Excellent. Pure brilliance. Applause.
These are the first three terms which come to my head after just reading I’s (pronounced Ai-zu) volume 1. I haven't been so mindlessly shocked by excellence since Hot Gimmick (which is only slightly better than this). Basically, I'm in love with this series. No wonder the author's other works (including Video Girl Ai and DNA2) are so popular!
The whole book oozes quality, surprising from Viz's usually abysmal Shonen Jump range. The art is beautiful and unique the whole way through, it’s a bit like Hot Gimmick, Happy Mania and Battle Angel Alita rolled into one excellent drawing style. The story is also a master-piece of teen literature - it starts with an average guy with a crush on a cuter than average girl, however, this girl gets all the wrong impressions of him making her think he's a pervert, but when they are forced to work together they get to know each other and things unfold in a semi-unpredictable turn of events. Basically, it’s a rom-com, but this is by no means a Happy Mania for teens - it’s much more comparable to classics like Kare Kanoand Hot Gimmick. I’s is one of the few truly hilarious manga and definitely one of the best rom-com manga series out there.
Each page has been beautifully written, directed and presented to the point where reality and fantasy are blurred to a believable idea of male hormones. The story, however, definitely not one for the girls - this is a male teenage geek's comic and should be read so. It is, while not totally perverted or explicit, heavily based around male desires and there are plenty of references to perverseness. However the characters, art and romance is for everyone! Anyone can enjoy the deep realism and characterisation. The characters are deep and - for once - 100% completely totally undeniably believable, we've all been (or maybe just me) in similar positions that the lead character is in and know the horror, feeling and ideas. The "hero" isn't the suave, sexy, cool and funny guy from most rom-coms - he's the creepy, life-like, hormone controlled kid from real life.
All in all, I’s excels in everything it tries and is definitely essential, at least for the male market. Its funny, exciting and interesting with the characterisation of Hot Gimmick, the romance of Kare Kano and the style of Happy Mania (although not nearly as explicit), I’s is definitely a keeper. Go. Buy. Now.
However, the one real fault comes after the main story - the bit which says "volume 2 coming in July" is depressing, as with 15 volumes I'm gonna be 18 by the time this series finishes and its damn hard to wait 3 months for each chapter! Everyone go get it and they may decide to bring it out sooner...