A manga by Tohru Uchimizu
Moving to a new school was always hard growing up, being dropped into a situation where one has to mingle with kids that may have been friends for years already is always a recipe for some anxiety, at least initially. When you are a socially awkward girl such as Misao, it’s even harder because the sharks of the school can smell the blood of a new victim and know exactly when to attack. It’s only the introduction of a girl named Sae Maki that changes everything, she’s gorgeous, popular, athletic, and all the boys want to be with her. Misao has no idea why Sae wants to be her friend, but the wave of happiness she feels makes her feel amazing, it’s almost like she’s falling in love. Is Sae what Misao needs to navigate her new life at this school, or is there something wrong with her? Threatening letters seem to point towards not everything being okay.
“Misao is a high school girl who is terrible at making friends. One day, she’s saved from her loneliness by Sae, whose academics, athleticism, and even appearance are “perfect.” But Sae’s idea of friendship is a little distorted…As the story moves on, Misao is trapped by Sae, who controls Misao as she pleases. Feeling that her life is in danger, Misao and Kokai, a young man who vows to save her, strategize ways to release Misao from Sae’s control.”
The Love and Creed of Sae Maki has all of the earmarks of any classic obsession storyline, harkening back to films such as The Crush, Poison Ivy, Fatal Attraction and Fear. The protagonist is meek and unsure of herself, and her friendship with Sae Maki fulfills all of her wildest dreams. While the story has not entirely tipped into a seductive sexual relationship, I can assume that’s coming with a quick look at the final page of this chapter. If the story can keep the unsettling nature of the plot going without devolving into all manner of tired anime clichés this could be something really special considering how unheard of this manga is.
This manga is published by Akita Publishing Co.,Ltd. directly to the US market via digital sales on Amazon, which is the same format used for comics like Creature (another by them) and Lockdown Zone Level X, which I have been slowly reading for the last year. I actually like this delivery method because I don’t have a ton of room to be buying manga paperbacks all the time, and it’s easier to tell if I will like something or not with a few chapters at a lower price. It’s a great alternative to succumbing to pirate “scan-lation” companies that generally are not that good at what they do and steal money from the creators. I’m not saying I have never used such sites, but if it’s available legitimately, I prefer that over anything shady.
Chapter one is just a taste of what this book has to offer, but the storyline has a solid hook and has kept me interested enough to at least try another chapter. So far, it hasn’t crossed into being some kind of exploitative pornographic book, which I appreciate and hope the trend continues. Some seinen manga seem to be unable to have a storyline like this without crossing a line, and while I’m not a prude, that sort of thing is way lazier than actually writing a good series. My fingers are crossed that it keeps up!
This book is available in a chapter-by-chapter format on Amazon.