Monday, May 29, 2023

Merry Month of Shojo Review #19: PRINCE FREYA

Do you like shojo adventure stories?  Are you up to date on Yona of the Dawn and seeking something else in a similar vein?  This series is easily your best bet.

PRINCE FREYA (Itsuwari no Fureiya), by Keiko Ishihara.  First published in 2017 and first published in North America in 2020.


Ever since her mother fell ill, Freya has depended upon the kindness of the village for their survival.  They do this not only out of the kindness of their hearts, but also because Freya's eldest adoptive brother Aaron is a personal knight to Prince Edvard, and as such one of the few people keeping the invading forces of the kingdom of Sigurd at bay.

Then everything goes drastically wrong.  Freya learns that the prince is dying of poison, and with his dying words he tasks her with taking his place.  She manages to save Aaron from enemy forces, only to lose him shortly thereafter.  Now she and her other adoptive brother, Alek, must grapple with their grief and guilt all while Freya learns how to act like a prince.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Merry Month of Shojo Review #18: CHERRY JUICE

It's weird to come across a shojo manga that feels so much like a shonen ecchi manga without actually being an shonen ecchi manga.

CHERRY JUICE (Cheri Jusu), by Haruka Fukushima.  First published in 2004 and first published in North America in 2007.


Minami and Otome are seemingly as normal as step-siblings can be, even if Otome's best friends all envy her for having such a hot, popular step-brother.  Then Minami's best friend, Amane, confesses to Otome and kisses her.  Now he's not sure just what the nature of his feelings towards his step-sister are, and Otome is starting to feel equally confused.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Merry Month of Shojo Review #17: NEW VAMPIRE MIYU

It's time for me to take a look at a once-beloved shojo horror franchise, long forgotten but not unloved.

NEW VAMPIRE MIYU (Shin Kyuketsu Hime Miyu), written by Toshihiro Hirano with art by Narumi Kakinouchi.  First published in 1992 and first published in North America in 1999.


Wherever corrupt human souls exist, you can find the demonic creatures known as shinma.  The only defense against them is the half-human vampire Miyu and her companion Larva.  By day she poses as an ordinary high school girl, but at night the two of them hunt down and exorcise these malevolent spirits.  Her greatest challenge is before her, as an invasion of western shinma led by the masked sorceress Carlua are coming her way.  Carlua wants two things: to possess Larva for her own and to destroy Miyu by any means possible.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Merry Month of Shojo Review #16: STELLAR WITCH LIPS

 This titles is a veritable mash-up of shojo sub-genres, along with influences both old and new.  If only that mash-up were as graceful as the magical girls on its pages.

STELLAR WITCH LIPS (Majo Kaito LIPS), written by Hana Kagami with art by Kotoko Ichi.  First published in 2019 and first published in North America in 2020.


Miku Hoshino is just as eager to help others as she is about her favorite boy band, even if doing so means missing out at a concert at the local museum.  That's all the proof her homeroom teacher Mari needs to pass on her magical girl powers to Miku.  With the application of a magical lipstick, Miku transforms into the magical witch Stellar Lips Star Crimson, The Sixth Witch of the Night!  She is soon joined by two other girls, who together must use their magic to keep others from stealing the mana of the people all while evading the attention of teen detective Ryusei Azuchi.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Merry Month of Shojo Review #15: CIPHER

 And now let's switch things around to the opposite: an old-school series set in (what were then) modern times.

A series that's literally as old as I am.

...oh dear.

CIPHER, by Minako Narita.  First published in 1984 and first published in North America in 2005.


One day, Anise manages to gather up her courage to confess to her handsome famous classmate Siva.  What she wants is not a romance but his friendship.  Amazingly, he accepts her offer but remains cryptic and cynical.  Eventually Anise discovers his secret: he and his identical twin brother Cipher have been switching places on a regular basis.  Anise is furious at the deception and presumes the two do this just to hold everyone at a distance.  She's ready to disclose their secret, but the boys counter with a bet: if she can tell them apart after two weeks, they'll tell her everything.  If she can't, she has to keep their secret forever.  Anise is determined to win, even if it means moving in with them.