Title: Gaba Kawa
Alternate Titles: ガバ・カワ
Author & Artist: Takada Rie
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo, Supernatural
Volumes: 01 (Complete)
Demons like Rara are supposed to cause mischief in the mortal world and draw humans into darkness. They’re not supposed to help mortals and they’re definitely not supposed to fall in love with them! But that’s just what happens when Rara enters high school, where a hot guy named Retsu Aku calls her “Gaba Kawa”! All information came from Manga Updates. This blog post will contain spoilers please read after the cut if you’ve already read the manga.
Somehow, this survived me moving all the time in many different places and such. However, it’s one manga that I absolutely must have with me at all times! Why? It’s just a one shot, right? There’s other works by Takada Rie that I should very well be reading (or already completed). So why Gaba Kawa? Why does this manga stick with me?
Because it’s perfectly paced, adorable, and it’s still somehow really funny to me as an adult!
The whole thing is that Rara came from the demon world, seemingly, to drag mortal souls to Hell – but really, she just wanted to be with Akusawa Hiroshi, supposedly one of the top demons in the underworld. Rara has a friend/enemy named Bibi that she seems to compete with until the end.
A lot of people I’ve talked to, who had at least read this oneshot, had said that Retsu Aku suddenly saying “I love you” to Rara was kind of unexpected but, the reason why I love this oneshot so much, is because it’s not only gradual – but you can see his love actually grow! It’s just really subtle for the most part – I almost missed it myself but when I realized that, yeah he was starting to have feelings for her but he’s not really forward with his emotions like Rara is. And that’s why the two of them work!
The comedy is really well done – I can easily relate to her feelings/situations (trying so hard to impress a guy but always end up being clumsy or it falling apart) and I just really have a ball with Rara’s reactions! It’s clear that she was never really meant to be a demon – straight from the beginning, she was more excited for causing little mischievous deeds than actual evil deeds.
In the end, after Rara disappears, somehow Retsu finds her real self, a girl named Sara who had been stuck in a coma for six months prior. I actually kind of wished the oneshot would explain how he found her and still be able to attain her memories.
There are few manga that I think would make perfect anime (unless it’s already animated) but this is definitely one of them. I think this could probably be easily a 12-13 episode series (maybe 26 if we actually focus on the budding relationships on not just Rara and Retsu, but her relationships with Kayato, Bibi, Rara’s demon mother, and even the demon world itself) and they wouldn’t need to take anything out – just add some things that’s nuanced between changing mediums.
I don’t understand how no one else couldn’t have read this manga and thought it was adorable! There were some parts that were funny with Retsu and Kayato – the classmates think he’s gay because he hangs out with Kayato a lot because of his powers (although, I do have to complain that they never really specified if Retsu had psychic and the ability to see ghosts or just seeing ghosts – but I’m being a little nitpicky there); and because of that, and in an effort to get him to join their club, a club actually sent Retsu their best looking guy as an “offer” to join.
It’s kinda messed up when you think about it but they didn’t go farther with that gag anymore than they had to – and I’m glad it didn’t because that would have been slightly homophobic (well, a little more than it kinda was).
Well, Rara tried to dress up in a boys’ uniform to impress him but she even admitted it was a stupid idea.
I also liked the idea of Retsu and Rara sending ghosts to heaven instead of hell (and Rara freaking out about it).
Ugh, though I just adore this manga! It’s short and sweet and to the point. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but it’s serious when it needs to be. The ending is really sweet. The pacing was really well done. The art (especially the chibis) might take some time to et used to but no major complaints. The characters are actually pretty memorable. I only wish I could get to know some of the characters more but that would cut time in between Retsu and Rara and it was short enough as it was. I hope one day, though, that someone would read this review and would understand my feelings about this manga. It’s too cute and Takada Rie made a world that’s just too fascinating to just leave it as a one shot!