Tag Archives: Shojo Beat

Kamisama Kiss Vol 1

Title: Kamisama Kiss/Kamisama Hajimemashita

Author: Julietta Suzuki

Artist: Julietta Suzuki

Genre: Comedy Fantasy Romance School Life Shoujo Supernatural

Status: Ongoing

Nanami Momozono is alone and homeless after her dad skips town to evade his gambling debts and the debt collectors kick her out of her apartment. So when a man she’s just saved from a dog offers her his home, she jumps at the opportunity. But it turns out that his place is a shrine, and Nanami has unwittingly taken over his job as a local deity!

– ShojoBeat

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Read the sypnosis? Reminds you of something? Yes, there are certainly quite a number of plots that begin with the protagonist been kicked out of their homes and parents running away – how very convenient to start off an adventure. A fantastic formula I say; you get rid of the parents and the relatives, then you’ll have nothing to bind the main character down. They’re free to do whatever they want – such as living with a youkai. Now that’s pretty normal. Continue reading

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Otomen Vol 1

*May contain spoilers*

Title: Otomen

Author: Aya Kanno

Artist: Aya Kanno

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Slice Of Life

Status: Ongoing

Asuka Masamune is a guy who loves girly things—sewing, knitting, making cute stuffed animals and reading shojo comics. But in a world where boys are expected to act manly, Asuka must hide his beloved hobbies and play the part of a masculine jock instead. Ryo Miyakozuka, on the other hand, is a girl who can’t sew or bake a cake to save her life. Asuka finds himself drawn to Ryo, but she likes only the manliest of men! Can Asuka ever show his true self to anyone, much less to the girl that he’s falling for?

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My goodness, when was the last time we posted one of our reviews? It must have been donkey years! Well, I do find them difficult to write – and when I finally do get down to it, I leave my draft to arawr for a whole check-up before it goes live (I’ve always wanted to say that – ‘it goes live,’ hehehe). 

Otomen is among one of the tankōbon that I’ve bought blindly in the past (I don’t do that anymore) and I was lucky I enjoyed it! It’s a story that focuses on a male protagonist instead of a female, which is pretty rare for a shoujo/school life/romance manga (without action) – but what I found most appealing was the feminine qualities portrayed by this male protagonist that makes him Otomen. Continue reading

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High School Debut Vol 1

Title: High School Debut/Koukou Debut/Osananajimi wa Gakunenchou/Koko Debut

Author: Kazune Kawahara

Artist: Kazune Kawahara

Genre: Comedy,Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Slice of Life

Status: Completed

Summary: When Haruna Nagashima was in junior high her life consisted of playing softball and reading comics. But now that she’s going to high school, Haruna decides to put all of her energy towards getting a boyfriend and having the high school romance of a lifetime. To help in her quest, she enlists cute upperclassman Yoh Komiyama to coach her as she eschews her jock tendencies and turns herself into the kind of girl who can catch a guy. Yoh agrees, with one catch: Haruna had better not fall for him!

-Shojo Beat

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High School Debut is in the ongoing top 10 list of my favourite shoujo manga. Where it sits in my top 10, God knows. As we start a new year, we have new hopes, new dreams and enter a whole new stage of our lives. Some of us (lucky people) might be returning or going back to school.

“Going back to school”… What a memory I cherish.

So perhaps reviewing High School Debut this early in the year will encourage you high school students out there to enjoy your precious, irreplaceable short years of school life! Continue reading

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Millenium Snow Vol 1

Title: Millenium Snow/Thousand Years of Snow/Sennen No Yuki

Author: Bisco Hatori

Artist: Bisco Hatori

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy, Shoujo, School Life, Supernatural, Fantasy

Status: On Hiatus

Summary: 17-year-old Chiyuki Matsuoka was born with heart problems, and her doctors say she won’t live to see the next snow. Toya is an 18-year-old vampire who hates blood and refuses to make the traditional partnership with a human whose life-giving blood would keep them both alive for a thousand years. Can Chiyuki teach Toya to feel a passion for life, even as her own is ending?

-Shojo Beat

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Winter = snow (usually), so I thought about reviewing a snow-themed manga and, well, what could be more appropriate than talking about Millenium Snow? It’s a manga that portrays snow in a positive light, considering that it’s more common to say you’re looking forward to spring or summer since they’re more vibrant. I’ve read this many years ago before the whole Twilight obsession came into being; and nowadays when I hear/read discussions about Millenium Snow, there is always a comparison. Personally, I find it quite irritating, but that would lead us into a different discussion. Continue reading

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Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You Vol 1

Title: Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You/Reaching You

Author: Shiina Karuho

Artist: Shiina Karuho

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy, Shoujo, School Life, Slice of Life

Status: Ongoing

Summary: Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie. With her jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, she’s often mistaken for the haunting movie character Sadako. But behind her scary facade is a very misunderstood teenager. Too shy to fit in, all she wants to do is make some friends. But when the most popular boy in class befriends her, she’s sure to make more than just that—she’s about to make some enemies too!

-Shojo Beat

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One word to describe Kimi ni Todoke is refreshing.

I started following Kimi ni Todoke a few months before it entered the spotlight; and now it has now spawned it’s own anime and j-drama adaptation. Having followed Sawako’s journey until the present has led me to feel somewhat at the borderline. However, that is another story and I will simply try to focus on Vol 1 where this manga tastes like a delicious cold drink on a hot-summer’s day.

Continue reading

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Backstage Prince Vol 1

Title: Backstage Prince

Author: Kanoko Sakurakoji

Artist: Kanoko Sakurakoji

Genre: Shoujo, School Life, Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life,

Status: Completed

Summary: Drawn into the exciting world of kabuki theatre, young Akari spends her time after school assisting the famous actor, Shonosuke Ichimura. In the real world, however, this prince of kabuki is actually a high school cutie named Ryusei. The pair’s relationship gets off on the wrong foot but eventually, with the help of a cat known as Mr. Ken, the two teenagers fall in love. – Shojo Beat

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What might’ve caught your interest here is the use of the theatre art of Kabuki into this manga. If it is, I’m sorry to disappoint –  although the story revolves around it, it concentrates more on the romance rather than feeding the reader cool facts about Kabuki. There’s only pretty drawings of people ‘performing’ and really not much else. I can’t even bring myself to say it had bits and pieces of information – it’s more like crumbs. Even then, they mostly occupy the extra pages rather than being incooperated into the story. If you want a more theatrical devoured shoujo, try Orange Chocolate instead.

The story will pretty much fulfill any male tsundere lover’s dream – this hero would probably die for his maiden anytime and anywhere, on the spot. Romance is in control 99.9% of the time, and I find it adorable and cute rather than sweet or something steamy.

I knew beforehand that Backstage Prince was a short story collected into two tankōbons, so I felt like the story was a bit hasty and rushed at times – in fact it feels rather like a one-shot. When relationships are rushed in a story, the outcome can often be quite cheesy rather than romantic. Backstage Prince does show minor evidence of this. It’s similar to this scenario:

Boy & girl meet in page 1 and on page 10, boy says: ‘You’re the only one who can make me smile.’

I need some progression! It’s not exactly a big issue, everything does flow; it just flows too quickly.

The heroine of the story is distinguished as an ‘ordinary girl,’ with not much self-esteem(very common, but at least this one has some guts). I’m sure plenty of girls out there would read Backstage Prince and relate it to themselves(which is why I think this type of character is popular). Who doesn’t want their own hawt protective tsundere who buys them Anna Sui jewelry?

The character body proportions are really good and they resemble humans – they’re not changed, or what I’d like to call ‘manga-fied.‘ The ‘attractive’ people are really drawn well and the costumes are also really pretty. The art is somewhat unique, I can recognised her more popular work, Black Bird. However, there are quite a few mangaka’s work that carry that distinct style as well.

It’s a pretty different approach to a school life/slice of life shoujo manga; the guy’s a Kabuki celebrity besides what we’d usually expect as just ‘that popular boy’ in high school. Most of the story is pretty much confirming and testing their love, so give this story a go when you’re feeling down and just need to regain hope in love – or maybe even to just make yourself go ‘u-waaaah,’.

Rating

Story: 3.3/5

Art: 3.5/5

Character: 3.2/5

Execution: 3.2/5

Overall rating & any additional comments: 3.4/5

-chungky

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Mixed Vegetables Vol 1

Title: Mixed Vegetables 

Author: Ayumi Komura

Artist: Ayumi Komura

Genre: Shoujo, School Life, Comedy, Romance

Status: Completed

Summary: Hanayu Ashitaba is the daughter of the celebrated Patisserie Ashitaba, but all she wants to do is be a sushi chef. Hayato Hyuga is the son of the prestigious Sushi Hyuga, and all he wants to do is be a pastry chef! It’s love and leftovers at Oikawa High School Cooking Department as these star-crossed gourmands do their best to reach their cuisine dreams! – Shojo Beat

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“A cooking shoujo manga. I find that very refreshing, and maybe I would be able to learn useful facts about cooking like many mangas that follow this cooking theme.”

If you’re looking for a manga purely for that reason, Mixed Vegetables is not for you. It has little bits and pieces of information about the cooking world, but not much; don’t expect this to be some cooking/baking themed roller-coaster like Yakitate!! Ja-pan or Chūka Ichiban!(cooking master boy is the most epic of all). It’s done in a very small scale.

Romance enthusiasts, you’re in luck! There’s potential(I shouldn’t even bother saying this, it is shoujo) for romantic feelings from the male and female protagonists just waiting to be united. But don’t be fooled by your ‘familiar romance manga’ instincts – there’s something unconventional in the first volume that just made me jump with glee.

There are plenty of ‘moe’ moments! =D

The comedy aspect of the story nice and simple; it’s there and you might chuckle. I find the jokes quite original and not overdone – kudos to the execution. The heroine of the story is quite likable(to me), she’s like an exploration of teenagers with that sort of naive, childish sort of trait. I’ve accepted the idea that some people might find her really annoying, but I think she’s executed quite well because I don’t see her as this loser crybaby. I think quite a few people may actually be able to relate to her.

The art can also portray really serious events and it actually works(I find many serious parts of many stories quite lame). I’m pretty sure that the male characters would be much appreciated. The hero can most likely make your heart go ‘doki-doki’ – or even racing. The body porportions are very good which makes it appealing, but the whole style is sort of ‘manga-fied,’ as in it’s not realistic(just saying). Another attribute that I really like(I don’t really know whether I should be liking it or not), is that the adults and parents are drawn so young it’s as if they all have the age of university students in their third year. They’re drawn as attractively as the main high school protagonists – not old and wrinkly and short(most shoujo mangas have wrinkly parents).  You might not even mind if everyone committed incest or if the story just deviated and talked about their parent’s early romantic beginnings/stories instead.

My last words will be that Mixed Vegetables is an interesting story away from the conventional school life genre; there’s the culinary school and there is ambition. There’s not much use of cliched events like school festivals etc. I’d list ambition as one of the strongest aspects – it isnt’t all about the romance developing. The characters themselves have their own aspirations and motivations. It doesn’t come through fully in the first volume,  but believe me ambition will pounce up in the further into story.  I rest my case.

Rating

Plot: 3.6/5

Art: 3.8/5

Characters: 3.6/5

Execution: 3.6/5

Overall rating & any additional comments: 3.9/5


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