I tend to like shoujo manga series about lead females that have a lot of strength and backbone. So oftentimes the heroines of my series tend to be tomboys (ex: Crimson Hero). The series Dragon Girl fits into this “girl power” genre of shoujo, and it makes use of a lot of the standard shoujo situations that we’ve all seen before. But despite using a lot of the same initial recipes of many shoujo series Dragon Girl manages to stay apart from its cookie cutter siblings. Right at the start of the series I thought I had the whole rest of the plot figured out, and I was completely wrong.
Rinna Aizen (no relation to Sosuke Aizen ohohoho) is attending a high school that was recently made co-ed from an all boys school. Rinna is attending this particular school for a specific purpose, to join as an ouendan (or “cheer squad” member) in their legendary group. Her father was known as the best ouendan in the school’s history and is someone she looks up to a lot. Also, by attending this school she is fulfilling a childhood promise with her first love Subaru. Traditionally an ouendan was a man, and the group led the crowd in cheers in a way that involves taunting, drums, flags, and horns. They were known for being a bit rough, and fights sometimes occurred. However upon arriving at her new school Rinna finds the squad is on the brink of falling apart from lack of members, and the Captain initially does not want any female members despite his desperate situation. So it’s up to Rinna to force her way onto the squad and then take on the School’s elite “platinum” members to restore the squad to its former glory.
This series has characters with personalities that feel reasonably well rounded, I don’t think any single character fell entirely into a standard 2-Dimensional stereotype for me. Each character had moments where the reader glimpses something more than their most noticeable surface traits. The best character for me was actually probably the heroine, she was straight forward and wasn’t too woeful and self-pitying when events turned against her. Plus I love the heroines that are considered good looking by their peers right from the start. But the squad captain Hasekura came in at a very close 2nd as my favorite character . I have no complaints about the art style in this series. I think the characters were drawn with enough different/unique features to make them distinguishable enough from each other. Basically the faces didn’t feel like they were copied and pasted with different hair from each previous character. This mangaka was also especially good at drawing the main heroine and all the (potential love interest) boys with enticing good looks. The series also gets points for taking such an old school and manly tradition like the “Cheer Squad” and making it into a dramatic shoujo.
Dragon Girl is a well paced shoujo series with a solid plot, I highly recommend this series to fans of shoujo. Yen Press continues to impress me, they brought over a shoujo I hadn’t heard of yet that turned out to be a great read. Not only that, but the entire series was condensed into two omnibus volumes! I can’t remember the last time I had a shoujo series that didn’t string me along for 10+ volumes. So to have a complete and satisfying story in so few volumes is a wonderful surprise for me. I don’t think there is a single Yen Press release that I’m not at least interested in owning lately. Although to be honest the only reason I noticed this lovely little series was because of a review in OtakuUSA, I guess I should renew my subscription after all.