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LDK, Vol. 1

LDK, Vol. 1LDK, Vol. 1
by Ayu Watanabe
Kodansha Comics, 176 pgs
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

When her parents relocated for work, Aoi chose to stay in her home town. Now living alone in an apartment, Aoi’s basically your typical high school student. Things are about to change though! After her best friends asks out Shusei, the hottest guy in school, and is coldly rejected, Aoi discovers that he’s now her next door neighbor! To make matters even more complicated, circumstances quickly force Shusei and Aoi to share an apartment! From Ayu Watanabe comes Kodansha Comics’ latest Shojo series, LDK, Vol. 1!

LDK, Vol. 1 feels like the platonic ideal of a shojo manga comedy. The volume is one cliche after another and the result is an incredibly bland and forgettable read. Most of the tension and conflict in this volume comes from Aoi’s slowly developing feelings towards Shusei and her loyalty to Moe, her friend who also has feelings for Shusei. Unfortunately none of it feels very tense and Aoi’s feelings towards Shusei end up feeling like they’re feeling dictated by the plot rather than any sort of natural development of her character. Shusei, for his part, is your typical shojo male lead. He’s a nearly perfect, incredibly hot guy who’s outwardly cold, but secretly soft, gooey and sensitive in the middle. The two have zero chemistry and Shusei’s flirtations and playful antics usually come off as kind of creepy and lame.

A page from LDK, Vol. 1

Behold, the power of food!

Ayu Watanabe’s artwork doesn’t help things either. It’s equally bland, lifeless and stiff. Backgrounds are present, but when it comes to the Aoi’s apartment and the scenes with Shusei and Aoi sharing it, they fail to really reinforce how cramped and small it must be. There’s no real sense of size, which seems rather important given that the cramming the two into such a tight space is played up for laughs. The character designs match this and feel incredibly generic and uninspired.

In the end, LDK, Vol. 1 is a rather bland and forgettable shojo series. It’s not a horrible series, but at the same time it doesn’t feel like it’s offering anything new or different. It’s incredibly flat and lifeless and will probably end up inspiring nothing but bored indifference in its readers. Given the quality of some of the other shojo series Kodansha’s got out right now, I’m really a little surprised that this got picked up at all.

LDK, Vol. 1 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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