Hen: Strange Love – Manga Review

Japanese Title: Hen

 

Genre: Yuri Romance Drama

Length: 8 volumes

 

Positives:

  • Absolutely nothing.

Negatives:

  • At eight volumes, it’s too long. At one volume, it’s would still be too long.
  • Hideous artwork. When you can’t even keep a character’s eyes straight, you should get a different artist. (See first image below)
  • So many creepy characters and relationships.
  • The worst comprehension of human nature ever put to manga paper.
  • Insufferable protagonist and the most idiotic support cast.
  • Several useless subplots that masquerade as main plots.
  • Thinks that lesbianism comes from being raised in a largely male environment.
  • Protagonist sleeps with an eleven-year-old boy. No one bats an eye.

(contains high levels of nudity and sex)

I didn’t think it was possible to find something as bad as Hen Strange Love outside of fan fiction. Hell, there’s plenty of fan fiction superior to this. Where to begin? I nearly died of laughter on first page when I am told this character is unbelievably beautiful, but is drawn in the most hideous, lopsided art. Informed attribute if I have ever seen one.

Chizuru likes to manipulate men to get whatever she wants from them and has never been in love, but that changes when new girl Azumi joins her class. Chizuru becomes hell-bent on going out with sleeping with (let’s not pretend here) Azumi by whatever means necessary. You wouldn’t know this is the plot when reading the first volume, as it instead follows Chizuru’s perverted teacher, who invites her back to his place to sleep with her. What follows is the dumbest – the dumbest – interaction between two characters I have ever seen. She gets naked for him, they exchange the worst dialogue imaginable, they play rock-paper-scissors (taken seriously), arm-wrestle, and in the end it is irrelevant to the overall plot. They could have cut the first seven chapters, most of volume one, and it would have had no effect. This teacher only makes a couple of cameos for the remainder of the series.

The greatest crime in Hen Strange Love is Chizuru herself. I have tried, but I cannot think of a more insufferable character. Snookie from Jersey Shore, the whiny kids in any disaster movie, Jar Jar Binks, Andrea and Lori from Walking Dead, all have nothing, nothing on Chizuru. We are constantly told that she is amazing, the most desirable girl to any man, yet she is quite simply a bitch. Even if the art didn’t make her look like a sloughing lama, beauty only makes you attractive to strangers. Once anyone sees your personality, all that beauty vanishes. With Chizuru, there isn’t even a moment of beauty – she’s a bitch in her very first scene. Furthermore, there’s no way she would get away with being abusive and assaulting her teachers and classmates; however, because this is clearly the author’s fantasy, everyone bends over for her. Sleeps with an eleven-year-old boy? Aww, how cute. Bullies a kid in school, hijacking his film project? Wow, she’s so amazing! “Natural” double-Ds for a fifteen-sixteen-year old in a country of As, said seriously, not as a gag? Of course, she’s the exception. Ability to turn lesbianism on and off? That’s how it works! (*sarcasm) I wish Revy would blow Chizuru’s head off to remind us what a good character looks like.

Then there’s the gay guy introduced later who wants to sleep with a little boy (or has he already done it? The writing is so bad it makes this unclear). The guy then goes to the boy’s parents to ask for permission to marry him. Now, what do you think any parent would say to this? Call the police? Castrate the guy and string him above the front porch as a warning? At least tell him to GTFO? Nah, that’s unreasonable. How about they just say no because they don’t like the guy being famous. Sounds fair. (Just kill me now.) Of course he’s famous and no one questions him. Of course he can turn being gay on and off at will. Of course.

Complete arse.

Art – Very Low

Should have gone with stick figures. That face. I can’t stop laughing.

Story – Very Low

How is this even possible…

Recommendation: Have to read it to believe it. When teaching, I would use this as an example for what awful writing looks like. Art teachers could do the same.

(Find out more about the manga recommendation system here.)

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