I’m a very crafty person. Starting when I was young, my mother taught me to embroider in order to keep me busy when I had to go with her to help by Great, Great Aunt who was blind and lived in a retirement home. From there, I moved to knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, sewing and finally cross stitch. I also love to cross my interests, so when Katherine Farmar asked on Twitter if anyone knew of a manga about knitting, it got me thinking. Were there any crafty manga out there?
The first thing to come to mind is of course, Manga Cross Stitch, but that not a manga. It’s a cross stitch pattern book with a manga influence to the designs. A Google search of terms such as sewing, knitting, crochet, handicraft and crafty didn’t bring up a lot of hits. In fact, it brought barely any titles at all, and none were exclusively about any of the topics. Here’s what I did find:
Otomen – Searching for sewing manga brought up this title. Asuka Masamune is a otoman. Outwardly, he is strong and manly, but inwardly, he likes girly things: cooking, sewing, knitting, and reading shojo manga. The crafting in this title is incidental, with Asuka creating small sewing projects, such as a book cover for a manga he let to Ryo, his love interest, or mending the Juta’s clothes, Asuka’s classmate that knows about his proclivities. It’s part of Asuka’s character, but not instrumental to the story.
Cat Paradise – This is a new title from Yen Press, and didn’t even come up in any searches. Yumi Hayakawa is a new student at Matabi Academy, a school that allows students to bring their pet cats to the dorm. She loves her kitty, Kansuke, and enjoys knitting clothes for him, though he is less than enthused. But there is more going on at Matabi Academy, as Yumi and Kansuke come face to face with a demonic monster. To save themselves, they agree to become defenders of the school, and Yumi must use what she’s good at, knitting to call up the power so she and Kansuke can fight. At this in this title, the knitting will be an ongoing thing, but it’s more important for a transformation than the focus of the story.
Onidere – This title came up on a search for handicrafts. It isn’t licensed, and just started in 2008 in Shonen Sunday. Tadashi is a member of the handicraft’s club at school, and loves knitting. He is in a secret relationship with Saya, the leader of an all-girl gang, and will kill him if anyone finds out. Here again it is knitting and with the boy being the skilled one. Tadashi’s skills are such that he can make stuffed animals. But it’s far from the focus of the story.
Manga characters are seen doing crafts throughout both shonen and shojo titles, such as Uryu Ishida from Bleach that is highly skilled with a needle and , or Manami from King of Cards trying to knit a scarf for her cousin and love interest Tamotsu. But there just doesn’t seem to be any titles that feature the craft itself, like you get in cooking or gaming manga. Why is that? If card games, or mahjong, or cooking can be made exciting, then surely someone could come up with something for crafts. How about knitting? That’s something that seems very popular in Japan. Knitting needles can be deadly weapons.
Do you know of any titles I may have missed that highlight a handicraft? Leave a comment about it!