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Punch!, Vol. 1: Fighting Love Champ: v. 1 Kindle Edition
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Punch! is about Elle Nagahara, a dojo-raised 15 year-old girl who is tired of fighting. Because her grandfather owns a dojo, she has been surrounded by blood and violence her whole life and frankly, she no longer wants any part of it. All Elle wants is a normal life with a normal boyfriend. She is engaged to be married to Ruo Eschuck, the grandson of one of her grandfather's best friends and former rival but since she has grown up with Ruo, she only has brotherly feelings for him.
The story opens with another one of Elle's boyfriends being beat up and chased off by members of Elle's grandfather's gym who are all in league with Ruo. You learn that Ruo and his friends beat up and scare away every single one of Elle's boyfriends, this of course only makes Elle more determined to find a normal man to date. Enter Kizuki Shindo, next to Ruo, he is probably the last person Elle would want to date, Kizuki is a street fighter who beats people up and takes their money, but he has a reason. . . I won't spoil it. One day, Elle is trying to explain to Ruo why she does not want to marry him, she tells him in a moment of panic that she is dating the super strong brawler, Kizuki.
After that, Ruo and his gym rats go to Kizuki's school and threaten to beat him up if he doesn't leave Elle alone. Kizuki is confused but always ready for a fight and while Ruo manages to sucker punch him in the stomach, Kizuki holds his own. Elle gets excited because she feels like she has finally found a man that can stand up to the abuse caused by dating her, the only problem? They are not actually dating. . .
This is a fun series, 2 volumes out, with the 3rd and final book coming out sometime in March. Even though the story is remarkably different all the characters look disturbingly similar to the 3 main protagonists in Happy Hustle High, Takada's previous series. Hanabi, Yasuaki and even Tokihisa faces are all reused for Elle, Kizuki and Ruo, respectively. This brought out mixed feelings for me because on one hand I am a big H3 fan and the artwork is great, on the other hand, I found myself cheering `Go Yasuaki!' even though he wasn't actually there. If you liked Happy Hustle High, read this. If you like this, read Happy Hustle High. For those who have not read either one, if you're a romance shoujo fan, Rie Takada does not disappoint!
Cynics beware! This sweet love story is about as sappy as they come, but it has the comedic value that most love stories lack. B+
On the whole, I enjoyed volumes 1 and 2 fairly well. And I was really looking forward to volume 3 to see what happened next.
Volume 3 was a waste of money. The story ended abruptly 1/3rd of the way into the book and really didn't wrap up anything. I would have been better off just using my own imagination. I guess the author got tired of drawing the story, or something.
But, then suddenly, there are other people showing up on the page. It took me several confused minutes to realize that the last 2/3rds of the book were not related to the story I had so anticipated. There are 2 separate, stories following the ending that have nothing to do with anything.
Needless to say, I was very disappointed. I would not recommend this series unless you are very hard-up for something to read.