Friday, January 2, 2009

Ichigo 100% Ending Review

I'm a very neutral person, I can be unbiased when making decisions. This is what allowed me to be president of my school's debate team as a senior. What follows is my review of the manga Ichigo 100%'s ending, which I feel was terrible.

If you haven't read it, don't read this post. But what happens is that Manaka ends up with Nishino Tsukasa. Supporters of this relationship were THRILLED! But I am not. Aya should have ended up with Manaka and its fairly clear why.

Manaka's first love is Aya for her beauty and artistic ability. She loves writing stories and he loves directing movies, two VERY compatible jobs and hobbies. Accidently, Manaka asks out Tsukasa believing her be the one he was looking for (she is not). They have a very awkward relationship and it's hard to see Manaka or Tsukasa liking the other. They even break up appropriately. Near the end, they get back together but not much changes. There might be some closeness developing between the two but its minimal. They still can't kiss or do much without awkwardness.

However, some things become apparant. Without Aya's great stories, Manaka is a lousy director and would fail at being a director. Also, Aya needs a person of inspiration or her novels are bad, that character is Manaka. When they take a psychic combatibility test, Manaka and Aya are perfect for each other. This, among several things, all build up towards the end. It seems clear, that this being a harem novel, that Aya and Manaka are perfect for each other and will end up with each other.

WRONG! Manaka stays with Tsukasa, a noble idea but thereby destroying everything. Tsukasa leaves to Paris for over a year (for her own goal) and Aya and Manaka are left to fail at their goals. Sounds like a great ending no? Even astrology picked Aya for Manaka but the fool ignores that.

I did not like the ending at all: Manaka and Tsukasa were not a great couple. I love Tsukasa, she is great but you cannot say she was a perfect person with Manaka. Those who say they like the ending most likely just didn't want to see her get hurt. That's acceptable but not how a story should unfold. The proper ending for Tsukasa would have been her getting together with that handsome and kind chef who could help her acheive her OWN goal: making great cakes.

Of course, I tried to justify the ending. I remembered a character (Mizuru) saying that Manaka's weakness was his indecisiveness! So I thought that the author was being intelligent and making a theme: don't be indecisive, it destroys your and everyone's lives. It was clearly supported but I wanted to make sure, by finding out what the author was thinking.

I read her comment and in a summarized form: She felt Aya and Manaka were perfect but decided at the end that Tsukasa would be better. So she failed as an author...she lost her consistency. If she wanted Tsukasa and Manaka to be together, she should have given them more similarities and not have her be the destruction of Manaka's goal. She should have made Aya less perfect and not reinforce their coupling even a chapter before the great plot twist (Manaka picking Tsukasa). That feels like a huge cop out and only foolish Tsukasa supporters like it. They only like it because they didn't want to hurt Tsukasa, not because they were so blind as to think they were a good couple.

So that's it, the author failed at the ending. A great manga destroyed by the ending. Poor judgement makes thousands of supporters upset. For those reading Ichigo 100% now but don't want this disappointing end, there IS a fan made Aya ending. Here is a youtube link (it might not work anymore) that has it. If it doesn't work, search for it.

In the end, I feel even Kita (whatever her name is) would have been an acceptable person: she at least shared things in common with Manaka, like Aya shared his dream. Tsukasa shared nothing and her goal actually bad for him. What a terrible waste and end for a great manga. I won't add any more evidence (though I have plenty). Feel free to argue with me.

PS. Manaka didn't even like her, that's what I think. He never goes to see her (avoids her even) and even drops her hand when he bumps into Aya. He is relieved Aya doesn't have a boyfriend and constantly ignores Tsukasa. He FORGETS she is going to France and is distant emotionally from her. He knows there is something wrong with their relationship and even says they will start over when she comes back.

To mangaka: If it was going to be Nishino, don't make it seem so blatantly Aya then. You should have had more distant with Aya and made the relationship with Nishino better. they were awkward, he dropped her hand, he was relieved about Aya's single status. Heck, he had to restart his relationship with Nishino because it was such shit. That's how bad Nishino's relationship was developed. Develop it next time so they don't seem so bad together.

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