his name. This is further complicated by the fact that Makoto cannot stand being touched by men, unless they do not have an interest in women. The story sounds pretty messed up, but it actually works out very well. The other supporting characters also adds a lot to the story, but the author was still able to keep the same idea he started with. A girl student who falls in love with Shoutarou and wants to do whatever she can to set him “straight”, a sexy female teacher who uses her body to fix problematic students, a lesbian who falls in love with Shoutarou when he was forced to dress up as a girl, etc. All these characters center around the basic plot of Shoutarou trying to convince everyone that he’s not gay, but no one believes him.

Like most highschool mangas, there’s some elements that make it unique. The story is by far this manga’s biggest strength, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the characters, especially Tokudaiji Hiromi. His mother is a Hollywood actress and has been ruthlessly training him since he was young. Due to all this training, Hiromi gained superhuman strength and abilities. He can basically transform himself into anything from dogs to jukeboxes. He also explodes and rearranges his face on occassion. He would abuse this ability to trap Shoutarou or steal a kiss from him. He is also one of the most hated persons on the planet due to his selfishness and sadistic nature. This manga wouldn’t be what it is without his extraordinary powers and unique personality. The author was able to get the most out of this character, and had some very creative ideas (e.g. In the split of a second, Hiromi used hair growth spray to grow out his eyebrows into wings, jumps onto a speeding car, pushes off and takes flight).

The drawing in the manga is great. The author is capable of drawing both beautiful, serious scenes and also ridiculous scenes. The background seem to lack detail at times, but the characters are very well-drawn. The drawing in the first volume is not as good, but it does get better very soon. The girls look different enough to tell them apart without looking at their hair, which is always hard to do. He is also great at drawing hilarious facial expressions.

The length of the manga is good. I think it would’ve worked out even better if it was only about 10 volumes. The story and ideas in volume 11 and 12 were not very interesting. It seems the author used up all the ideas he can think of for Shoutarou, Makoto, and Hiromi’s love triangle. The new characters did not focus on the love triangle as much, and it just felt unnecessary. The most useless character is a wealthy transfer student who used his family’s money to get whatever he wanted. I can see some humor in that story, but it just didn’t give anything to the progression of the story nor was it interesting enough to stand on its own. Also, there are multiple instances where Makoto should’ve realized that Shoutarou isn’t gay, but she just never figures it out. This is a manga, so it’s okay to brush it off like that, but it gets harder and harder to convince the audience that she just doesn’t realize the truth.

This manga is hard to review, since what I wrote doesn’t really do it justice. There are many things in the manga that are great, but it’s hard to put in words. I’m also guilty of being biased, since this is one of the first mangas I’ve read. I believe this can be an enjoyable read for anyone though, since both my parents and my sister also loved this manga.

Audience:

Anyone looking for highschool comedy should give this a try. Not for young kids. The topic isn’t exactly appropriate for middle schoolers either, but it depends. I read this manga back in elementary school, and I grew up just fine. I would stay clear of this manga if you’re a homophobe though.

Rate:

8 / 10 Story

9/ 10 Drawing

9 / 10 Presentation

10 / 10 Enjoyment

9 / 10 Overall

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