Tag Archives: shojo

Honey and Clover Volume 8

Ayu still can’t give up on her love for Mayama, even though his relationship with Rika seems to be deepening.  Nomiya’s growing interest in Ayu might be a balm to her broken heart, but he’s moving to Tottori for six months! Is Ayu cursed to suffer hopeless love affairs forever?

By Chica Umino
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $9.99
Rating: ★★★★★

This volume is all about the love polygon of Mayama, Ayu, Rika and Nomiya.  Ayu seems to be deliberately torturing herself by working with Mayama and Rika, and seeing their relationship grow.  Rika is preparing for the Valencia Art Museum Annex, a project she and her late husband submitted for and won, and seems prepared to also make it her last, something Mayama’s not prepared to let Rika do.  And Nomiya, the player, finds himself doing something he never thought he would, falling for Ayu.

There’s a lot of drama going on in this volume, especially with Rika.  She still haven’t been able to get over her husband’s death, no matter what kind of face she puts on.  A flashback from Hanamoto shows what a difficult time she had after the accident, and how she became a ghost of herself, like part of her was lost with Harada.  Mayama seems to sense that too, as he watches over Rika, even to the point of invading her privacy by reading her emails.  But it doesn’t feel like he’s trying to be controlling or possessive.  He senses that she doesn’t want to keep living and fights to keep her alive, despite her.  It’s this that seems to make a stronger impression on her than his feelings for her.

Ayu’s drama isn’t any less than Rika, but it isn’t quite as serious either.  Her problems are dealt with a lighter tone.  Though we see her suffering, her way of dealing with it is by eating.  A lot.  And when Nomiya gets involved, the humor really ramps up, as Ayu is shown to be surrounded by unicorns, intent on protecting Ayu’s virtue.  Very aggressive and mouthy unicorns.  It’s a really good balance of humor to the some of the tenser moments in the volume.  The unicorn appearances are my favorite scenes.

Honey and Clover continues to be a good romance that balances the drama without going over the melodramatic cliff, and makes a really good read for older audiences.  The relationships are realistic, making you want to laugh and cry.  This volume picks up right where Shojo Beat left off, so if you were following it in the magazine, this is a must have.  Even if you weren’t, Honey & Clover is a title anyone who loves a good story should be reading.

Review: Heaven's Will


Heaven’s Will
By Satoru Takmiya
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Supernatural/Romance
Price: $8.99
Rating: ★★★★½

Sudou Mikuzu has a very special talent – she can see ghosts.  And because of this predisposition, she’ become a magnet for all sorts of unwelcome monsters.  Luckily for her she’s just met Seto, a friendly, cross-dressing young exorcist.  Sudou needs protection from all the creepy phantoms bugging her, and Seto needs to practice his exorcism skills.  consequently, the pair decides to team up and help each other.  In return, Sudou promises to back a cake every time a ghost gets zapped!

At first glance, Heaven’s Will appears to be a typical supernatural romance title with a cross-dressing twist.  Once you start reading though, you’ll find that it’s actually the start of an interesting that should have been given more of a chance to develop.  The characters really grown on you, and the story, which has some sad twists to set it up, could have gone on to do so much more.

Continue reading Review: Heaven's Will

Dark Hunters Volume 1

It’s just another night on the prowl for vampires for Kyrian of Thrace when he meets the most frightening thing imaginable. And accountant. But Amanda Devereaux is much more than she seems. Hunted by one of the deadliest of vampires, Amanda is the key to our survival. If she goes down, so does he, and –no offense– he doesn’t want to die (hence the whole immortality thing). And he doesn’t want humanity dead either, which is a good thing for us since he and Amanda are all that stands between us and oblivion. Let’s hope they win.

Continue reading Dark Hunters Volume 1

Ask Manga Mom: Romance Complex

Stacymay asks:

Do manga have to have a complex plot? If someone is trying to write a romance manga, does there have to be fantasy and stuff in it or can it just be a love story?

Thanks! That’s a great question!

When looking at shojo or romance manga, there does seem to be a lot of fantasy themed stories.  But they aren’t all like that.  There are plenty of titles that are based in reality.  Nana, Sand Chronicles, and Honey and Clover for older readers and Monkey High and High School Debut for teens are some examples.  A well written love story is a perfect theme for a manga.

As for how complex the plot is, well, that up to the writer and the plot.  A story can have several twists and turns to keep the reader engaged, but if there are too many, the story can become too confusing.  A frustrated reader will not continue reading the story.  It’s best to keep the story relatively simple with just a twist or turn here and there to keep the reader interested enough to read the end.

Keep those questions coming!

Krissy's Korner: Magical Pokemon Journey #1


Magical Pokemon Journey Volume 1: How Do You Do, Pikachu?
by Yumi Tsukirino
Publisher: Viz Media

Rating: All Ages
Genre: Game

Price: Only available used

Rating: ★★★★☆

What is the story about?

A new trainer named Hazel that started without a pokemon. Soon, she goes into the grass and finds a Pikachu. She trys to draw Pikachu but fails.

What did you like about the story?

I liked it when Hazel yelled at the Ekans. I loved how they drew the pokemon. I also loved how they made the Clefairy act.

What did you dislike about the story?

I hated when Pikachu was knocked out. I also hated the way Hazel drew Pikachu.

Would you recommend the story to kids your age?

Yes

Bride of the Water God Volume 1

When Soah’s impoverished, desperate village decides to sacrifice her to the Water God Habaek to end a long drought, they believe that drowning one beautiful girl will save their entire community and bring much-needed rain. Not only is Soah surprised to be rescued by the Water God-instead of killed-she never imagined she’d be a welcomed guest in Habaek’s magical kingdom, where an exciting new life awaits her! Most surprising, however, is the Water God himself…and how very different he is from the monster Soah imagined.

Bride of the Water God Volume 1
Bride of the Water God 1By Mi-Kyung Yun
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Rating:Teen
Price: $9.99
Rating: ★★★★½

It’s a journey through Wonderland, Korean style, as we follow Soah’s adventures in the land of the gods. Will she find happiness with her new husband, the Water God Habaek, or does a worse fate await her?

As serious as all that sounds, Bride of the Water God is a good mix of comedy and drama. Although the romance hasn’t really started yet, you can see it in filtering through slowly. Habaek and Soah are essentially strangers that have been put together in this “arranged” marriage. There are plenty of missteps and misunderstandings, some humorous, others not. But, despite outward appearances, there is an undercurrent that Habaek does have feelings for Soah. The potential for a real romance is there, if Soah can break through the emotional wall Habaek seems to have around him.

The characters are well-developed, and we learn about them through their actions. There aren’t any descriptions or inter monologue about anyone. What you see is what you get, and that really draws you into the story. You have to really look at the characters to pick up the subtle cues that are put in to define them. Habaek, which seems cold and brooding, also has a warm and tender side that only shows when he is watching Soah sleep. Despite being Gods, all the characters have their humanistic qualities that make them easy to relate to.

Mi-Kyung Yun’s art is absolutely gorgeous! Her characters are beautiful with lots of delicate line work. Their clothing has the look and feel of ancient Korea, with lots of intricate designs. The care she puts into her work really shows, and just adds to the overall feel of the book.

The only thing I didn’t like about this volume was the disjointed way the chapters were fit together. Splash pages were the only way to really tell you were moving from one chapter to another, and at one point, I had to go back a re-read a transition because I thought I’d missed a page or two. While only a minor distraction, it did leave me wondering.

Bride of the Water God is among Dark Horse’s first foray into the world of shojo, and it does so with great success. The art, writing and characters all come together to make a wonderful story that any girl would love to read.

Love Bites! The Viz Edition

I’m not much of a shojo/romance kind of gal. My first forays into manga was through the Shonen Jump action titles. When my Animerica subscription got converted (after two issues) to Shojo Beat, I was sure there wasn’t going to be anything in there for me. Almost 2 years later, I’ve changed my tune, but that’s because shojo isn’t afraid to have romantic leads with bite! (And I don’t mean vampires…)

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are some shojo manga where the leads are anything but romantic!

Continue reading Love Bites! The Viz Edition

Viz's Vampire Knight to become Anime

Anime News Network has announced that the latest issue of Hakusensha’s LaLa shojo magazine has announced that the Vampire Knight manga, created by Matsuri Hino and published by Viz Media in the US will become an anime to be shown in Japan.

Vampire Knight, published in Viz’s Shojo Beat magazine, is already very popular with girls here in the US. There are websites devoted to the characters and manga, as well as fans dressing up as characters at anime conventions. The bishonen (pretty) boys that make up most of the series is one reason for it’s popularity. Another is it’s school-horror theme. The story takes place at Cross Academy that has two class; the Day Class and the Night Class. Only a select few know that the Night Class is made up of exclusively vampires. We follow Yuki Cross, the adopted daughter of Headmaster, Zero, a latent vampire who keeps his urges at bay by drinking Yuki’s blood (against the academy’s rules), and Kaname, the vampire that saved Yuki, and considers her his. This is a shojo manga that has all the sexiness of vampires combined with hot boys and high school problems. Expect to see this licensed real fast.