Tag Archives: Shoujo

One-Shot for the Weekend – Tsuki to Himawari

月とひまわり | Tsuki to Himawari | Moon & Sunflower

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Manga-ka: Tanaka Meca

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

Asahi-kun is a carefree junior-high student, never attaching to girls even though he enjoys going with them. But when the school’s number 1 honor student Mitsuki “cyborg” Konno asked him to a 1-month date, in exchange for the front row ticket to his favorite singer’s concert, he was forced to accept. He only has to show her what it feels like to date, right? He is ready for that…however, what he’s not prepared for was his heart’s reaction…

Published as a one-shot in Lala magazine in 2007 and later collected in Volume 1 of Faster Than A Kiss. There is some sexual context used in a more humourous manner but I thought I’d highlight this element.

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tsuki3There is something that talent cannot give you and that is experience. It arms you with a good grip of things – how to approach story-telling, art-style, polishing your work and pretty much gives you an identity. In shoujo manga, the usage of cliches are endless, after-all its more or less based around romance and slice of life, and its really up to the manga artists to renew over and over the distinguishable themes that is in shoujo manga. This one-shot illustrates such ability that is uses both skill and experience. Reading the blurb sounds like nothing new is put on the table, but the way it is executed by Tanaka Meca, proves she is an industry veteran who delivers a good story.

tsuki4This one-shot reminds me very much about Natsu no Kakera by Amano Shinobu because of the cheery theme of sunflowers. This is the type of story you’d expect Haha and Haha til the end but yet it changes its gear in a direction that brought so much greater depth and intention. It is somehow so familiar, that weird initial shoujo manga setup that eventually opens a box of surprises that makes you think – hey, this is why I read shoujo manga. Its not all about frivolous love triangles, the unstoppable occurrence of school life, its often about life(albeit the less than RL circumstances) and very much with the real surprises we often discover when we least expect it.

This one-shot is set in the same universe as Faster than a Kiss. So, if you’re a Faster than a Kiss fan, read this, for this is in fact the story that invented FtaK’s universe for it was the predecessor.

Have a good weekend.

Rating: 4.3/5

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One-Shot for the Weekend – Natsu Yasumi Zero Zero Nichime

Natsu Yasumi Zero Zero Nichime (夏休みゼロゼロ日目) | 00 Day of Summer Holiday

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Mang-aka: Akizuki Sorata

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

Sometimes love visits you in the most simple yet unexpected moments in our daily lives. Where love can come in even a form of a pop of a bubble, to give us the courage we need to take our relationships.

Originally published in Aoi Lala by Hakusensha.

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You’d think that because it’s winter, we’d toss out a winter themed recommendation. Or perhaps choosing a summer one-shot for the winter is way predictable? After a few weeks of adjusting my life in the States again, I hope to start blogging more consistently. Akizuki Sorata has been one of my favourite manga artists of all time, it’s strange that I’ve never really pushed her work as strong as I may have done but I do have my own reasons and frankly, she doesn’t need that extra publicity anyway. Her work can pretty much do all the talking and I hope to cover her most popular work in the near future. I chose a summer one-shot because I really need a bit of warming up, like literally. The temperature just plummeted 20 degrees and my sister has been sending me photos of London being thrashed by snow. I dislike snow unfortunately. I’ve also been suffering silently in my room freezing and I’ve just bought a portable heater to make myself feel like a normal human being.

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But weather-y rants aside. This is a breath of fresh air for those who need some escape from the wintry months both physically and emotionally. In some ways summer is about being carefree – do whatever you want and be adventurous and in this instance, in love. Summer love is a strange little thing, it’s always associated with pain and everything seems to fall apart after the sweaty season. But yet, most of us are willing to go through it again, whether we be hurt or not. I believe in taking the plunge. This one-shot is fresh, the scenario is new, but with the nostalgic summer spirit of bubbles cascading in the air. The characters are normal, familiar, they aren’t blown up just like slice of life is suppose to be. And with Akizuki Sorata at the helm, she never fails to add her poetic touch and remind us that reality is often just as sweet as the imagination. So here’s my current winter manifesto, take the harsh winter with a summer heart. Or for some, embrace winter with a mind full of snow(quoting Wallace Stevens).

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Rating: 4.5/5

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One-Shot for a Weekday – Shisei (刺靑)

Shisei (刺靑)/ Tattoo

Manga-ka: Yokobaba Ryo

Genre: Drama, Historical, Romance,  Shoujo, Tragedy

Forbidden to be together in the world they live in, two young lovers remain as one. They find a means to preserve what they couldn’t have, that they will be together their hearts, all in a form that is etched onto naked skin.

Published as a one-shot in 2009 in Melody magazine by Hakusensha.

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Here is a relatively short one-shot for a week-day, it spans about 22 pages. I’ve been going through a lot of short one-shots lately and though there aren’t that many pages, they still manage to make an impression. This is a period love story where a couple is forced to separation because of one’s profession and social standing. It is amazing how people can always find ways or means to be together again. In this case, with a tattoo. A permanent mark on the skin, to represent undying devotion or to say “I’ll never forget you.” As they forge a unity that would mean only in their hearts or distance. Perhaps that would be enough to keep them going, as they hope to be united again; in the future, or in another life-time.

Rating: 3.7/5 

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One-Shot for a Weekday – Ovally Trap

Manga-ka: Usami Maki

Genre: Romance, Shoujo

Tokunaga-kun, Chiharu Taniyama’s classmate and recent neighbor, is always laughing at her, and it annoys her to no end. How can she be cute? Then, she finds a magazine with tips on being popular. Will she get her revenge on Tokunaga?

Published by Shogakukan in 2005.

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I totally forgotten all about last weekends one-shot! Anyway, here goes.

I’ve been a growing fan of Usami Maki ever since I read Kokoro Botan/Button. After reading Ovally Trap(not a very appealing name I must say); I think its the one-shot that initiated Kokoro Botan even if the publishing date between both is 4 years apart. It’s a nice simple one-shot where a boy and girl go through a little series of events which strengthens their attraction. Of course, you know the drill, this eventually leads to a confession. Like Kokoro Botan, the male lead had a polite appearance but mischievous & manipulating personality so I instantly clicked with this one-shot! I quite enjoy the manipulation in the story! The female isn’t a silly little girl even though she has that child-like innocence and I really like her honesty. I strongly recommend this for a good dose of shoujo manga cute-ness. Usami Maki is great with stories like this.

Rating: 4.3/5

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One-Shot for the Weekend – Haikei, Nanashi-sama

Haikei, Nanashi-sama

Manga-ka: Naoda Tsuboko

Genre: Comedy, Romance, School life, Shoujo

Terao Chigusa has always loved a certain book called “Dear, Mr. Nameless.” Plus, she has a very timid personality, so much so that she gets REALLY scared when confronted by Takaya Tooru. However, one day, she ends up living the same situation as her beloved book!? How will she react!?

Published as a one-shot in 2008 by Sho-Comi (Shogakukan)

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Well it’s been a pretty busy week for me since I’ve been having to send quite a lot of e-mails and other stuff for studious reasons. So if it’s been the same for you, here’s a nice one-shot to kick back and relax to – a one-shot that centres itself on the short letters that are sent to an anonymous receiver, with a very sweet story.

I suppose the best parts of this one-shot are the feelings expressed by the two main protagonists. It follows the very generic storyline, but the undercurrent of emotions that simmers, bubbles and swells makes it an extremely cute piece. Haikei, Nanashi-sama is divided into 3 ‘sides’ – like a Side A Side B tape – which structures it by the ascending steps into their relationship.  I really liked the way the ending was set-up for that final step, where the aim wasn’t to get into a relationship, but to find out more about one another and fall in love at the same time.

Be warned though, if it annoys you there’s a whole lot of blushing going on from both parties, to the extent where it’s even labelled as a category on Baka-Updates (lol).

Rating: 4.5/5.0

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One-Shot on a Weekday: Nino-hime no Monogatari

Nino-hime no Monogatari | 二の姫の物語 | The Tale of the Second Princess

Manga-ka: Izumi Kaneyoshi

Genre: Drama,  Historical,  Romance,  Shoujo

In the turbulent time of wars, a princess and a vassal are bounded together despite different ranks. Soon they are at the mercy of their fates, and what they decide to do is…?

Published as the main story in an anthology entitled Ninohime no Monogatari, serialised in Betsucomi.

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This was another great read and one which develops in a world of its own. It’s one of the fantastic period one-shots out there with it’s East Asian influences. This is an incredibly long one-shot at 100 pages or so and I absolutely adore long one-shots because since they are one-shots, they leave to make an impression. With 100 pages to utilise, the manga-ka will be able to plan the story accordingly and which this one is epic.

I summarise it as an Epic Historical Fable.

This is real good movie material. It sort of reminds me of Mulan but it stands on it’s own. The story really does feel as if it’s been inspired by some genuine Chinese Legend. We watch how a ‘turnip princess’ grows into a strong woman, one who can be strong even without being part of the Royal family. To conclude this post, who says a cocky guy can’t be likable?

Rating: 4.5/5


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One-Shot for the Weekend – Onegai, Sensei : Altair no Koibumi

Altair no Koibumi | Altair’s Love Letter

Manga-ka: Taamo

Genre: Shoujo, Romance, Slice of life, Drama

Sueo, a countryside girl, becomes friends with Tsutsui-kun, the lonely city boy. After that, every summer he goes to see her, without fail. Sudenly, he doesn’t show up, for three years! She sends him letters, but he doesn’t reply. What’s going on?!

Published as the 2nd story in the Onegai, Sensei Anthology Tankouban by Taamo.

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This one-shot illustrates that love makes no comprimises, that it is both painful but also spectacularly beautiful. It’s a long one-shot spanning at about 60 pages and it deserves it.

The one thing I really love about it is that it ends in a very melancholy way, it’s so full of emotion. I’m not sure if some would agree with me but I think sadness can really be the most powerful emotion of all. The ending is in fact a “good” ending, but this element of sadness is consciously in the air from the beginning to the end which just leaves this profound impact.

If I were to choose one word to describe it, it would be ‘powerful,’ you don’t symphatise the characters but you feel their emotion. You don’t care about their flaws or what they’ve done wrong and if we were to ever do something for them; it would be to pray for their happiness. It’s one step beyond other love stories with it’s brilliant concept and nostalgic atmosphere.  I was on the edge of tears.

A story where childhood meets love, where no one bears witness to their everlasting devotion, but the night and the stars above. Will Vega and Altair be able to meet in the rain?

Rating: 4.9/5

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