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LDK Vol. #02 Manga Review

6 min read

LDK Volume 2 CoverI wonder if it’ll be a long battle for me too…

Creative Staff:
Art/Story: Ayu Watanabe
Translator: Christine Dashiell
Lettering: Sara Linsley
Editing: Ajani Oloye

What They Say:
Aoi appears to finally be coming to terms with her feelings for Shusei. But before she can come to a conclusion, she witnesses a shocking scene between Shusei and a beautiful woman. However, it turns out that Shusei is not the only one who’s popular with the opposite sex, as a younger rival enters the fray and vies for Aoi’s attention. One boy is enough of a headache, but what will Aoi do with two gorgeous boys as love interests?

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
After a nearly six-month long break following the dreadful first volume of L DK, I decided that it was about time to revisit the series in hopes that the second volume wouldn’t fall into the same pit of “Wtf?” as the first one. I was wrong. The second edition of this sloppy mess of a shoujo series gone wrong is just as painstakingly dreadful as the first, highlighting important childhood themes like chauvinism, dominatrism, and falling in love with someone because honestly they’re just too gosh darn attractive.

When we last left off, Aoi and Shusei had moved in together (After only knowing each other for like three days) because Shusei’s apartment was destroyed and that’s what normal people that just met each other do. After one thing leads to another, some random mystery girl shows up and latches on to Shusei, leaving Aoi suspended in disbelief until the next volume when this happens:

You can tell by Aoi's face just how serious things are getting.
You can tell by Aoi’s face just how serious things are getting.

Of course, Aoi is accepting of this because she is no stranger to familial relations, living alone in some random Japanese suburb, and then goes on to explain how she and Shusei are only together for the time being because of the condition his apartment has fallen into. Just kidding. What Aoi really decides to do is tell Shusei’s sister that the two are actually dating because in all honesty she just wants this woman out of the picture in case Shusei is a total siscon or whatever. Onee-chan isn’t letting her off the hook that easy, though. Instead of accepting the gravity of the situation and leaving the two “lovers” to their own devices, Shusei’s sister decides to tell the two that they essentially need to get it on in front of her in order to get her to leave. What.

This manga is rated “13+” so there is no actual copulation that is EVER going to occur, but that doesn’t stop Shusei from trying because he is such a manly man. After about six failed attempts at molestation, Aoi finally decides that things are going too far and that she must pull the plug, exposing the real truth to Shusei’s sister (Honestly, I don’t even remember if this girl had a name). Following a quick “I told you so” from Onee-chan, she leaves anyway because the plot needs to advance and we only have enough room for one more main character this volume.

Oh yeah, and then there’s a basketball tournament or something. This chapter doesn’t really matter because it just gives Watanabe the chance to draw Shusei and Aoi alone and without their shirts on.

Some time later (Not really sure how much), Aoi is walking home in the rain when she comes across another hot dude sitting on the steps of the school. He immediately confesses his love to her because this is a shoujo manga and Aoi is suddenly thrust into a world where she must choose between two super-hunks with personalities that ultimately stem back to just how hot they are — just this one is into bestiality or something like that. I don’t know man, he keeps asking Aoi if he can be her pet or whatever. It’s weird, bro.

The next major plot point (Pfft) comes when Aoi and Shusei take a trip to the zoo after someone gives them tickets (Becuase the zoo is a place that you buy tickets to in advance). After spilling the beans about the random hot guy who confessed to her, said random hot guy immediately shows up because he is also a stalker. Either that or he went to the zoo all by himself which would be very sad. Good news, guys! He and Shusei actually know each other! The three teens make their way over to a petting zoo with only dogs and we learn the valuable lesson that dogs also love really hot dudes. After several decently drawn Pomeranians, Hot Guy #2 (His name is Shouta, by the way) leaks the secret about why Shusei is so aloof and mysterious as Watanabe tries to get you to sympathize with a borderline rapist. Shusei was apparently dumped by some girl named Satsuki who then went on to marry his brother (Who I hope had more of a personality).

After this secret gets out, Shusei’s apartment is finally fit to be lived in again and he promptly moves out. And…Shouta forces Aoi to let him live there instead because it isn’t fair if she only lets one creep have a shot at some 13+ action. But instead of trying to literally force himself on Aoi like Shusei did, he dresses up like a dog and makes her breakfast because that is how you win a woman’s heart. Then, in a completely unprecedented turn of events, he goes on to sleep in the closet because Watanabe really wants you to see how kind and affectionate this guy is. I mean, who cares if he’s trying to mentally force Aoi into falling in love with him as long as he doesn’t actually touch her, right?

Aoi finally wins a tough inner-struggle and decides that she would rather be molested by some guy with zero personality and good looks than even talk to a guy in a dog costume and she walks over to Shusei’s apartment and bashes a chair through his wall, forcing him to move in with her again. It is then revealed that Shusei is totally over Satsuki and he’s been working overtime in order to buy Aoi some cheap-looking necklace that he uses as an excuse to pass out on top of her, proving that it is okay to make physical advances on a girl as long as you buy her something nice.

In Summary:
This is probably the worst thing I’ve ever read. In a totally non-preachy way, this manga shows young girls that they are nothing more than objects to be used and abused by dudes who try and make themselves appear more human by having real feelings and slightly believable pasts. As if that wasn’t enough, Watanabe attempts to persuade the reader to believe that Aoi has a choice in the entire scenario when, in all actuality, she’s choosing between two versions of the same exact dude based on nothing more than how hot she thinks they are. It’s not even just the content that’s horrid, it’s everything. Even the text gets cut off on various pages — not like it matters considering the vast majority of it is just Aoi being toyed with in totally platonic, not-at-all sexual ways. I was being nice when I gave the first volume of L DK a C-, but I don’t know if I will be able to sleep at night if I give this anything other than what I’m about to.

Content Grade: F
Art Grade: C-
Packaging Grade: C
Text/Translation Grade: D+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: December 15th, 2015
MSRP: $10.99

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