Dragon Girl Omnibus Volume 1

Dragon Girl Omnibus Volume 1 by Toru Fujieda

Some manga creators have the ability to make cliched stories so much better than they have a right to be. Toru Fujieda managed to make Oyayubihime Infinity, a convoluted shoujo series dealing with pop idols, reincarnation, and butterfly birthmarks, both involving and interesting. Dragon Girl is a fairly standard reverse harem manga mashed up with sports storylines and the always present evil student council, but the characters and situations she creates are genuinely endearing and funny.

The heroine of Dragon Girl is Rinna Aizen. She’s determined to join the Shoryu High Cheerleading Squad where her father was once a legendary captain. When little Rinna confesses her intention to a boy named Subaru, he tells her that she’s an idiot because Shoryu is an all-boys school. Years later Shoryu has been forced to go co-ed and Rinna is enrolling. She quickly finds out that the Cheerleading Squad of her dreams has fallen on rough times. The only member of the squad left is the eccentric captain Hasekura, who stalks around the school wearing his cheering uniform, along with a weedy mustache that he’s grown in an attempt to live up to his idea of manliness. The class president says that the Cheering Squad will be disbanded do to lack of members, and Rinna promptly volunteers. Hasekura is dubious about the prospect of female squad members, but Rinna is like an exceptionally cute, energetic steamroller and soon there’s a ragtag squad of students learning traditional cheers and fighting to get their club status returned. The evil student council tries to stamp out the Cheering Squad and attempts to make Rinna into a pawn by giving her “Platinum Student” status.

Fujieda has a knack for creating sympathetic but slightly quirky characters. In some ways Rinna is a typical energetic shoujo heroine, but what sets her apart is her admirable quality of total commitment to cheering, and her fearless approach to throwing herself into situations that others might find embarrassing. She approaches chicken fights, waving improvised flags, friend trivia contests, and trying to win over fellow Platinum student with the same amount of cheerful determination. Even though there’s a large supporting cast, they all had distinct personalities. Hasekura acts like a ridiculous manly stereotype, but his feelings towards Rinna evolve from grudging respect into something more. Rinna’s fellow cheer squad members include the cool Chizuri and Temari who has a pathological fear of men. Rinna’s first love Sakura makes a couple enigmatic appearances as a model-like boy who goes everywhere with his pet cat. Rinna’s antagonists include the evil student council president, a crossdressing boy who forms a rival cheerleading squad, and a Platinum student named Yaotome who deliberately holds himself apart from other people and claims to hate women.

Dragon Girl is a total reverse harem series with a large cast of cute, goofy and mysterious guys. Fujieda’s distinct and attractive character designs make the art a pleasure to look at. The details about traditional cheering were interesting, and like most Yen Press editions there were translation notes included at the end of each volume. After reading three volumes of this series I wasn’t sure who I wanted Rinna to end up with, and I could see different possibilities for a potential boyfriend for her, which I think is a sign of a good reverse harem series. It might not be groundbreaking shoujo, but for what it is Dragon Girl does extremely well. It was fun being able to dive into the story and read three volumes all at once. I will be definitely be buying the second omnibus which wraps up the series. Highly recommended if you are looking for some new fluffy shoujo to read.

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  1. […] One of my pleasant discoveries late in the year was the omnibus edition of Toru Fujieda’s Dragon Girl. I enjoyed her series Oyayubihime Infinity from CMX, and Dragon Girl makes a slightly goofy premise (girl infiltrates a traditional Japanese cheering club) much more enjoyable than you might think. Rinna’s relentless pursuit of excellence in cheering and total lack of embarrassment even as some of her classmates attempt to pick on her are admirable, and Fujieda manages to create an interesting reverse harem story with plenty of humor. I’m looking forward to the second and concluding volume when it comes out later in the year, and I think the double omnibus edition will make a great addition to any fan of silly shoujo. I haven’t seen this title get as widely reviewed as other shoujo titles recently, so this is my under the radar new shoujo pick. […]

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