Cy-Believers Volume 1 by Shioko Mizuki

Jacket Copy: Rui has just transferred to a new school, and hopes to make friends quickly. What better way to do that than by joining a few clubs? Unfortunately, it seems that most of the social groups around campus have been recently shut down — by the boy who just happens to be Rui’s fiance! Still, determined to get around her controlling, selfish betrothed, Rui starts a new club that won’t be so easy to get rid of. Welcome to the Cy-Believers!

I had a difficult time reading this manga. Usually I’ll polish off a volume in one or two sittings, but I must have picked up and put down Cy-Believers six or seven times before I finished it. There was something off about the pacing in this manga, I think it tried too hard to be funny and ended up being frenetic and erratic instead. Rui has transferred to a new school and the only way she could leave home was to go to the same school that her fiance attends. Natori is head of the Public Safety Commission and he abuses his power by closing many of the school clubs. He also has an unwholesome way of paying attention to Rui, as his idea of wooing a woman involves pinning her down on a sofa and instructing her to have his babies.

Rui meets an odd group of people that have banded together in response to Natori’s persecution. Three identical looking girls called the Believers are an offshoot of the public relations club. The Believers spend their time in a dark basement doing side jobs like sewing up stuffed animals in an attempt to raise club dues. Rio and Azumi work in a secret room next to the Believers. They enjoy repairing computers. Rio seems to be attracted to robots a little too much, and Azumi is followed around by hundreds of spirits. Azumi and Rio often rescue Rui from Natori’s unwanted attentions.

The art in this manga seemed a bit rushed. I don’t usually complain about a lack of screentone in manga, but often characters were talking to each other with just blank space in the background. The lack of backgrounds in many panels just gave me an un-anchored feeling while reading the manga. There were a few funny events in Cy-Believers. The three Believers function like a hapless Greek chorus. Azumi secures protection for the new club by submitting to the romantic attentions of the Student Council President. I think if Cy-Believers had taken some ritalin it might have become an entertaining comedy manga. As it is, it was just too unfocused and spastic to capture my attention. If I want to read funny manga I’ll stick to My Heavenly Hockey Club or Cromartie High School.