Geoff Reviews - Crossroad (v.1-6)

Title: Crossroad
Media: Manga
Text: English (translated)
Story: Mizuki Shioko
Art: Mizuki Shioko
Publisher: Go!Comi (originally Akita Shoten)

No aliens, magic, weird planets, or extraordinarily skilled people? What's a story to do? Live on the strength of its comedy and drama, of course. There's nothing terribly special here outside of the characters, but they're the point and focus of the story anyway, so that's not a bad thing. As the American publishers said as the preview for volume five, anything I could really tell you about the story would be a spoiler... so, I'm better off not saying anything. I could just quote the blurb from the back of volume one, but it's exceptionally misleading, so I can't in good conscience do so.

As shoujo manga go, this is one of the better ones I've read recently. While the technical definition of "shoujo manga" is "comics for girls", that doesn't really cover the concept. If you can say shounen manga as a whole goes about character development through training and combat (please, use these terms training and combat loosely, this can cover everything from martial arts to racing cars to baking bread), then shoujo manga is more character-relationship driven. Put another way, most shounen-series characters develop their abilities, while most shoujo-series characters develop as people.

I only have two real gripes about the series. First, I had to turn off my brain just a bit to keep from bludgeoning it on the 900 pound deus ex machina in the room, otherwise known as how the main characters wound up together at the beginning of the story. Without spoiling it, let's just say that I had to promise my suspension of disbelief a week's vacation if it would overlook that one plot point. The thing is, I don't think I would've actually taken issue with it if the rest of the series weren't so incredibly normal.

Second... It's over already? Sure, I had a bad feeling about it when the mangaka commented in volume one that she'd already covered half of the story as she originally saw it, but all of a sudden, I'm staring at the upcoming release of volume seven as a resolution for the story? It's not impossible, if by resolution it means clearing up the storyline of the two primary characters... but all the other major characters seemed to have stories worth telling as well, and one volume isn't going to be time enough for nearly all of them (or any of them, really, if the focus is where it should be, in wrapping up the primary line).

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