Time to ease myself back into blagging. So recently, if you’re following me on Twitter you’ll have noticed that I have not been shutting up about Special A. Special A is a shoujo manga that I decided to pick up while waiting in between chapters of Ouran. The setting is a lot like Ouran: everything takes place at a high school for the rich and elite, except the rich factor isn’t done as over-the-top as Ouran.
Because of this though, we see a lot of similar situations. We have the students trying to please their parents and grandparents, doing things like maintaining a certain rank, doing work to prepare for when they take over the company, getting into arranged marriages and so on or screwing around at one of their many private villas. We also have the typical Japanese high school scenarios: athletic festival, cultural festival, or the Golden Week holiday.
What makes S.A. different from Ouran is the focus on the characters. Understandably, Ouran focuses on Haruhi and her relationships with the rest of the Host Club and especially the romantic development between her, Kaoru (well, not really anymore), Hikaru, and Tamaki. As of the last manga chapter, this still hasn’t been resolved. But the other characters have been receiving very little development as they are reduced to simply being helpers to the main players.
Special A has a more even gender ratio among its cast of characters. What ended up happening is that pretty much every major character is now in a romantic relationship and we get chapters that focus on the development of each one. It’s still clear that the main relationship is the one with Hikari and Kei, but it’s nice to see some focus on the other characters. And with all of this development of the side characters, they’ve changed from slightly boring to fairly interesting and fleshed out. There are some characters in Ouran that I really don’t care about. This has not happened in Special A.
Finally, a word about the anime adaptation. It is pretty terrible. I was halfway through the published chapters when I decided to take a look, so I had a pretty good feel for the characters and the story. The first thing I noticed was the awful OP. Ouran’s OP made me think twice before watching because of all the flowers. This OP was just bad. The second thing that I noticed was that the voices for Kei and Hikari did not fit at all. Kei is far more laid back than Lelouch NIPPON Lamperouge and Hikari should sound much more aggressive than Mi-mi-miracle Mikurun-run. The third thing was the terrible insert song, in the same vein as the OP. And finally, even in the first episode, the anime was already cutting and pasting the manga storyline all over the place. And from what I hear, the ending of the anime is not going to be very satisfying at all.