Ako and Bambi 1 Needs Vibrant People to Be Better

Ako and Bambi 1 cover of Bambi in a street.

While the idea behind the series is exciting and has potential, there is not enough chemistry between the characters.

Ako and Bambi 1 has a fascinating premise that keeps readers guessing what is happening. Based on this, seeing how long the story lasts will be interesting. There are moments when it drags or feels forced. In addition, the characters feel flat. However, the potential paths and questions about what is happening allow Ako and Bambi 1 to hold sway over readers. 

Created by Hero, translated by Jan Cash, and lettered by Rachel J. Pierce, the first volume spans twelve chapters. The Yen Press manga explores the fascinating and odd pairing of Yuu Kojika, nicknamed Bambi, a young struggling novelist who meets a ghost, Ako. However, it is not that simple. While Ako’s presence is fortuitous as Yuu needs writing material, there’s more than a ghost story in Ako and Bambi 1.

Ako and Bambi 1 Has a Ghost with a Question Mark

When Bambi first meets Ako, he assumes that she’s the spirit of someone who lived there before he moved in. He did hear that a young woman took her own life, one that Ako says departed to seek payback against her ex. But where Ako differs from other ghosts is that she has no recollection of her past. In addition, she is still alive. Or someone who closely resembles her. For readers of the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine, this might remind you of another story with a ghost who is not yet a ghost.

Plus, the live Ako recalls ghost Ako’s interactions with Bambi. Ako and Bambi 1 clearly distinguishes between the two. Ghost Ako’s personality is more outgoing, whereas the living Ako struggles to talk and make friends. Although she does have one friend who cares about her, she struggles even with him. As the mystery broadens and Ako and Bambi get to know each other, others, including Bambi’s old classmate and his current editor, start to come into the group. 

Not Enough to Care

Ako and Bambi 1 cover of Bambi in a street.
Ako and Bambi 1 cover. Courtesy of Yen Press.

While the idea behind the series is exciting and has potential, there is not enough chemistry between the characters. Possible emotional moments wind up delivered as though reciting the weather. Bambi’s backstory with a classmate feels like a forced conflict for the story. The same goes for refusing to disclose the ghost Ako the truth. So, the story sometimes drags, stemming from the issue that there is little about the characters that inspire readers to care. If Ako and Bambi wants to pull readers in, there must be both stakes plus emotional range and depth in the characters. 

A Premise Worth Seeing What’s Next

Although the story lacks compelling characters at the outset, the potential for a mysterious story is present. However, both of them need to stand out more. Their personalities are wooden. Not to mention, given their flatness, they are interchangeable. If not for their appearances, it would not be easy to differentiate between them. This is especially true with the Bambi and the living Ako. Ghost Ako is a bit livelier. Ako and Bambi 1 could build an engrossing story that shifts what many believe about ghosts. But without characters for readers to invest in, it’s lackluster at best. 

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