Hey guys! It’s me again haha. Who else can it possibly be right 🙂
For this week, I decided to review this manga called Penguin Brothers. Its status is ‘completed’ so if you’re interested to pick up this manga (or rather, your phones/tablets to read this story haha), you won’t have to worry about it being incomplete and wait for new chapters.
The author of Penguin Brothers is Shiina Ayumi and the genres are comedy, drama, psychological, romance, shoujo and school life.
The story revolves around Mishima Hina, who returns to her old home town after nine years and enrols in Tokiwa High School. After following her artist uncle around the world for so many years, she just wants to settle down in her new school and have a peaceful school life. She isn’t allowed to have that though, as she soon comes to discover that this particular high school has a very strange system. The students in the school either wear white or black uniforms to symbolise their loyalty to either the leader of the Whites or the Blacks.
The two leaders, Isshiki Shoui and Nishizaki Kaito hate each other and no one dares to oppose them. There is a third group, though, a group called the Greys, people who choose not to stand on either side and wear their own clothes to the school. However, to become a Grey is not an option: anyone who decides to become a Grey gets bullied and tormented until they give up and leave the school.
Refusing to stand on either side, Hina openly declares that she would be a Grey and immediately catches the attention of the entire school. When she gets bullied, she decides to stand up for herself and declares war on Isshiki and Nishizaki, announcing that if she manages to gather more Greys than Whites or Black by a certain time period, she’d take their uniforms and burn them in the middle of the school grounds.
The two leaders agree, sure that Hina will never succeed in her revolution. And so, the revolution mission begins.
Along the way, Hina gains allies with her genuinity and straightforwardness. Also a bit of a dumb happy-go-lucky person, Hina starts to find her way into other people’s hearts and soften them into liking her as well. Never looking back, Hina pushes forward, even when faced with brutal threats and bullying. And in the end, the girl who was once looked down upon as a weak little girl who was doomed to fail in her mission ends up as the strongest player who had won the hearts of many.
Okay so right from the beginning, I really thought that Penguin Brothers was a lot like a certain famous manga that included a female heroine declaring war against male students who are leaders of a certain group in the school, promising to change the school and knock some sense into their rotten attitudes. (Anything come to mind guys?)
Yup, if you get what I’m trying to get at, that famous manga is one of the most popular shoujo mangas of all time, Hana Yori Dango.
I loved Hana Yori Dango, I really did. Tsukushi was a brilliant female lead with a strong character and tough personality to boot. (Yay for strong female characters ^^) Without them, the whole world would have this misconception that girls are weak, useless beings that are always relying on the guys to save and protect them. Which shouldn’t be so. Women are just as strong and what’s more attractive than a girl that is strong, confident, has a sweet personality and yet doesn’t let anyone get her down? That is sexy, I tell you, sexy. Even if she is a little dense.
There wasn’t much romance in the story even though it was used throughout the story. Although it was revealed by the end of the story that Hina had won the hearts of Koishiba and Isshiki, nothing ever developed from her side. Perhaps her inexperience in love made her uncertain of discerning her feelings for her pursuers, or perhaps Hina was just not interested in love and wasn’t ready to think about having a boyfriend yet. Or maybe, it was her moving to France that made her never consider reciprocating any of the guys’ feelings since she was going to move away anyway. The romance on Hina’s part is kind of fuzzy but maybe Shiina Ayumi wasn’t going for a romance story as a central genre for Penguin Brothers.
Which is fine with me, because Hina doesn’t look mature enough to handle a romantic relationship just yet, with her happy-go-lucky personality and desire to spread happiness to the people around her. Though I don’t think I’d have minded if the romance was pushed a little more. In a way, I think the romance level the story reached is just enough and I can’t even explain why it feels that way. You have to read the story to see it for yourself 🙂
I was quite disappointed after I’d completed the story and realised that Hina didn’t carry out that one significant act that she’d declared she would do to signify the triumph of the Greys – her triumph over Isshiki and Nishizaki. Remember how she said she’d burn their uniforms in front of the whole school to show that she’d won? Yep she didn’t do that in the end and I was so looking forward to that.
A great twist in the story was the revelation of Isshiki’s past. Since Isshiki is a character that doesn’t speak much and mostly kept his distance from other characters, not much is revealed to us about Isshiki’s background in the beginning and he is quite a mysterious character. When it was revealed that Isshiki was the one who was tormented as a young boy way more brutally than Nishizaki, who thought that he had it worse, I was really surprised. I hadn’t expected the ‘legitimate’ son to turn out to be uh, illegitimate? And the illegitimate son Nishizaki remains um, illegitimate? Boy, this family is really messed up, seeing as the father in the family cheated on his wife and had a mistress, which resulted in an illegitimate son and the mother cheated on her husband, resulting in a son that her husband doesn’t love.
That is my guess on this messed up family’s background, since the structure of Nishizaki and Isshiki’s family isn’t stated really clearly.
The comedy is really good, mostly involving Hina’s one-track and dense mind as well as her love-hate relationship with many of the stiff characters, such as Iijima Yutaka and Isshiki Shoui. Here’s a scene involving Koishiba and Hina after finding out that Isshiki was the one who released Nishizaki from his ropes.
HAHAHA her one-track mind is amazing.
And here’s another situation whereby Fujishige Gou reveals Iijima Yutaka’s past relationship with Nishizaki to Hina and tells her not to tell it to anybody else but when Hina lets it slip to the person herself…
And a few chapters later:
Oh Hina why didn’t you just remember to keep your mouth shut hahahaha
All in all, this is a pretty decent manga, similar to Hana Yori Dango with a strong female lead and male ‘rulers’ in the school who eventually warm up to her and come to like her in the end.
(The characters were attractive enough and the comical caricatures of them in funny situations were amazing)
Story line: 7/10
(Though I didn’t really like the ending much, I can’t say that it really bothered so much until I hated the whole story. I did like the story as it reminded me of Hana Yori Dango but I think the explanation of the story details and the flow could have been better)
Chapter length: 8/10
(Within a range of 28-32)