Saturday, May 25, 2019

Merry Month of (Shojo) Manga: MIRACLE GIRLS

From the creator of Ultra Cute comes a series that tries to combine your standard, slice-of-life school romance with psychic shenanigans.  The results are...mixed, at best.

MIRACLE GIRLS (Mirakuru Garuzu), by Nami Akimoto.  First published in 1991 and first published in North America in 2000.



PLOT:

Toni and Miki are twin sisters with a secret: they can talk to one another psychically, and when together they can even teleport.  This becomes handy when brainy Miki finds herself stuck on the relay race team for her school's sports day and needs sporty Toni to switch places with her.  Toni finds it hard to keep up the charade when she starts falling for Miki's classmate Jackson, and harder still to avoid the attention of science teacher/wanna-be paranormal researcher Mr. Kageura.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Merry Month of (Shojo) Manga: THE HEIRESS AND THE CHAUFFEUR

You know what we need more of?  Manga set in the Taisho era.  I don't need more samurai or Shinsengumi - I want more spunky schoolgirls in fancy hakamas like today's selection.

THE HEIRESS AND THE CHAUFFEUR (Ojo-sama no Untenshu), by Keiko Ishihara.  First published in 2010 and first published in North America in 2016.



PLOT:

Sayaka Yoshimura is a lovely young girl, one of the many fine ladies at her ladies' school.  As a refined young lady, she is escorted to and from school by her family's chauffeur, Shinobu Narutaki.  Narutaki is handsome and dedicated, and naturally rumors are constantly swirling that he and Sayaka are in love.  When Narutaki defends Sayaka for an offense she did not commit, her school demands he be dismissed or else Sayaka will lose the privileges as top student.  Will Sayaka cave to social pressure or stand in defense of a loyal servant?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Merry Month of (Shojo) Manga: DEFYING KUROSAKI-KUN

The trashier side of shojo can be a safe space for young girls and women to explore their fantasies, but I have some serious words about the sort of fantasy that books like today's selection have to offer.

DEFYING KUROSAKI-KUN (Kurosaki-kun no Iinari ni Nante Naranai), by Makino.  First published in 2014, and first published in North America in 2018.



PLOT:

Yu Akabane is hoping that a make-over and a new school will be just the thing to improve her social life.  Her plans go awry when her parents have to suddenly force her to move into the dorms, putting her at the mercy of deputy dorm monitor Haruto Kurosaki.  He's the dark, moody, and foul-tempered best friend of class idol Takumi Shirakawa, and when Yu confronts him, his response to declare her his slave and forcefully kiss her.  Will Yu ever get out from under his thumb?  And just what is Kurosaki hiding behind his glowering stare?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Merry Month of (Shojo) Manga: PORTRAIT OF M & N

Shojo manga is frequently all about romance, but seldom about the kinkier side of it.  Is it still possible to make the audience's hearts pound when it's less about holding hands and first dates and more about whips and restraints?

PORTRAIT OF M & N (M to N no Shozo),  by Tachibana Higuichi.  First published in 2000 and first published in North America in 2010.



PLOT:

Mitsuru is a stunning beauty from an accomplished family who is seemingly perfect and demure...at least, until she gets hurt.  A lifetime of parental abuse has given her a masochistic streak, and the slightest injury leaves her in a daze begging for more.  Her secret is discovered by her classmate Natsuhiko, who then confesses his own kink: he's a narcissist who has to wear coke-bottle glasses to keep himself from obsessing over his image in any mirrored surface.  The two soon bond over their kinky lifestyles, but their tenuous relationship is threatened when a popular boy also discovers Mitsuru's kinky little secret.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Merry Month of (Shojo) Manga: FROM FAR AWAY

While Fushigi Yugi was the first manga series to popularize the concept of shojo isekai in the 90s, there was a series that came out at the same time that in my opinion is far more interesting (and 100% less rapey!)

FROM FAR AWAY (Kanata Kara), by Kyoko Hikawa.  First published in 1993, and first published in 2004.



PLOT:

When Noriko is caught up in a bombing, she finds herself whisked away to a strange new world, one she had only seen previously in her dreams.  There are all sorts of strange creatures and landmarks, and she can't understand a thing anyone's saying.  All she knows is that Izark, the brave warrior who found her and protects her, is the only person she can trust.  Little does she know that she and Izark are players in an ancient prophecy, one that would bring death and destruction to this new world...