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Kimikiss Vol. 1
Author: Ross Liversidge

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.

Kimikiss Vol. 1

Taro Shinonome

Based on a popular dating sim for the Playstation 2, Kimikiss is a romance manga that follows two childhood friends as their feelings develop.

Koucihi has never kissed a girl, and is starting to feel the pressure to find himself a girlfriend. With couples sprouting up everywhere, he needs help, and fast. Luckily for him, one of the school's hottest girls, the flirtatious and outgoing Mao is a childhood friend, and with a little help from her "Mao lessons", Kouichi will become a stud in no time. But is Mao being entirely honest about her own feelings?

One of the best things about this book is that it's entirely self-contained. There are other books in the series, but to my knowledge each deals with a separate relationship, and subsequently the book reads in a concise manner. This is a refreshing change from those manga that can draw a relationship out over 30+ volumes (I'm looking at you, Ranma!)

It helps that the book is very well written - for the first time in years, I actually feel as though a manga reflects my own high school experiences - it was always the girls that had the confidence and set the pace, but Kouichi, while shy, isn't the usual pathetic loser manga heroes are usually portrayed as either. There's a real, believable spark between the leads, and the flirtations carry an extra resonance because of it.

This leaves us with the artwork. It's tremendous. Everything I love about the manga style of drawing is represented here - clear, sharp lines, beautiful use of form and some dynamic, attractive page layouts.

Whilst it was the art that made me pick the book up, it was the storyline that made me fall in love with it. It's romantic, steamy, direct and heartfelt, and as a self-contained book, it's an absolute gem.

A beautifully drawn slice of romantic life.
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