Ai Ore! Volume 1
by Mayu Shinjo
When the lead singer of Blaue Rosen announces she is moving overseas, Akira does all he can to convince Mizuki and her bandmates to let him join. But will a resistant Mizuki allow him into her band, much less her heart?
I was browsing the graphic novels and manga at the library and figured I would just pick up a few first volumes to see if anything new would reel me in. Weirdly enough almost everything I looked at was gender-bending. Ai Ore was one of those. Even more bizarre is the fact that the girl (who looks like a boy) in Ai Ore is named Mizuki… just like Hana-Kimi’s heroine. They’re very different characters though, so I should be able to keep them separated. This manga is definitely weird (but what manga isn’t), but I enjoyed it. I got lucky with this one and I think I’ll keep reading.
Mizuki is in a girl band called Blaue Rosen, but when their singer moves away they assume it’s time to break up. Enter Akira, an adorable boy (who looks like a girl). Akira has been admiring Mizuki from afar, but he sees this as his chance to get closer. He auditions for the band and they let him in on the condition that he pretends to be a girl so as not to ruin the girl band vibe. When Akira kisses Mizuki everyone goes wild. The girls at Mizuki’s school are jealous. Akira is hogging their prince! The boys at Akira’s school are outraged because Akira has been telling them all this time that he’s not into boys.
There’s a cute bond between these two. The girls at Mizuki’s school call her their “first-year prince,” and she plays up the role a little by dressing more masculine. The truth is she’s insecure about her body. She doesn’t think she’s beautiful. The boys at Akira’s school call him their “princess” and he hates it. He’s a guy and he doesn’t like people treating him like a girl. It makes him feel insecure. I think that connection is one of the reasons they like each other in the first place. I generally like both of them and where their story is headed, though Akira got a little creepy at the end of this volume. My favorite thing about this volume was the fact that there were no fluff chapters. I hate those! I hope they never show up in this series. It keeps me much more connected when the series stays on track with the overall plot.
I enjoyed this first volume of Ai Ore, and I recommend it to manga lovers, especially if you enjoy the gender-bending stuff.
Content: Mild profanity, sexual content. The age recommendation for this manga by VIZ Media is 16 and up. I whole-heartedly agree.
VIZ Media, 2011
Manga Mondays is hosted by Alison Can Read.