|Yamada Tarou Monogatari
|Yamada Tarou is a
"binbou," or a poor person. In the shack of a
home, he has six younger siblings and a hopeless mother.
The father has a bad habit of leaving for years without
notice to the family. Therefore, Tarou is the default
provider for the household, even though he is just a high
school student. But he is the oldest at seventeen with
none of the other children in school yet (when the story
begins). Despite the harsh times, the family is truly a
happy bunch and easily pleased.
Because of his good mannered nature and handsome appearance, Tarou is believed to be a very wealthy person. He never once says this himself, and in fact admits he is a binbou, but other students think he is a kidder and rather eccentric (like most wealth people tend to be). It helps that this is a school that requires quite a bit of money to go to. Only one person sees Tarou for what he is, and Mimura becomes his best friend. Mimura appears to be a rather emotionless person, but he does care for the Yamada family.
Eventually, a few other people learn of Tarou's true status, but otherwise, everyone treats him like a prince. His good looks really help to feed the family since the girls always bring Tarou a bunch of food for lunch. Valentines Day and Christmas are big hits at the Yamada household with all the goodies Tarou brings back home. But Tarou doesn't let any of this attention get to his head. Actually, he is somewhat oblivious to it all in a smiling, happy-go-lucky way. He is a true nice guy that tends to finish last.
The story is wonderful since it is shoujo, but it doesn't follow the rules of shoujo whatsoever. There will be the typical panel with Tarou holding a dog or rabbit in a sparkly, shoujo way, and then the next panel will have him drooling all over the said animal with pictures of dinner in his head. It's also hilarious how the students treat him like the eccentric, know-it-all rich son. When they find out that he didn't buy but made his school uniforms, they applaud his skill. When he "plays" a binbou in a school festival film, they admire his acting abilities (Mimura has a big laugh over this one). But Tarou is never once ashamed of his status. He excepts it as life and works with it, which is rare to find in shoujo manga. This is just a hilarious series that breaks all the limits of the shoujo class.
Rating -- 9