Arisa 5 Paperback – Nov 8 2011
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"A well done mystery, a sophisticated story wrapped in sweet, sweet shoujo art." -Mangablog.net
"The blend of wide-eyed shojo story with encroaching personalized horror is well handled. 3.5 Stars out of 5." - ICV2.com
About the Author
Born January 27th in the Aichi prefecture of Japan, NATSUMI ANDO won the prestigious 19th annual Nakayoshi Rookie Award in 1994 for her debut, Headstrong Cinderella. Her other popular series include Zodiac P.I. and Kitchen Princess. Her hobbies include reading, watching movies, and eating delicious food. The author lives in Japan.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I honestly don't know what I like more- the artwork or the story. The mystery of who King is and why they're doing what they're doing is getting pretty intense and I can't help but get enthusiastic over everything. The list of potential characters that could be the King is dwindling and I've got my suspicions over who the true culprit is.
I think one of the strongest parts of this volume is that it made me feel that the series as a whole was scripted ahead of time and that Ando isn't going to take tons of time out for filler chapters. I hate it when mysteries and thrillers put in filler chapters because it hurts the tension.
This is absolutely a series to collect!
At the end of Vol. 4, a girl who tried to commit suicide herself thanks to the bullying of the "King" and the rest of the class returns to seek revenge against Arisa, not knowing that Tsubasa is disguised as her comatose sister. Tsubasa isn't happy with her, especially after finding out how irrational she is in her hate of Arisa (even knowing Arisa was no longer "King" when the incident took place) among other things. But after hearing Shizuki's sad life story from Manabe and witnessing the severe verbal and emotional abuse heaped on the poor girl by her aunt, Tsubasa feels pity for her.
This is made worse when Tsubasa discovers that the new King is using Shizuki in his plan to hurt Tsubasa and Arisa. Now she has to protect herself and her sister, while minimizing any hurt to Shizuki from the King who is using her against them.
The story sure is getting complicated at what, I think, is the halfway point. The stakes are high and the emotional impact as high as it can just about get. I like how the author handles this. Ando Natsumi is good at keeping the right amount of thematic tension. She doesn't reveal things too early so the suspense is ruined, but neither does she keep the suspense "taut" so long that the reader's interest breaks.
Yes, there are still the problems with realism in that no teacher notices the bull-s*** going on in the class and with the students. Even in Japan with it's "don't interfere in others' lives" ethic, this wouldn't be allowed to go on with no intervention. Especially not recently when there are such concerted efforts to deal with the social service issues that have plagued them and their culture for so long.
If you can ignore that lapse of realism, however, it really is a suspenseful story that pulls you in. The artwork is incredible, and the incredible "portrait" pages headlining each chapter are not just beautiful but poignant, as you know the twins are nowhere near as happy as they appear to be in those pics. Especially not Arisa. They make for a nice contrast with the story.
I really enjoy this series and might just pick it up for myself on Comixology instead of just reading it from the library.
This was actually a little better than the last one.
So the first bit is about the trip they go on, and has the normal kind of drama. Tsubasa is dealing with Shizuka, who hates her. Tsubasa is trying to get all of the phones back from her, and then Shizuka makes a wish to take something important from Arisa. Tsubasa immediately thinks of Midori-kun, and into a trap set by the King. Manabe comes and saves her, but their class had to wait for her to get back in order to eat, and they think she ran off to spend time with Manabe, resulting in them all hating her and Arisa losing her good reputation. And Shizuka also thinks that Manabe betrayed her.
This was... just whatever. It's the same type of thing that's been going on already. Just more drama to put off the climax that I'm hoping is coming soon. The next part, though, I did enjoy.
The next chapter shows us what happened to Shizuka to this point, and what Manabe knows about it all. Shizuka was immensely competitive with Arisa, wanting to be number one in their class or grades or whatever, becoming obsessed with it. And then she bad talks the King in front of everyone, making them all hate her. (This was a dumb move, of course, on her part.) And it shows how much she relied on Manabe to do everything for her, including things to Arisa that she shouldn't have made him do. All because of some promise he made when they were little kids. And then Arisa, who he'd been getting close to, was going to tell Manabe something, presumably something very important, but Shizuka jumped off the rooftop of their school, interrupting them.
Manabe blames himself, but Shizuka is a little psychotic and obsessive, and she obviously needs help. And I want to know what Arisa was going to tell him.
And in the last chapter, we see that Kudo is up to something, and Shizuka is still hating on Arisa. But Tsubasa decides to follow Shizuka, but instead she gets caught and they start talking. And we find out that her home life sucks. We saw in the previous chapter that her parents died, and she was taken in by some relatives. Which is part of why she was so obsessive over being top of the class, because she wanted to prove to them that it was worth it to take her in. But then she jumps off the roof and now she can't walk anymore. But the people that she's living with are complete jerks to her, don't care about her, and don't help her with anything. Tsubasa gets all defensive, but Shizuka is used to it, even if it depresses her and makes her feel worthless. Shizuka also tells her that a while ago the King came to her, through the phone, telling her that he could help her.
At the end of the chapter, we see Tsubasa coming up to Shizuka, and putting a cloth over her mouth until she passes out. This doesn't seem like something Tsubasa would do, and I'm curious as to what her reason was.
So, I am a little tired of all the drama pushing back the climax. I just want to find out who the King is, and I'm getting annoyed with only seeing a black-shadow-type figure with a weird grin, especially with all the clues it's giving us, only to take them back not long after. And I want to find out what really happened with Arisa. Some more flashbacks (or Arisa waking up,) would be really nice, and I hope that more are coming up.
But, I have the next one already, so the review for it will probably be coming up soon.
** This review contains no spoilers for Arisa 5 but will of course have them for previous volumes. **
An apparent old friend of Akira now has three of the five phones of the chosen, along with a nasty grudge against Arisa. Tsubasa has to figure out what this means for the King's game, while continuing her charade, trying preserve Arisa's relationship with her boyfriend, and the not so simple matter of staying safe herself...
In some ways this is more of the same, but I'm enjoying the story and it's twists. The characters are so relatable and intriguing and the mystery is working so well that the series is a long way from wearing out it's welcome. Shizuka is a solid addition to the cast and her subplots and interactions with everyone else very interesting. Danger is of course plaguing Tsubasa at every turn, and the atmosphere is kept appropriately tense.
Still great stuff with no signs of slowing down. Highly recommended.