Is this Girl for Real!? – Review

Is this Girl for Real!?:

Volume 1

Reviewed by: Linny

Synopsis: On a late night trip to grab some groceries for his overworked manga artist mother, Jun Yoshikawa runs into a half naked and drunk older woman and ends up having to take her home due to her inebriated state and refusal to stop rubbing his face into her breasts. He wakes up the next day to the news that not only has his mother hired said drunk girl whose name is  Narumi Kawase as an assistant, but she will also be living with them from now on. Life is about to get a whole lot more chaotic for Jun.

Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):

Let’s be honest and acknowledge that Is this Girl for Real ?! has a very specific audience and that is testosterone fueled teenage boys who would jump with joy at the thought of having an attractive woman moving in with them. With that out of the way, it’s much easier to enjoy the story and also helps to save the time of anyone who doesn’t fall in that category and thus should most likely avoid reading this series. That said, this isn’t going to be a review that keeps thrashing it simply for being sleazy but it also won’t be one that turns a blind eye to the fact that most of the content of volume one seems to fantasy fuel for lonely/boring nights and seems to go low effort on all other facets of its story.

I feel like I’m peeking into someone’s wet dream reading this.

Is this Girl ( as I will be referring to it for the rest of this review) starts off with a very tame first page that just shows Jun’s extremely innocent and innocuous first encounter with Narumi but literally bares it all in the very next two pages which are a double page spread of Narumi in her lingerie. It’s a very extreme and sudden change but sets a good example of how the story progresses and unfolds for the rest of the volume. Information is often pulled out of nowhere and things just seem to happen at the snap of a finger, making it clear that the author is more interested in just throwing out whatever info is needed for the current gag or situation, rather than building up to it at a more natural pace. Anyone who reads the synopsis of the volume already knows what’s going to happen in the first chapter or so, so one could overlook and brush off this haphazard manner of info dispensing. However, if you find yourself already annoyed with it in the first chapter, know that it continues to happen in chapter after chapter and we often find out the most random of information in the most sudden manner.

Is this the mangaka’s not so subtle cry for help?

It’s definitely amusing and a bit shocking when a few pages into the first chapter, we are treated to several pages of a drunk woman, undressed on the side of the road, grabbing onto and wrapping herself all around a teen boy. While some readers might find that amusing and maybe even arousing, as a female reader, all I could think about was how scary,idiotic and ridiculous it was for an adult woman to be so bad with drinks that one of her reactions to getting drunk is ending up semi naked and unconscious on the roadside by herself. That kinda hindered my ability to really get into the story but reminding myself that this was all fiction, and a comedy to boot, nothing ‘tragic’ was going to happen and I soldiered on.

That’s one understanding and supportive mother.

As the story continues, Is this Girl gets more and more over the top with its premise of how naked Narumi likes to get, in fact in one particular sequence, she is clearly shown to be without her panties, and just how much she apparently loves cuddling and wrapping herself around Jun. The manga goes all out with these scenes dedicating several pages and panels to them, something that is sure to please certain readers. If there’s one thing you can’t deny about this series, it’s that it is not afraid to get its female protagonist naked and show her off. There might be some humour to be found in the escalating excuses they come up with to have her undress but the end goal is so heavily focused on titillation to the point where this book could have been an erotic art book and you would have enjoyed it all the same, maybe even more.

Phrasing will get you into all sorts of trouble in fiction.

My main issue of contention with Is this Girl is how it puts so little effort into its characters and stories. A lot of the main cast feel like they’re cookie cutter products and if you’ve read a handful of ecchi manga, you will most likely find yourself predicting every big development or reveal…not that it has many in the first volume anyway. There are a couple of unexpected twists but they’re not enough to stop this series from feeling like it’s best left for ‘solitary’ reading. Even the somewhat unique premise of having a friendly mother who is also a popular mangaka seems to exist solely to create a reason and situation for Narumi to move in with Jun and for the most part is rarely ever utilized effectively for anything else. The ‘art’ is drawn well and that’s one point in favour of the manga but based off how the comedy is tired and the characters generic, it’s hard to recommend it as anything but ‘bedtime’ reading. Obviously, I am not the target audience and so my enjoyment of the series is definitely going to be a lot less than say, a hot blooded male reader. However, if you like something extra with your ecchi like a meaty story or genuinely good comedy, you might still have to look elsewhere. On the other hand, if  your main criteria for ecchi manga is it having decent amounts of ecchi and decent art for those panels, then I’d suggest you give this series a look in.

 Is this Girl for Real!? is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.

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