Tag Archives: Crafts

Bring Em Back: Stolen Hearts

Over the years, a lot of titles have been licensed and started, but never finished due to various circumstances, mostly because the company that released them went out of business. One of these companies was CMX, an imprint of DC Comics. The imprint was dropped suddenly after a leadership change at DC. One of the titles cut off midstream was Stolen Hearts, a very cute rom-com.

Stolen Hearts v1Stolen Hearts is about high school student Shinobu Okuma, a girl small for her age and Miharu Koguma, the biggest, most intimidating boy at school. Okuma accidentally spills milk on an antique kimono Koguma is carrying for his grandmother, and he has her come to his grandmother’s kimono shop to make up for ruining it. Okuma is put to work wearing kimonos and walking around town handing out flyers about the shop. Not only does she have fun wearing all the cute, coordinated outfits, but she finds out that Koguma isn’t as scary as he seems.

I loved this series from the first volume. Koguma and Okuma make a cute if mismatched couple. Both are rather shy, and Koguma, with his unruly hair and love for small, cute things is a great male lead. Okuma is small and cute, can be rather blunt, but is always upbeat. After she learns how kind Koguma is, she tries to get her friends and classmates to see it too. Once they do though, she finds she might have competition for his affections.

But the character that steals this series is Fujiko Koguma, Koguma’s grandmother. She is the feisty, 76 year-old owner of the kimono shop. She loves money and has no problem smacking her grandson when she thinks he needs it. Even the local yakuza are intimidated by her. She steals practically every scene she’s in, and has no end of money-making schemes to put Koguma and Okuma through.

Stolen Hearts 2The second volume introduces the rest of Koguma’s family; his three older brothers and parents. Koguma’s brothers are as big and handsome as he is. His mother is funny, as she makes mountains of food to feed the big-appetited family, but also wants to treat Okuma as a surrogate daughter and dress her in kimonos. They are a tight family who love kimonos as much as the matriarch Fujiko. Oldest brother Miki even makes custom kimonos, and becomes part of another of Fujiko’s schemes to make made-to-order kimonos at her shop for taller women.

But it can’t be a rom-com without situations to get into. Okuma and Koguma get into plenty on their own between misunderstandings and Koguma’s reputation and shy personality. The introduction of the brothers brings in a rivalry between Koguma and Miki, who decides to tease his younger brother but takes it too far. The situations never get too serious, but provide enough drama to balance against the comedy.

This is a title that so deserves a license rescue. It’s six volumes total, though only two volumes made it to print in the US. This title falls into all the guideline most publishers have for manga licenses. It post 2000, and it’s short. It’s complete in 6 volumes. It didn’t get very far in publishing here, with both volumes out of print and difficult to find. It was published by Hakusensha in Japan, so it doesn’t have any associated publishers in the US, so it’s open to anyone. This series would be a good addition to Viz Media’s Viz Select line. It would fit in well with their other sweet Shojo Beat titles, if they wanted to go with print.

Also available in audio and video.


Wish List: Otokomae! Bead Club

Otokomae Bead ClubI love to do crafts and have dabbled in quite a few, including beading. I’ve made mostly earrings back when my eyes could see the tiny beads and my more nimble hands could hold them and string them on the needle and thread. Now, I am more content to read about it.

Otokomae! Bead Club is a one shot volume by Kyousuke Motomi. Her name is well-known among western shojo manga fans. Two of her titles, Beast Master and Dengeki Daisy were licensed and released in the US by Viz Media. Her newest title, QQ Sweeper has also just been picked up, with the first volume out later this year. This title is an earlier series first published in 2004 in Shogakukan’s Betsucomi magazine. It ran for three chapters, and the compiled volume includes a side story and extra.

The story follows Oikawa Ibuki, a high school girl who has just transferred schools so she can start over. She is very strong and versed in the martial arts, but she wants to be more gentile and feminine, and find a boy who is stronger than her. On her way to her first day, she meets Takumi Urabe, a mysterious boy who carries a shovel and seems able to command crows. In her introduction, she claims to like to do beading, and is then introduced to the beading club, an eccentric group of kids who all share a secret. And Ibuki has just been made a member!

I was drawn to Otokomae! Bead Club just because of the title, but when I learned who the mangaka was, this title became an instant want. I’m really surprised it hasn’t been licensed by Viz yet. It’s only one volume, and features a lot of elements that have proven popular in other titles; a boy who commands crows, a girl who is really tough be wants to be seen as gentle. Throw in Motomi’s fun characters and playful art, and it’s got to be a sure seller! Maybe if QQ Sweeper does well, we can get this title as well.


Cute Dogs: Craft Your Own Pooches

Cute Dogs: Craft your own Pooches
By Chie Hayano
Publisher Vertical, Inc.
Age Rating: All Ages
Genre: Craft
Price: $14.95
Rating: ★★★★★

Vertical Inc is a unique publisher in the manga world.  They are a boutique publisher who does more than bring manga over from Japan.  They also publish novels from horror to business, Sudoku puzzle books, and coolest of all, craft books.  Their newest release is Cute Dogs, which is filled with exactly that; little stuffed dogs that don’t just look cute, but look fun to make.

Cute Dogs is a thin book at just 79 pages, but it’s packed with 16 different dogs you can create on your own.  Ranging from the Boston Terrier, Chihuahua, Welsh Corgi, Miniature Dachshund, to the Miniature Schnauzer, you’ll find many of the most popular dog breeds.  The first half of the book is filled with pictures of each of the finished pieces, showing them from different angles so you know how they should look.  They are all posed with accessories like food bowls, wagons, bowls and baskets.  All the dogs have names and little sayings that give them personality.  It’s fun just looking at these pictures and reading about each dog.  After seeing all the stuffed dogs, we are introduced to the real dogs that worked as models.  They all have wonderful personalities too.

The second half of the book gets into the crafty stuff.  All the materials needed to make these pooches are pictures and described, as well as all the tools.  There is also a basic sewing guide that shows all the stitched needed and how to do them.  There are only three, and they are pretty simple.  Then it gets into the nitty-gritty of cutting, preparing, and sewing the dogs together.  It’s step-by-step, taking you from start to finish through Bob, the Boston Terrier.  He’s the template.  The rest of the dogs have their own variations, but the construction is the same for all.  The directions are clear and concise, with pictures illustrating them, making them easier to understand.

I really enjoyed Cute Dogs.  The dogs are cute, and they look to be fairy easy to make.  Teens would have no problem making these, and even Tweens, with some supervision could do them!  I’m definitely going to try making some of these pooches.  Just paging through the book started giving me ideas of what could be done with them.  Crafters and dog-lovers alike with love this book.  Now, where’s the Cute Cats book?

Review copy provided by publisher.