DearS Vol. 3
Somewhere between Cannon God Exaxxion and Chobits rests DearS, a lavishly illustrated yet unabashedly familiar sci-fi love story.
A little more than one year ago, an alien spacecraft crash-landed on Earth in the Tokyo Bay. After the people of Japan noticed their incredibly polite behavior, they decided to start to refer to the humanoid beings that emerged from the ship as “DearS.”
They quickly offered citizenship to the space faring beings, and began to integrate them into Japanese society.
DearS are easy to mistake for humans from afar, but upon closer inspection, there are distinctive traits that distinguish them from mankind. First of all, each one of them is breathtakingly beautiful. They also sport a collar with a triangular metallic tag on the front, as well as triangular markings on their foreheads.
Somehow, they have an instinctive ability to grasp new languages almost instantly, a trait that went a long way towards easing their transition into Japanese culture. They are studious, hardworking and singularly devoted to helping others.
More surprisingly perhaps is the revelation that these physically perfect beings were bred to be slaves.
The story begins when Takeya, a teenage guy living on his own, saves Ren, a DearS. When he first meets her, she doesn’t speak Japanese, and even after she learns the language, she has no knowledge of the proper way to behave in Japan.
This hurdle does not keep her from declaring herself Takeya’s slave, however. The only problem is that he doesn’t want a slave. Even though Ren is just his type (he likes busty women), the chaos that follows her arrival, from her enrolling as a student at his school to explaining to his little sister why he’s living with girl, bothers Takeya considerably.
As undeniably interesting as the backstory may be, it still has a few too many similarities to other series for this to be a groundbreaking new tale. Blending elements of a harem comedy with the type of plot that puts a young boy in control of the destiny of an impossibly attractive woman who knows nothing about the local culture, DearS is something we’ve seen before.
Even though this manga invites comparisons to Chobits, Please Teacher, Ah! My Goddess, Mahoromatic, and any other story pairing a romantically inexperienced boy with an otherworldly or robotic love interest, it holds up rather well.
Peach-Pit’s lovely art certainly adds to the legitimacy of DearS as a distinct work. From the very expressive characters and the exciting action scenes, the most appealing visual quality of DearS is the numerous beautiful characters –- both male and female.
Some of the characters are impossibly buxom, such as Ren and Takeya’s exhibitionist teacher, Mitsuka-sensei, who rarely misses a chance to undress in front of her students. Then there are more realistic female character designs –- such as Miu, another DearS, and Neneko Izumi, a childhood friend of Takeya.
Peach-Pit doesn’t neglect the female side of the audience either, with the inclusion of bishonen-style male DearS, such as Khi.
Considering how much the lovely art drives the appeal of this series, it’s nice to see that TOKYOPOP did not replace any of the original sound effects with large English equivalents. This truly is a series that’s worth getting merely for the artwork -– although the story and characters are entertaining on their own, as well.
Although DearS may be guilty of the sin of unoriginality, it is still a series worth reading, at least in the story’s beginning. Honestly, it would be good even without the superbly crafted beautiful characters and the various compromising situations that they manage to find themselves in from time to time. The story’s fanservice alone won’t be able to keep every reader interested if the series spans too many more volumes, but as the plot develops, it’s starting to look as if there’s more to DearS than some very pretty faces.