"You cannot go into battle believing you will lose."

Akisame Koetsuji
(Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple)
Vitamin Review
The other time was my first review on an anime, so this time I am going to write a review about a manga. I am going to write a review on one of my favourite manga called ' Vitamin ' authored by Keiko Suenobu. Most manga readers, if it comes to their top favourite manga, it will be very rare to see a one-shot story or an only a volume manga as their favourite. Vitamin is a manga with one volume only (surprisingly with only 3 chapters) and I was quite surprised by myself either, that this manga just get to be listed in my top ten favourite.

The main character from Vitamin, Sawako Yaramizu

Title: Vitamin
Volume: 1
Chapters: 3
Published: August 13th, 2001 until October 13th, 2001
Genres: Shoujo, Drama, School, Slice of Life, Psychological
Author: Keiko Suenobu (Story & Art)
Serialization: Bessatsu Friend 

Wait, where is the romance tag? Isn't shoujo manga usually about romance?
Ohohoho~ Surprise! Well, I cannot deny the fact that almost every shoujo manga is about romance, but there are also some shoujo manga out there, focusing on life instead, and this one is definitely one of it. The author of this series is famous for being a mangaka (comic artist) that write 'different kind' of shoujo manga. All of her works are great and surprisingly they are mainly not about romance and very realistic to the core. I am sure you have read the word 'psychological', which a part of its genre. This might be the strongest asset in the manga. I repeat, 'psychological' is the strongest asset in the manga. 

I would love to recommend everyone to read this manga, but, I think this manga is not really suitable for young readers like middle schoolers and below. Despite it has the tag 'shoujo' which means the marketing is for 'young girl', but I think it's more suitable for high school teenagers and above. It has mature content and the violence in this manga is something else. It can affect you emotionally, like it did to me. 

So, what the manga is all about?
The beginning of the story makes you think that this is just a typical high school girl story, hanging out with friends, has a sweetheart lover, a caring family... or it just seems so. One day, it took to the dark turn. Our protagonist, high school student Sawako is caught in a compromising situation. As a result, the other students in her school bully and ostracize her to the point she looks to suicide and drops out of school. A brilliant story that centres on the very real and very damaging issue of bullying and the resulting trauma. The struggle of her life, where everyone she trust turns against her.

Judging by the picture that I show you above, you might think that Keiko-sensei's art style is just like any other shoujo manga. This is where you are very wrong. The strength in Keiko-sensei's art is that she can conveys strong emotions, intensity, raw, the uniqueness that no shoujo manga have. With the story goes, the art makes you can feel the emotions that the protagonist had. The tension, scared feeling, lonely, madness, envy, triumph and more... all of that, what I got and what I felt throughout reading an only a volume with 3 chapters manga. 

But what Keiko-sensei was lacking in this manga is, the 'same-face' syndrome. Most of the characters in this short manga has the same faces with different hairstyles. But I understand that why she was lacking in this since Vitamin is one of her early work, and for what I have seen in her current work like LIMIT, Keiko-sensei already break through that weaknesses.

Love those stares <3

The protagonist, Sawako is just your ordinary high school girl. But what I like about her is, she is normal, nothing extravagant, has flaws, makes mistakes, struggling, and evolving, which make her, very relateable to most of us. Simply, a very realistic character.

As for the antagonists of the story (basically almost everyone lol), yeah I know they kinda more dramatic, but that doesn't mean that kind of people not exist. I really like how Keiko-sensei make a bold criticisms to the nowdays school system. Sawako's teachers and principals are clearly only worried about how well the students will perform on tests and don't seem to realise (or simply ignore) the pain the girl is going through. Her salvation will be reconnecting with her childhood dreams that all the pressure and padronization of school killed. Also need to point out the criticisms towards parents who manipulated the child to become what they wanted, and without realising that they also killed the child's dream and hope. But yeah, I do think that the bad guys here are too dramatic to be honest but as I said, that doesn't mean that kind of people doesn't exist.

Overall Rating
Even though, it is in my Top 10 list, my rate on this short manga is 9/10. I love almost everything about it, but it's still a little lacking here and there. But Vitamin is a very good short manga. 9/10 is a huge rate for a short manga. 

If you have read the manga, feel free to drop your opinions about it in the comment section. Im open to different opinions. I also would love to know your feedback on my review in this blog. Thank you for reading.

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