Friday, December 28, 2012

Comic Review: Aki Alliance

Bit of a weird title here, I think it's actually a print book but well over a year ago I was linked to where you could read the whole thing online, read a bit, did some other things, and never read the rest. Lately I've been trying to clean up my "webcomic to read" folder so I tried downloading the book to see if that made it a bit easier to read (it didn't, you have to continuously scroll down, I was hoping it would be in separate pages for ease of reading). And then I decided to just get through it in one go since with as many things as I have going on these days I'd probably just forget about it for months again otherwise, the problem with having a large backlog.

Aki Alliance by Ryan Estrada

Summary: Aki has a problem, well, two actually. The first problem is that she has tried out and quit just about every club in school. The second problem, spawning from the first, is that she has no friends from alienating every girl at school by doing this and she wants to make friends. So one of the girls in her class proposes a challenge, make friends with every girl in the class before they graduate and Aki accepts.

The Good: When all is said and done the story has a pretty good sized side cast and despite the fact that most of them only appear a few times they all felt distinct and individual. Rounded? Ehhh, that varies but it certainly didn't feel like Aki was running into the same few stereotypes over and over and these character interactions literally carry the story. The other bit that carries the story, in my opinion, is the humor and it's present in spades throughout the entire story. It's zany, only sometimes grounded in logic, and certainly makes the story more entertaining, although I'm not sure I would actually label this story a comedy so that fact that the humor helped carry the story for me isn't a good sign.

The Bad: I was rather frustrated with the ending, it ended up being what I would point to as an example of "telling not showing" which isn't a good thing to be. Aside from that, I was disappointed by Aki in the end. No I didn't expect her to grow and change that much in the story, that's not her character, and she did change a bit but only the smallest iota (that ending more of less proved it). So, what was the point of this story then? It's not heavily plot driven, it's character driven with characters who don't change much, whom I also didn't find entertaining, am I missing something here?

The Art: Half of the chapters are done in what I'd call the stories "normal" art style and the other half are done in wildly varying styles which sometimes match up with the chapter at hand and other times don't. I think I would have been a bit more forgiving of these shifts if they had been more evenly spread out, the other styles appeared more and more as the story was going on and to me it felt like Estrada was growing tired of his story and was having to spice it up any way he could (which I'm sure wasn't the case but the thought did cross my mind). Again, this is just personal preference on my part, and some of the art styles really did match the chapters at hand really well, but I wish they had been more evenly spread out.

In the end I give this just 2.5 stars out of 5. Should you read it? Weeeeell it's free, but then again you can find free anime streaming and free books on Amazon and I wouldn't recommend you consume all of those, there's some real tripe out there! In the end this just wasn't a story for me and I can see it appealing to more of a middle grade audience but even then this wouldn't be the first thing I'd think of if asked to recommend titles for middle schoolers. 


  1. You opened the downloaded file in your browser? The long scrolly version is just how a browser displays a PDF. If you open it in any pdf reader, you can read it page by page!

    1. I'm trying to remember, since this was a few months back, but I think I downloaded it and then read it in Preview (a Mac application that opens up a lot of different image files) and that it was still one long stream. Because yeah, having it as separate pages would have made it a bit nicer to read. XD