Wild Ones, vol. 1 by Kiyo Fujiwara
Series: Wild Ones #1
Published by Viz Media, LLC on December 11th, 2007.
Genres: Manga, Romance, Young Adult,
Buy Links: Amazon | B&N
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Sachie Wakamura just lost her mother, and her estranged grandfather has shown up to take care of her. The only problem is that grandpa is the head of a yakuza gang! Too scared to join her new family, Sachie tries to continue living her normal life. She can’t run far though, since one of the most popular guys in school is part of her grandfather’s gang and her new protector. No one at school knows about Rakuto’s hidden life, and soon Sachie finds herself falling for her bodyguard. But she’s the granddaughter of Rakuto’s boss, and he can never show his feelings for her. Can Sachie find a way to fit into her new family and grab her chance at love?
Please note: reads right to left (Japanese Style)
Manga is one of my most expensive obsessions, so when I spotted the first four volumes of WILD ONES at my local used bookstore for only $2.70 a piece I greedily snatched them up. I’d never heard of Kiyo Fujimara’s works, but I knew from the synopsis they’d be right up my alley. I love anything to do with the Yakuza (Japanese organized crime) and this one did not disappoint.
Sachie Wakamura’s mother passes away and leaves Sachie homeless—or so she thinks. Her estranged grandfather shows up and before she knows it, she’s the precious granddaughter of Razo Asagi, the Yazuka Boss of the Asagi clan! Her life receives a drastic makeover. To make things even more uncomfortable, she’s been assigned a beautiful and very flirty new bodyguard who keeps calling her “princess” and is so flamboyantly loyal she can’t trust a word he says. Or can she?
Rakuto: You are a precious princess. I’m prepared to give my life, if that’s what it takes.
/Sachie angrily stomps up to Rakuto and chucks her book bag at his head, narrowly missing hitting him in the face./
Sachi: Don’t say things so lightly! There are people who wanted to live but had their lives taken from them. If you’re prepared to give up your life, then you should devote it to living to the fullest instead!
Rakuto Igarashi, said bodyguard with a not-so-easy job, was an interesting guy. He’s the least Yakuza-esque of the bunch, but he’s also the most passionate about his job. The others are plenty passionate, but you get what you see when it comes to the others in the clan. You know exactly who they are the moment you spot the gaudy getup. Rakuto is the wild card (pun unintended). He looks like more like Student Council President (he is) than Yakuza member. And he’ll do anything to keep his princess safe.
If you think the Yakuza are scary…you ain’t seen Sachie the vigilante. She’s a scary gal when she spots others doing wrong—or someone in need of help. Sachie was a wonderfully developed character for shojo manga. There are many different facets to her personality. She’s both independent and strong, shy and hesitant. I liked her more than I thought I would. She’s not one to allow others to fight her battles for her – which lands her into some intense situations.
There is just something so refreshing about the Asagi clan – a fierce loyalty and deep respect of the boss that you just don’t see often in American culture. It’s familial and comforting. I love this clan of overgrown henchmen! Yeah, they’re technically bad guys, but if anything, WILD ONES has shown that you can find good in anyone and nothing is as black and white as it appears.
If you’ve read much shojo manga, you’ll realize it very rarely surprises you. It sticks to a few different formulas when it comes to plot and character development. It’s very character driven and thin plot-wise — reality will never get in the way of a happily-ever-after.
This book was a very surprising emotional whirlwind. It had me laughing my ass off, melting from adorableness, and sniffling from heartbreak. The plot might not be the most original, but it was so clever and memorable I can’t wait to binge read the rest of the series. Kiyo Fujimara has a new fan and I can’t wait to read more!