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Short Sunzen!: Volume 1    by Susugi Sakurai Amazon.com order for
Short Sunzen!
by Susugi Sakurai
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2008 (2008)
Paperback
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Susugi Sakurai's Short Sunzen! is a shojo manga about unrequited love, unusual in that the unrequited love in on the part of the boy, not the girl. But this is the only thing that makes Short Sunzen! stand out from other manga.

Satsuki Kurokawa is a pugnacious high school girl who has no problem taking on bullies or beating up thugs. Aya Sendo also gets into a lot of fights, although he does not seem to relish them as Satsuki does. With their similar personalities, they appear to be a perfect match but only Aya can see this. Satsuki just thinks of him as a friend and is constantly trying to get him a girl, not realizing that she is the only one for him. Volume 1 tells of how the two met in freshman year and have stayed friends up until senior year without Satsuki ever discovering Aya's feelings for her (even though they are obvious to everyone else).

The reader knows that Aya likes Satsuki because Sakurai tells us so, but never really conveys the feeling in anything other than words. Her artwork falls short of showing the reader how Aya feels a technique that could really heighten the reader's emotional connection with the characters. Because of this, Short Sunzen! does not grab the reader as many other shojo romances do.

While the love between Aya and Satsuki may not be so obvious, the feelings between the two characters in the bonus short manga at the end, Girl Boy, really come through. The desire the female protagonist has for her crush is almost palpable, which shows that Susugi Sakurai is capable of creating a gripping love story, even if it does not come across in Short Sunzen!

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