Ai Ore! is an interesting twist on the very familiar realm of gender bender. Gender benders, for those of you not accustomed to the genre, is a medium in which girls are disguised as boys or vice versa. Honestly though, you don’t come across a series very often in which the main guy is the cross dresser. Ai Ore! does just that.
Licensed by Viz, they decided to take the normal 5 volume release of this series and make it into a thicker release by combining volume chapters, which will also lead to a shorter release time, and ultimately will save them money on printing, and lead to (hopefully) higher profits due to the extra few dollars they charge for a larger volume.
What does that mean for the consumer? Well, personally, I fully support this new type of release. I don’t like to wait to long for each volume to come out, because I collect such huge amounts of manga. And anything that will keep my favorite publishing company in business, I think is a smart idea. It doesn’t affect the quality, either, as it still portrays the original story. I think this is a smart business move for the shojo beat line, and hopefully we’ll be seeing more releases of this nature.
The plot is very simple, although well expanded upon with the usual flair from Shinjo Mayu. Local “princess” and girly boy, Akira, wants nothing more then to join the band Blue Rosen. However, despite the bishounen appearance, it’s an all girl band. Akira becomes the lead singer, however, he must put his very feminine attributes into full gear. This however is a problem due to the fact that the reason he wants to join the band is because he is completely in love with Mizuki, the lead guitarist.
Honestly, the art style was very hard for me to get used to. I’m used to reading gender benders, especially hana kimi, but this is the first time that the girls looked so much like guys and the main guy was so effeminate, I have problems seeing him as a guy. It doesn’t help that the artist takes pleasure from having her readers have conflicting feelings towards her character’s appearance.
I have read one other series by this writer, and the art and the stories are fairly similar. For those of you who are newer to manga, she wrote the other viz released manga, sensual phrase. This manga also had a band central to the story, which makes me think that Shinjo Mayu sensei is a groupie… ( – . – )’
Other then the obvious problems with conflicting gender and art, this manga defiantly presented itself with very squee moments. I found myself eeking out my delight quite often (much to my boyfriends annoyance). The problems of love and how to deal with it are very well put down so that anyone who’s experienced the same feelings can easily empathize.
Art: 8/10 It’s hard to enjoy the bizarre twist of genders and how it’s drawn can sometimes feel out of place.
Plot: 8/10 It’s not too original, apart from how the characters are going about their love interests. It seems men and women’s roles are switched.
Characters: 9/10 They are realistic, while maintaining their own charms.
Enjoyment: 8/10 Very Eek worthy scenes
Eek scale: 3/5