A high school student named Seiji watches the tennis club practice through a pair of binoculars. He’s focused on one person in particular: the club captain, a girl on whom he has a huge crush. Seiji is shy and timid around girls, so he’s content to look at her…until a tennis ball smashes him in the face. As it turns out, that wasn’t an unlucky shot. It’s a challenge for him to break out of his shell and become a man worthy of the girl he loves. Created by mangaka Kei Sasuga of Domestic Girlfriend fame, GE: Good Ending is a digital-first release from Kodansha. Does it live up to the Domestic Girlfriend hype? Find out in our GE: Good Ending volume 1 review!
Interestingly Good Ending was actually Kei Sasuga’s first series; Domestic Girlfriend became such a big hit that it prompted Kodansha to bring her previous series to English-speaking audiences. We’re getting this series late, but it’s far better late than never. The title “Good Ending” is a reference to dating sims, where the ‘good ending’ is what you get if you make all the right choices with your target girl. In many ways, that’s what Seiji is going through.
Seiji is your typical high schoolboy. He’s shy and nervous around girls and isn’t very athletic or popular. Not a bad guy, just not really the hero type.
Shou is the object of Seiji affection. The captain of the tennis club, she’s friendly and energetic, and also pretty clumsy.
Yuki is Shou’s teammate in the tennis club. Seiji get’s more than he bargined for when he meets Yuki.
Good ending? Good story?
Shortly after his run-in with the tennis ball, Seiji is chatting with his friends when Yuki walks into the classroom. She sees the bandages on his face, realizes that he was the one watching the girls through binoculars, and immediately calls him out on it. The tennis ball to the face wasn’t an accident. While Seiji was busy looking at Shou, Yuki spotted him and fired a tennis ball at him like a guided missile.
Still, Yuki is curious. Is Seiji just a pervert? She grills him for a while and quickly discovers who it is that he is looking at and why. Yuki makes him a deal: stop using the binoculars, and she’ll show him a spot where he can watch the tennis club activities from without being seen. A grateful Seiji accepts the offer, and that’s the end of their relationship. Right?
GE: Good Ending volume 1 spoilers
Not quite. Yuki never had any intention of letting Seiji watch Shou from the shadows. She snatches him from his hiding place and loudly proclaims that the tennis club has found a new member. Backed into a corner, Seiji agrees. And since the tennis club is hurting for members, Shou is thrilled. She tries teaching Seiji some basic techniques, which ends in disaster, as he is unable to hit the ball even once. And, having humiliated himself in front of the girl he likes, he decides to do the only thing he does well: run away.
The next day, Yuki sits him down and demands to know why he ran. His answer: he isn’t an athlete, and he isn’t popular. Joining the tennis club would bother Shou. Plus if she found a boyfriend, all he would do is be happy for her.
Yuki, however, has no empathy for his plight, because she doesn’t see him as a naive, unlucky boy. She sees him as a coward and Yuki hates cowards and has no trouble making her feelings known.
Ordinarily, Seiji would wilt under this kind of challenge, but Yuki’s words spark something in him. He joins the club and starts hitting the tennis ball against the wall thousands of times every day to build some level of skill. And as he makes these efforts and does things he was ordinarily too scared to do, he slowly begins breaking out of his shell and starts becoming the kind of man who might – just might – win Shou’s heart someday.
Of course, Yuki isn’t done with him yet. She knows the goal, and she also knows how far away Seiji is from it. But she is determined to get him across that finish line, even if she has to drag him through hell to do it.
Little by little, however, Seiji begins to change. At first, it’s because someone else is pushing him, but after a while, he takes up the torch himself and starts running with it. Seeing that is a revelation, as it rarely happens in a romance manga like this – especially not this quickly.
The art of GE: Good Ending
The art style is fascinating. GE: Good Ending has a shoujo manga feel, especially with the female characters, all of whom have realistically-shaped-but-still-oversized eyes. This gives them all an alluring look, which is essential, given that the girls are the real stars in this kind of manga.
That said, the guys are incredibly well-drawn, too. Seiji and his friends have distinctive, expressive faces and images, and it’s easy to visualize them as a real group of high school boys.
The backgrounds are nice, if not overly detailed. The characters are the stars here, and the backgrounds set an effective stage.
Is GE: Good Ending volume 1 worth reading?
Absolutely. In the tagline, I called Good Ending an “anti-harem shonen romance”, and that’s true. There isn’t a whiff of harem activity here. Normally in a manga like this, the hero would display some unusual skill or talent, and slowly but surely, all kinds of girls would start falling for him. There isn’t a single girl like that in this book, however. No childhood friend is secretly in love with him but too shy to say so. There’s only a tennis club captain who is happy to have a new member and a devious girl who is helping him for her own reasons. Seiji, after all, is average. And average guys don’t attract beautiful girls.
It’s already one of my favourite debuts of 2020, in a year with many quality titles.