It’s part 2 of round 5 of SSS. In part 1, we saw that Black Bird and Sadist stuck with what they started in chapter 4. Tonari goes the same route and fails for the third time, which means it’s time for it to get kicked off this feature. Meanwhile, Hot Gimmick toys around with the idea of a more assertive Hatsumi, but ultimately doesn’t commit to giving her any character growth. Nonetheless, it results in a much more toned down chapter. From part 1,  Sadist also was quite tame (but incredibly boring) and only got a C+. Black Bird did manage a B- though; thanks to the super creepy behaviour from the rival love interest!

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

Tonari really seems to want to push this taming animal thing on the volume covers, huh.

Tonari really seems to want to push this taming animal thing on the volume covers, huh.


  • Chapter 5 is the start of volume 2 of Tonari, and in keeping with the trend started in volume 1, volume 2’s cover features Haru on a leash. Whip him into shape good, Shizuku! (more…)

It’s been awhile since my last Substandard Shoujo Spectacle, but I do wish to try and continue this column, even if some of the manga are getting downright painful to read *looks at Suki Shite Sadist* The theme for chapter 5 of both Black Bird and Sadist seems to be more of the same. Black Bird is continuing down the “Nice Guy” justification it started up in chapter 4; and Sadist is continuing to pile up on cliches and shallow mellow drama.

Black Bird

  • This manga sure likes reminding us of Misao’s predicament. The little blurb about her fate has been repeated in almost every chapter so far. Oh, Black Bird‘s author, have a little faith, I’m sure most of us are smart enough to remember this obviously crucial information without you repeating it at the start of every chapter.
  • Um, do the students not find it strange that the new transfer student (our dear third wheel) is whispering stuff to the teacher? If I had seen a fellow classmate whispering with a teacher during class, I’d find that really odd.
  • Rival tries to kiss Misao “as a joke.” Hahaha, right?
  • By the way, when Misao kisses a monster, it gives him energy. I wonder if this works on female monsters too? Not that we’d see any yuri in a manga so intensely heterosexual in its smut. But it does make one curious.
So damn hot.

See, Kyo’s such a catch because he hasn’t raped Misao yet.

  • Just to let us know once more what a darling Kyo really is, the author makes the rival pin Misao to a wall and threaten her by saying he won’t wait for her feelings. Once Kyo is gone, he will make her his bride. Also darn it, I love how “bride” is being used here as a code word for sex slave. Black Bird sure loves these little code words. Demons want to “marry” Misao and make her their “bride”. My if I didn’t know better, I would think these words are being used so that the reader won’t be utterly turned off by the idea of being a magical demon sex slave.
  • Guys more reasons why Kyo, even though he’s a possessive jerk that can’t keep his hands off Misao, is so much better than rival: The rival attacks Misao to make Kyo take the blow! See, he’s a coward and cowards are so not hot.
  • “No matter how much you hate me…Misao, I’ll protect you. I won’t hand you to anyone else!” – Kyo. SWOON MY LADY HEART! SWOON! He is possessive because he cares! Nothing like that cowardly rival!
  • Guys see! That stunt he pulled back in chapter 3 is ok because he cares so deeply for Misao that he risked his life and doesn’t want her using her magic blood to heal him. He doesn’t want to see her hurt physically, but I guess emotional scars are a-okay? Cause he basically scared her half to death in chapter 3.
  • “If I don’t have you, then there’s no meaning in living” -Kyo *cue major Twilight flashbacks* Also am I the only one that finds this creepy? I’m always a bit put off whenever a character, male or female, is depicted in a way that suggest their lover is the be all and end all of their existence. Yes, love is important, but it’s not the *only* thing of importance to a person’s life.
  • Monsters are a-coming, so Misao you better become mine. Romantic~


I think now is a good time to publish all the stats on bad story elements I’ve been collecting while doing the Substandard Shoujo Spectacle feature. The story elements have, once again, been organized from most prevalent to least prevalent for easy ranking/comparing (and for elements with the same number of instances, it is alphabetical). Any new element is also in italics. There is also now a total next to how many instances have occurred since the last update (back when the feature started), so you can compared how many times something has occurred in total and just these last 3 chapters. I hope everyone finds this as interesting as I have.

Story Elements Breakdown:

Verbal Abuse/Name Calling {Any instance where the heroine is called stupid, ugly, bitch, etc. by her potential love interest}

– 16 instances; 6 manga // Total-to-Date: 18 instances in 6/7 manga
– Found in: Black Bird [chap.3], Suki Shite Sadist [chap.2, chap.3, chap.4], Hot Gimmick [chap.3 (x2), chap.4], Hadashi de Bara wo Fume [chap.3 (x2), chap.4], The Beautiful Skies of Houou High [chap.2], & The Devil Within [chap.2 (x2), chap.3, chap.4 (x2)]

Heroine must be Saved {Heroine is rescued from whatever distressed situation she is in by a man}

– 5 instances; 3 manga // Total-to-Date: 11 instances in 5/7 manga
– Found in: Black Bird [chap.2, chap.3, chap.4], Hadashi de Bara wo Fume [chap.3], & The Devil Within [chap.2] (more…)


The rankings so far from best to worst: Hot Gimmick with an A, Suki Shite Sadist with an A-, Black Bird with a B+, and finally Tonari no Kaibutsu with an F.

Hadashi de Bara wo Fume

  • As per shoujo tradition, we must now have Sumi sulk about how Soichirou called her a poor girl and disgusting. To add an extra oomph though, Hadashi has Sumi say he’s scary. Just sulking isn’t enough, she got to find him scary too!
  • Thinking about the oh so inspirational words of her knight (aka Nozumu), “You must not cry again. Because a smile will always bring happiness to you, okay?” Riiiiight. Not like, oh I don’t know, striving for something or having loved ones brings you happiness. Nope all you need to do is smile. You know, maybe I’m crazy here, but don’t you smile when you are happy and not the reverse?
  • When Soichirou enters her room, Sumi is all bewildered about why he is in there. Yes, more of this awesome historical accuracy again.
  • She wants to sleep on the floor? Well she can’t cause Soichirou is running this show and he forcefully picks her up and places her on the bed. Oh and we have to have this one tense moment where Sumi thinks Soichirou is going to force himself on her, but really all he’s doing is checking whether she has her night gown on backwards. See, I knew Hadashi wouldn’t miss putting in some rape-y undertones somehow!
  • More threats from Soichirou about throwing her into the sea. Granted these are written in a way that is lighthearted, but it sure doesn’t look like Sumi thinks they are empty threats, and that’s what counts, I feel.
Hadashi - female skills

The only important thing for a wife is cooking. Good wife, good cook/servant.

  • Hahahaha, oh god. OF COURSE! Of course this manga must have silly naive little Sumi go down to the kitchen in the morning to strut her WOMINZ SKILLS. And of course her food is absolutely A-MAZING. But cold Soichirou orders to throw it out cause proper ladies don’t cook. They have other ladies do that for them. (more…)

Last time we had lessons in Nice Guys™ and Alpha Males thanks to Black Bird and Suki Shite Sadist respectively. Black Bird only got a B+ this time because it toned down a lot of the more questionable elements, while Suki Shite Sadist continues the problematic framing earning itself another A-. This round we shall be tackling chapter four of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, which continues to remain good; and Hot Gimmick, which continues to show us just how great Ryouki is!

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

  • Ah, seems we got ahead of ourselves last chapter. Shizuku quickly says her proclamation of love was a lie. Haru acts somewhat out of character by actually understanding what’s going on and teasing Shizuku about being shy. I, I’m not sure whether the author knows what she wants to do with Haru…
  • Another rescue scene for Shizuku. Haru takes care of the guys that were his “friends” before and who were bothering Shizuku and Sasahara in the store.
Tonarui - Personal Space

Personal space? What’s that?

  • Haru once again forgets this little thing we like to call personal space. (more…)

We’ve reached Round 4 in Substandard Shoujo Spectacle. As per usual, Black Bird and Suki Shite Sadist continue to show a lot of potential in the questionable tropes and scenario department. In fact, Black Bird was so kind as to demonstrate the lovely logic of the Nice Guy™, while Suki Shite Sadist decided to cover the classic tale of Alpha Male dominance. Clearly, it must have been fate that these two are the first two manga that start off each and every round of Substandard Shoujo Spectacle.

Black Bird

Black Bird - chapter 4 cover

Bound, blindfolded, and afraid: the ultimate fantasy!

  • A tied up, blind folded Misao crying. What lovely covers we have! (more…)

Welcome to the final part of round 3! Last time we had our very first failure (F) from Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. Meanwhile the other three manga all reached into A levels: Hot Gimmick with an A-, Suki Shite Sadist with an A, and Black Bird with an A+. This batch is a bit more varied, ranging from A-to-C.

Hadashi de Bara wo Fume (Stepping on Roses)

  • The chapter 3 cover asks us if there is any happiness for the marriage without love and then proceeds to talk about “a stream of love and romance”. Yes, let’s take the story in the most stereotypical direction possible. It’s not like it would be interesting to see Sumi coping with such a hard choice like choosing money and the safety of her family over freedom and happiness. Nope. Waaaay more interesting to see her hit the jackpot in terms of happiness with no sacrifice necessary.
Our non-consenual kiss, now in glorious COLOUR!

Our non-consensual kiss, now in glorious COLOUR!

  • That non-consensual kiss is so important that it needed to be repeated at the beginning of chapter 3 and in colour! (more…)

Time for Part 2 of Round 3. Last time we looked at Black Bird and Shite Suki Sadist, which got an A+ and A respectively. Both chapter 3’s romanticized possessive males. Hot Gimmick continues that lovely trend with its cover for chapter 3. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, on the other hand, continues to improve and actually manages to fail to have enough BS to actually get a passing rank this chapter!

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

  • Of course there’s something wrong with you Shizuku. You just got the memo that “you need a man to be fulfilled” last chapter. Even good old dad notices!
Let's be clear, Shizuku is totally not smarter than Haru. He wasn't even trying, see!

Let’s be clear, Shizuku is totally not smarter than Haru. He wasn’t even trying, see!

  • Haven’t been convinced that Haru is smarter than Shizuku yet? No worries, this chapter makes sure we know it by informing us the only reason Shizuku place number 1 on the last mid-term was because Haru forgot to write his name on the exam paper and he slept through it! (more…)