36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Welcome addition to romantic comedy mangas
Jun 04, 2007 reviewed by Deejay_Beta
Never Give Up is a welcome addition to the shojo gender swapping genre, in the vein of Hana Kimi, Girl Got Game and Host Club.
Kiri, the main girl protagonist, is in love with her friend and next door neighbor Tohya. While Tohya is a beautiful young guy, whose looks have enabled him to be offered a modeling job, Kiri is a masculine looking girl who has been trying desperately to become a princess and be just as beautiful as Tohya. Her insecurity regarding her manly looks has made her keep her love for Tohya a secret from him and is not helped by the fact that she only has female admirers.
To ensure that Tohya does not go into the hive of princesses and queens (modeling) alone, she poses as a boy so that she can also be accepted as a male model and work along side him. Unfortunately, her best laid plans go awry, when a male model makes advances on her male alter ego Tatsuki. To make matters worse she finds that she cannot be with Tohya in her normal girl state just in case her secret is discovered.
Unlike previous mangas, Never Give Up is original in that the main male protagonist already knows that Kiri is a girl and that Kiri already looks like a boy in her natural state. Although partly set in a school, Kiri only becomes Tatsuki during her modeling. Hiromu Mutou's drawings are attractive and funny and she successfully has created a lead character who can look like a girl and a sexy manly guy at the same time!
Never Give Up is original, romantic and funny, and deserves to be in any shojo collection and is a hidden treasure of shojo manga.
Deejay_Beta also recommended: Dramacon,
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Cross-dressing Never Gets Old
Jan 02, 2008 reviewed by DamageCtrl
In most stories containing a cute little childhood crush, things become more interesting come high school. In the case of Kiri and her prince-charming-come-neighbor/childhood friend/crush, it got interesting all right. While they each had a parent who was a model, it was the parent of the opposite gender. Touya got his mother’s cute face and smaller body. Kiri inherited her father’s height and masculine features. Genetics were never so cruel. Now, Touya’s been scouted by Kiri’s mother’s modeling company and in order to ‘protect’ him from devilish fiends who might want him, Kiri signs up as a model in order to be around him. A male model. Needless to say, drama goes down.
And goes down it does. I had very high expectations of this manga. The premise was kind of opposite from the usual childhood crush and cross-dressing scenario and that had promise. However, after the initial drama and comedy caused by Kiri and Touya trying to hide her true gender the public eye of the modeling industry, things start to get kind of repetitive. It began to follow the usual pattern of rivals turned enemies turned friends, of almost discovering the truth, and so on. It was like in every book, new characters were added that, with few exceptions, got irritating.
The characters were interesting to a point. You feel more pity and exasperation when following Kiri. You feel like calling child services when it’s Kiri’s mother. Touya takes a while to warm up to. Very few of the characters really attracted me, as many came off as arrogant and self righteous. I admire Kiri for her will to stick with Touya and see these things through, or at least try to, but I did start to wish she would grow a backbone. Thus, my affinity for the manga wasn’t anywhere near what I thought it would be. It’s still a decent story, but not as engaging and addicting as the story could be. 2.5 to 3 stars.
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