It was a hard choice to pick the first title to start my new feature. In the end though I decided to go with Akkan Baby.
This short three volume series is one of a bare few that actually do well as a short series. What’s more the story and characters are well developed and fun to follow.
by: Miyaochi Saya
Original run: August 2004 – January 2005
In My Dreams is a new feature that covers titles that are unlicensed and will, most likely, remain so, and I’m sad to say that Akkan Baby is a perfect example of that.
As a three volume series you’d think it would be a perfect grab for a publisher, however due to it’s content it’ll probably never see the western shores.
The series follows a teenage couple who, frankly, are pretty dumb. They fool around and she ends up pregnant and they now have to decide whether to have an abortion or to raise the child.
As you can imagine that’s why this series will never be licensed. Teenage pregnancy is a bit of a taboo in the west, and a manga that seems to promote, it in any form, would never be licensed.
The two leads, Shigeru and Yuki meet at a indie group’s live and impress the band by following their speeding car on a push bike (no you’re not reading that wrong).
They end up as friends of the band, following them around and generally having fun. Things go well until our hapless leads find Rui and Nina from the band having adult fun behind the bushes 😀
Naturally since Shigeru and Yuki idolise the band so much, especially Rui, they decided to mimic what they were doing. And well, our two hapless leads experienced sex for the first time, in a rather awkward way.
Unfortunately since they are pretty dumb they don’t really understand what they’re doing and it does get out of hand. Ultimately the big thing happens, Shigeru ends up pregnant and all hell breaks loose.
Initially Nina and Rui are the only ones that know, and Rui shows his adult side by talking to Yuki, while Nina talks to Shigeru. (A bit late on the advice IMO hehe).
Things start to get worse however when they finally build up the courage and go to tell Shigeru’s parents. More hilarity ensues when her father turns out to be as emotionally immature as Shigeru and pulls a runner.
Yuki’s dad arrives right in the middle of this, seems he’s an absent parent being away for long periods of time for his job. When he finds out what his son was up to, he beats the hell out of him.
However in the end things get resolved, sort of, and while reluctantly both sets of parents settle down to support the kids.
Life being what it is though things don’t get easier. A new headmistress takes over the school and she’s a strict disciplinarian. When she finds out that Shigeru is pregnant, she expels them both.
What follows is a battle of wills between Shigeru, Yuki and their parents against the headmistress. The older students decide to take advantage of the situation to run riot to drive the new headmistress out. And…..for the ending you’ll have to read it 😀
So what made this series appeal to me?
It’s simple really, a lot of manga these days are high fantasy, sci-fi, and even the normal, slice of life sort of stories don’t really get into the nitty-gritty real life sort of stories. Only a few really do, most tend to skirt around romance and the results.
This was the first series I’d found that took a very serious topic, teen age pregnancy, and explored it. Sure it has a lot of comedy in it, but it needs that so as to act as a release for a lot of tension that builds up.
I was especially impressed with the character development that the two leads go through over the course of the series. They both go from idiots, to a couple really trying to make it right and work.
they don’t suddenly become super parents, rather their changes are hard earnt and I loved watching Yuki learning how to make formula and stuff.
Both Shigeru and Yuki go through a lot of hardships trying to come to terms with their screw up, but I felt it was handled really well.
The art of the series is pretty basic, and well, wild. But then the entire three volumes are really wild and fast paced. The art fits it perfectly.
Yet even while being wild, there are times when elements of serious art are used. These moments have all the more impact because of it’s nature. and at times all the more touching.
Sadly, because it’s dealing with a huge taboo it’ll ever be licensed and will most likely all ways be an “In My Dreams” title.