Ultra Cute

    (Tokyopop, 2006)
™ and © 2006 Nami Akimoto
Black and white; read right to left.

Ami and Noa are 15-year-old best friends and perpetual love rivals who are always chasing after the same guys—which invariably scares them off. At a party, they meet a couple of smooth, handsome guys, Tamon and Tomohiro, and it looks as if their dreams have finally come true—until Ami learns they’re out to break their hearts. Ami decides to protect Noa and gain her “revenge” on Tamon by making him really fall in love with her.

It’s a fatal flaw for a would-be romance that the only sparks being struck come from increasingly nasty verbal exchanges between the girls. Moreover, here’s yet another teacher/pervert character, the girls’ English instructor (nicknamed “Chucky”) who openly lusts after them. (A helpful footnote informs us that “Chuck” means “zipper” in Japanese.)

It’s an incredibly slight, silly, and literally sophomoric premise that’s ridiculous even by romance manga standards. It tries hard but it’s just not that cute—and is yet another almost criminal misuse of the word “ultra.”

— S. A. Bennett

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