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Purple Library Guy

Purple Library Guy

Member Since 01 Nov 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 07:03 PM
Just read a really predictable, cliche, cute little vanilla romance. But I realized/remembered: You can't find stories like that in the West. There's no market, they... Updated 20 Nov · 13 comments

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  • Member Title Fried Potato
  • Age 52 years old
  • Birthday September 17, 1965
  • Gender
    Male Male
  • Location
    Check Rivendell, or Vorbarr Sultana, or Adrilankha. No? Try Vancouver.
  • Interests
    Fantasy and Science Fiction
    tabletop roleplaying games
    Romance manga
    Looney Far Left political economy
    English Lit, especially 18th C. and earlier

    Going to put my manga favourites list here--let's see how much it will hold!
    Aishiteruze Baby (by Yoko Maki) (The one about the high school kid who ends up taking care of his 5-year-old cousin)
    From Far Away (by Kyoko Hikawa) (Fantasy--girl dumped in fantasy world)
    Marmalade Boy (by Yoshizumi Wataru) (I’d forgotten how well done this is—standard tropes but clean and well told. Author of Kimi Shika Iranai, Cherish, Datte Suki nan Damon. Girl’s parents suddenly tell her they’ve fallen for the parents of this guy her age, and are swapping spouses—everyone will live together. The boy is goodlooking and pleasant but reserved, never showing his feelings. They fall for each other, duh, and there are friends with their own side romances, and plot complications. Well crafted, holds interest.)
    Kimi wa Pet (by Ogawa Yayoi) (You're my pet; about the career woman and Momo)
    Emma (by Mori Kaoru) (Victorian romance)
    Kare Kano (by Masami Tsuda) (Girl who loves seeming perfect & guy who seems perfect fall in love with each other's real selves. Strong romance, some comedy, deep psychological angst, good supporting cast. One of the best)
    Kare First Love (by Miyasaka Kaho) (Not really a favourite, it was just one of the first ones I read. It’s actually kind of annoying. But it is very romantic & steamy; kinda classic, or archetypal or something, and some of the art is very nice)
    Imadoki (by Watase Yuu) (Tanpopo; irrepressible girl brings warmth to the chilly elite school & the repressed guy)
    Karin (Chibi vampire; the girl's just SO CUTE and her reverse vampirism is . . . interesting)
    Addicted to Curry (sweet, and the food's really good)
    High School Debut (by Kawahara Kazune) (also called Koukou Debut. Normal, but nice. It's the one where the girl initially just wants the guy to coach her in how to look good. Also the one where, when she gets the typical “bullied by girls jealous of her getting the hot guy” schtick, she simply beats the crap out of them. I really like the early going; some of the stuff after they've been going out for a while gets a bit annoying)
    Sensei! (by Kawahara Kazune) (Quiet and sweet. As the title suggests, it’s a student-teacher romance. But the teacher isn’t some bishie, and the girl isn’t a manga hottie. They’re quiet people trying their best. Some of the side characters are interesting—quite different people from the main characters or each other. Ongoing)
    Girl x Girl x Boy (Read this expecting steamy, but it was sweet. Short.)
    Bitter Virgin (girl who was abused by her father, guy learns her secret, falls for her & tries to be gentle enough so she won't be afraid. This is one of the all-time top)
    H3 (Happy Hustle High) (Horrible ugh title, OK, but it's nice. Spunky girl, nice male lead, and . . . it is happy. They make each other happy. Not a ton of angst; enough conflict to keep things from getting boring, but nothing nasty. Plus there are some really funny moments)
    Wild Cats (about a lion cub raised by a boy; mostly told from the lion's perspective. Lion loves the boy, dreams of marrying him. Bittersweet and interesting)
    Girl Friends (by Morinaga Milk) (About two girls falling in love. Sweet school romance. A bit too much girly clothes/makeup/etc stuff, but the neat thing is that because they're both girls who don't initially get the concept that their feelings could be more than friendship, and are in denial for a while after they start to realize it, the romance is slow-developing and sweet. Plus it’s just very well told. Later addition: Man, this one just keeps growing on you. Seems so normal and basic, but it’s just so good.)
    Cat Street (Interesting. Characters are misfits going to a free high school where you can take classes as you like; main characters are four friends who help each other get through their emotional problems and grow. There's some romance, but in most other ways it's totally the opposite of a lot of the Japanese school life stuff. Their lives are very unstructured, they're serious nonconformists, and the friendships seem maybe more important than the romances. Plus, personal growth and doing worthwhile things as opposed to just emoting, is a major element)
    Solanin (by Asano Inio) (Quiet. Sad. Very realistic. Fairly nice young people dealing with problems of the meaninglessness of modern life and stuff; they’re aimless, but it’s not like they don’t *want* to have aims. An important character dies. It’s really well done.)
    Oyayubihime Infinity (Good plot, with this strange reincarnation thing going on)
    Otokomae Beads Kurabu (by Motomi Kyousuke)(Beads club. It's not one of the great manga. Not deep or anything. But it has panache. Girl, awesome at martial arts, is hoping to be all feminine at her new school. The creepy “crow messenger” president of the secret student council learns her secret & falls for her. The secret student council of misfits is fun, the “crow messenger” guy is cool and the girl kicks tail. It's fun)
    Beast Master (by Motomi Kyousuke) (Girl really loves animals, but they don't like her 'cos she always tries to glomp them. Then this mysterious beastlike kid comes to her school; everyone's scared of him 'cause of his predator-like eyes etc., but she isn't and finds out that he's totally sweet, although he goes berserk in violent situations. The boy, Leo, just makes this manga)
    Purikyu (by Motomi Kyousuke) (Good 2nd tier. Girl joins archery club; both the romance and the archery are pretty good, and there's something about the art)

    Incidentally, I've figured out the point of these pretending-to-be-the-opposite-sex mangas. For a long time I didn't read any because it seemed like a kind of dumb idea. But here's the thing: If you're writing a romance, you want it to be romantic, and you want the main couple to be a really good couple. But to be a story at all there has to be conflict driving some kind of plot. With normal romance stories of any length, you end up throwing plot complications that mess up the love affair, and if it gets too heavy I for one start to wonder how much in love they can really be, the way they don't trust each other or let each other down all the time. But with this kind of story, you can keep the actual romance sweet and straightforward and drive the plot with the inevitable close calls in terms of the secret identity. That said, I notice there still aren't any on my list of favourites. Oh, wait!
    W-Juliet (Boy is pretending to be a girl. It's a test his asshole father imposed--if he can stay undetected until graduation, he's shown he's a good actor and he gets to pursue acting rather than inherit the family dojo. Slender and androgynous looking, he's a kickass martial artist. So is the girl who finds him out, keeps his secret and falls for him. Sweet love story, lots of complications keeping the secret, decent characterization)
    Mamotte Agemasu (I believe translates “I will protect you”. Silly. Reduces the bad but sensitive boy trope to its starkest terms. The smart studious girl has the Toughest Hood fall for her, and he's unbelievably sweet and sensitive with her, in total contrast to his tough-guy appearance and kick-ass capacity for violence. It's silly, but it's sweet and it makes no apologies for being flat-out silly romantic. Didn't put it on the list on first reading, but when I ran across it again I still remembered it well and felt like another look. So what the heck. Guilty pleasure.)
    Nodame Cantabile (This is so awesome. About a driven, somewhat repressed and badtempered would-be & then starting conductor, and a brilliant but weird girl piano player. Great classical music, impressive characterization, very different.)
    Fruits Basket (OK, all the comments I've seen about how great this was were right. It's amazing. The “Animals of the Zodiac” thing)
    Pieta (More about healing than romance; two girls who make each other well. Different art style—spare, with rather real-person-ish faces and such, but quite effective. Uplifting.)
    Maka-maka (OK it's not really top-tier. But again, it sorta sticks in my mind. Smutty relationship between these two girls who have various boyfriends but fool around together on the side, as well as being really good friends. Gradually realize they're more important to each other than the boys. Quite different from most manga in characters, art style, atmosphere. Actually, I’ve changed my mind—it is top-tier. It grows on you. It breaks a lot of conventions and while it looks on the surface like just smut, between the lines it has quite a bit to say.)
    Kodocha (Kind of funny in the early going, but sorta serious and touching as it goes on. Young kids, slow romance between a child actress and a tough kid, both with some messed-up psychological background. The girl's mother wears an elaborate hairdo with a squirrel living in it.)
    Mekakushi No Kuni (by Tsukuba Sakura) (About a girl who can sometimes see the future of people she touches, and a guy who can see people's past like, all the time, and how they handle their gifts and each other. Touching, dramatic at times, thoughtful)
    Suki (or “Suki Dakara Suki”) (Ridiculously cute. The heroine has a beyond-sunny disposition and is incredibly naïve and trusting—particularly for someone who it turns out has been kidnapped repeatedly due to her father' wealth. It takes her ages to realize the teacher she has an innocent crush on is in fact her secret bodyguard. But there's something about her portrayal that makes you OK with it—she should be horribly sappy, but she just comes off really cute. At one point she lets slip that she believes her insistence on innocence and cheer is why she has remained largely unshaken by the kidnappings. Not one of my absolute top, but a good 2nd tier)
    Akuma na Eros (Cheese, glorious cheese! Another 2nd tier, guilty pleasure. The ultimate “girl falls for the bad boy” story, in which our sweet heroine and Satan fall in love. Notable for the line, when she's considering moving in with him, “It's not that I don't want to go to Hell. I do. It's just . . .”)
    Peter Pan Syndrome? (Cute. Dunno, we'll see if I remember it in a while)
    Othello (by Ikezawa Satomi. Yaya is a timid, bullied kid who even makes excuses for the “friends” who treat her badly, but when pushed too far in the wrong way will switch to alternate personality Nana, who Kicks Serious Ass and takes revenge on the bullies. Done well and stuck in my mind)
    Kimi Shika Iranai (By Yoshizumi Wataru, who also wrote Marmalade Boy and others. Guy falls for a girl who’s been married and divorced though she’s just 16; the experience hardened her & under it she’s unhappy. He tries to be a support for her though she’s not ready for guys again)
    Kimi to Scandal (by Furumiya Kazuko) (The only “girl meets idol” type manga I really liked. Girl has a big thing for this singer with a very cool image. Then due to ludicrous co-incidence she finds he's moving in at home, apparently a long-lost half-brother or something. But in person he's not cool at all—he's comfy. Cheerful, huggy, nice, given to schlepping around in baggy sweaters and stuff. She finds this hard to deal with. It’s his sweety-pie personality that sold me on this manga; I wasn’t going to put it in the list, but it stuck in my mind)
    Vitamin (Short. About truly harsh, vile but realistic bullying and a girl's triumph over it)
    Angel Densetsu (Shounen) (by Yagi Norihiro) (Boy has an incredibly demonic face, causing everyone to assume he's a vicious, dangerous hoodlum. Really he's not just a nice guy, he's saintly and clueless. This puts him in a lot of violent situations he doesn't understand; he gets through with an odd combination of fearsomeness, Clouseau-like luck, and a sort of instinctive defensive martial arts ability. Some people start to figure out he's really a nice person, including a nice girl who's a kickass martial artist. Funny, sweet, interesting characters, generally original)
    Genshiken (interesting. It's a manga about a club of otaku, real geeks, heavily into manga, anime, cosplay and manga porn. Even a couple of girls, who tend to be into yaoi stuff. There's humour, ongoing exploration of the lives of these awkward people, and gradually some romance.)
    Cherish (by Yoshizumi Wataru) (Sweet. Girl was raised by a nice gay couple; her acceptance of the boy she loves revolves around whether he accepts them. There's more to it than that, a twist or two. Heartfelt and fresh. Short; same mangaka as Marmalade Boy, Kimi Shika Iranai etc.)
    Itadakimasu (by Yoshihara Yuki) (Not precisely a top favourite. But it sticks in the mind, and it's fun. Older woman, younger man fall in love. Kind of a sex comedy. The author's female characters tend to really like sex, which is oddly refreshing)
    Chatting at the Amber Teahouse (Gentle, sweet, heartfelt. Two girls in love, gradually growing closer and closer together while running a teahouse. Ongoing)

    Faster than a Kiss (not sure this is one of my faves, but it’s interesting and it’s ongoing so I’m taking a note so I won’t lose track)
    Get Chu (This one is all wrong. Shouldn't like it. But it's fun! Short, 7 ch. Girl falls for this gorgeous guy who turns out to sell kisses and stuff for money. She won't give up, steals a kiss and refuses to pay . . . )
    Toshiue no Hito (by Amazume Ryuta) (Very sexy. But also, good characters that stick in the mind, good plot. Excellent art. Funny sometimes, serious sometimes. VERY sexy.)
    Koi Kaze (by Yoshida Motoi) (Incest, of all things. Brother and sister, separated since very young. Slow, subtle, tackles the difficulty)
    The Poet Who Buys Words (by Uhm Jung Hyun) (A Korean Manhwa; first Korean author I've liked much; his/her other stuff is good too. Short, interesting, different; literally about a poet cursed so he has to buy words to put in his poems)
    Undercurrent (by Toyoda Tetsuya) (Melancholy, very well done. Not much to say, really.)
    Mysterious Girlfriend X (by Ueshiba Riichi) (Funny, strange. Strange in a strange way. It’s about this guy who starts going out with this girl because . . . well, she goes to sleep at school, leaves drool on the desk, he tastes it, then finds he needs to keep tasting it. Their exchange of saliva [by licking their finger-no kisses as yet] turns out to pass emotions and stuff between them. She can also use scissors to do massive numbers of precise cuts in a split second. She’s an odd person generally—self-confident, but withdrawn, her emotions for the boy gradually start becoming more like a normal person’s. It’s funny, oddly romantic, puts weird twists on normal courtship and romance)
    Kagetora (by Segami Akira) (Unexpected. It's about this ninja guarding this girl, and like ninja and martial artist families and stuff. But actually it's not much about fighting. Mixed in with comedy is the main plot which is about the conflict between love and duty, 'cause like they fall for each other but he's not supposed to 'cause he's the ninja guardian guy. It's surprisingly sweet. I read it, didn't put it in, but then ran across it again and realized it had stuck in my mind.)
    Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge aka The Wallflower (by Hayakawa Tomoko) (Implausible and unrealistic. Silly. Often superficial characterization. I love it! The anime is great too. Four amazingly beautiful boys and the dark, spooky horror-addicted girl they're supposed to be turning into a fine lady. She has this aura of dark-and-scary, but can look amazingly cool at times. It's very very funny, and has odd moments of wisdom and good characterization.)
    Kimi ni Todoke (by Shiina Karuho) (Often compared to The Wallflower above, because the female lead has this creepy ghostly look about her which has caused her to be shunned and feared. But it's very different really. Girl in this one is actually incredibly sweet; her isolation has left her very naïve, but amazingly grateful for all the friendship she is shown—she takes nothing for granted that most people do, but treasures every experience. She falls for the guy who ignores her appearance and brings her into his group of friends. It's got some humour, but it's mainly a very touching, slow moving romance)
    Yotsuba&! (by Azuma Kiyohiko) (Very funny. Yotsuba is a 5-year old kid who's enthusiastic, unstoppable and has that sort of fresh, skewed perspective on things. Her dad is kind of fun. She has little adventures and stuff. It's, um, really really funny.)
    Hanjuku Joshi (by Morishima Akiko) (Yuri. Very very sweet. Not a lot of suspense, just a sweet sexy relationship between two lovely girls, with good characterization and pretty realistic portrayal of women. There's an older secondary couple who are interesting and quite different from the main pair)
    Monkey High (by Akira Shouko) (I don’t know why. It’s a simple romance; they get together early and have ups and downs and minor misunderstandings. The girl is superficially chilly, the boy is sunny and kind of silly and she thinks of him as a baby monkey, and the minor characters are mostly quite peripheral with one or two exceptions. But it’s kind of realistic, and it’s warm, and it skips a lot of the classic clichés. By the end they’re planning marriage)
    Guru Guru Pon-chan (by Ikezawa Satomi) (Old guy invents a little doohickey in the shape of a bone that will transform this female puppy into a human girl; she changes back unpredictably. She falls for this guy and when she gets a bit older starts going to school and wanting to get close to him. Is it doggy devotion or human love or both? Her tendency to act like a spirited dog when human is hilarious, but the love is touching)
    Hanatsukihime (by Hibiki Wataru) (Girl was born with a heart that would not beat, so her mother made a deal with a devil to put the devil's heart in her. But such deals are only for sixteen years, after which the devil must take its heart back. Nearly sixteen, she is living on borrowed time, along with her mysterious, handsome guardian who watches over her for no obvious reason. Romantic, well crafted, plucky good-hearted heroine)
    Bara no Tameni (by Yoshimura Akemi) (Description seems melodramatic, didn't think I'd like it, but it's really good. Plump not-so-attractive girl moves in with her mother and half-siblings; her mother's a selfish jerk and all the siblings are abrasive and insulting. She falls for one gorgeous brother anyway, the other brother loves him too, he's unaware of both and pining for his dead fiancee. You'd think it would be cheesy and melodramatic, but no. When it's serious, it's emotional but intelligent, but it also has unexpected comedy that comes naturally out of the situations and characters. Really very good.)
    V.B. Rose (by Hidaka Banri) (Very sweet, very funny. It has the humour of a Lovely Complex and the gosh-darned sweet cheerfulness of a Happy Hustle High or Love So Life. Girl ends up working part time for this shop that makes wedding dresses and stuff, falls for the young owner—plot is simple, it's the day-to-day lives and banter that make it. Ongoing)
    Love So Life (by Kouichi Kaede) (Cuteness overload. Orphan girl who was sort of everyone's big sister at the orphanage gets job minding the twin boys of this TV announcer guy. The twins are sooo cute it's ludicrous, the girl is cheerful and positive and stuff, and slowly starts half falling in love with announcer guy, half feeling like part of a family. Little twins in cow suits, 'nuff said. Ongoing)
    Hana no Namae (by Saitou Ken) (Slow and with a tendency to melancholy, although there are very funny moments. Deeper than most, and very touching. Girl lost her parents, relative who's a talented and bitter author takes her in. She gradually brings him out of his bitter depression, the garden she nurtures in his previously barren yard symbolizing their relationship. Very good)
    Sumire 16 Sai! (by Nagayoshi Takeru) (Hilarious. The comedy comes from the bizarre premise and the determinedly normal results. One of the girls at school is actually a puppet wielded by an old man. He never ever talks and is so committed to her character that he will take serious injury to avoid breaking role. Classmates gradually accept “Sumire”, who is a cheerful, bubbly, determined “shoujo heroine” type, always wanting to help others. It should be creepy but it isn't, it's oddly heartwarming—plus there's lots of great slapstick with the puppet)
    Chinatsu no Uta (by Kitagawa Shou) (About a sweet kid come to live in a small town which is beautiful but shrinking, about her beautiful, maybe supernaturally healing, voice, and about the tensions under the surface for her (orphaned) and people she comes to know. Slow-building but strong, I really hope the whole thing gets translated.)
    Kingyo Sou (by Fujitsuka Yuki) (Nice and sweet, but what makes it cool isn’t so much the mangaka’s skill as the subject. Main character is a girl who falls for a deaf guy. His hearing loss is nearly complete, but he can feel the strong beat of taiko drumming. She falls for the sound of his drums. Deals well with the troubles of relationship between a hearing girl and a hearing-impaired guy; it’s kind of ironic that what brings them together is a sound-based thing. Author of the one-shot Flying Bunny)
    Flat (by Aogiri Natsu) (Odd. About this kind of glum, laconic guy, normally fairly irresponsible, who finds himself increasingly depended on by a little kid and gradually starts to rise to the responsibility. Sort of like Aishiteruze Baby, but very low-key. Or, a bit like Usagi Drop.)
    Usagi Drop (by Unita Yumi) (Also odd. Guy adopts this 6-yr-old girl who, bizarrely, is apparently the child of his grandfather's old age. She's quiet but determined, kind of different, he's quite ordinary—average looks, average brains, grumbles but does his best. There's a time skip; 2nd half she's a teenager. Slow, good characterization, different feel and art from typical manga)
    Akagami no Shirayukihime (by Akizuki Sorata) (Fantasy. Well, no actual magic so far—but a Western medieval setting with imaginary kingdoms and very Japanese seeming characters. Anyway, the characters are well drawn and the romance is very nice. The heroine is a marvelous woman. Strong, warm, thoughtful, honest, conscientious, not caricatured or tsundere or anything)
    Miman Renai (by Takashima Hiromi) (About a nerd who works as a programmer, 29, who falls head over heels in love with a sweet innocent 13 year old. This despite that in terms of desire, what he likes is curvy women with big boobs. At the end they sort of pledge marriage sometime in the future; there's a time skip to her at 18 at which point their relationship is still so chaste that they haven't kissed yet except on the cheek. It's ridiculously sweet; their relationship shouldn't be believable, but oddly almost is—they just click so well together in this totally nonphysical way)
    NG Life (By Kusanagi Mizuho) (Main character has strong memories of his past life in Pompeii just before the eruption, including memories of his deep love and best friend, both of whom are also at school with him now [along with, after a while, a few other people from back then]. Problems: Neither remember, his love is now a guy and his best friend a girl. Some other people do remember, but may have had it in for him in the old days. It's strangely good . . . often touching, but what surprised me is that it's mostly hilarious; the convoluted relationships present and past plus that some people are in on the reincarnation thing and others it's a secret from makes for perfect farce plotting.)
    Beauty Research Club (by Oda Aya) (Good second tier. Not amazingly good, but really cute. Girl has a sort of allergy to beauty, especially handsome guys—if she looks at them very long she gets nauseous. Then due to odd circumstances she falls in love with this handsome tsundere guy. There's other plot frame, but it's all fairly slight. But their personality and relationship are so gosh-darned cute!)
    Hana to Akuma (by Oto Hisamu) (Wealthy powerful demon prince raises innocent young girl from babyhood in his mansion on earth, for reasons obscure even to him. They fall in love despite obvious mismatch in age, lifespan and so forth. Why is this even good? I don't know, but it is. Ending is gutsy.)
    Hitoribocchi wa Samishikute (by Chiba Kozue) (Not quite top, but nice. Not that long. Shy girl writes song lyrics in her notebook; nobody knows what she's writing, they all think she's creepy until this guy she falls for who believes in her, gets her to sing her stuff etc. Aspirations, problems with parents, individuality and nonconformity. Really nice; Chiba Kozue does other good stuff too.)
    Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru (by Ishiguro Masakazu) (Comedy. It’s kind of random, but not exactly a gag comic—there is gradual character development maybe, and some degree of continuity. The quality’s uneven—always moderately funny, sometimes really hilarious. It’s normally fairly naturalistic, but then there are odd departures. Ch.14, where the ditzy heroine goes into a coma and has a going-to-heaven experience, is so hilarious that all by itself it’s enough to put the manga on this list)
    Kanojoiro no Kanojo (by, um, listed as author Aoi, artist Yashiki Yukari) (More complex than most. Josei. Kind of ordinary, somewhat irresponsible woman meets a girl, Yuka Shimizu, who trains obsessively at free-fighting; beautiful, slender and almost tiny, with a melancholy look, she has great talent, speed and willpower. The two, their friends, boyfriends interact strangely and kind of dysfunctionally as Yuka seeks the championship. Bittersweet but warm in the end)
    Strobe Edge (by Sakisaka Io) (Ordinary love story, bit of triangle, angst done unusually well, sweet and innocent. Should be nothing special, but . . . T.S. Eliot said that poetry was about creating an “objective correlative”, where you create the emotion you want but not using emotional words. This is good that way—you feel her emotions from the visceral descriptions of literally how she feels, combined with the effective emotive art. So it hits in gut even though it's pretty simple. Author of Mascara Blues, other good stuff)
    Koishi Tagari no Blue (by Fujiwara Yoshiko) (This was being translated around the same time as Strobe Edge and had somewhat similar story and art, so I got a bit confused between them at times. But it's really quite good in its own right. There are two guys and two girls and they are all good people and mostly trying to give each other what they want, but manage to accomplish almost the opposite most of the time. So angsty and teenage, but it's heartfelt and doesn't overdo it)
    Hakuji (by Morie Satoshi) (Odd relationship between a very repressed artist and a girl modelling for him; she awakens him and it turns into romance, but he has serious trouble handling his desires)
    Gokusen (by Morimoto Kozueko) (Hilarious. Slight romance. Main character is a young woman raised by her yakuza boss grandfather. Toughest of the tough, she still decided she wanted to be a teacher. So there she is, teaching at this delinquent-filled high school and trying to pretend not to be part of a yakuza family. Her “family” are tough as nails and ridiculously sentimental, her students are mostly idiots, and she's constantly letting yakuza attitudes and slang slip out. It's great.)
    Gokuraku Seishun Hockey Club (by Morinaga Ai) (It's really funny. One of the jokes is that there's actually pretty much no hockey; they never actually finish a game. Female lead loves sleeping and great food, has little attention left for guys; she's a fun character.)
    Oishii Kankei (by Makimura Satoru) (Starts slow and has an old fashioned feel. But it builds; main character really grows. Sheltered daughter of rich parents suddenly poor, looks for work, enters the cooking world and gradually works her way to becoming a chef and having her own restaurant. Also falls for this guy who's a great chef, but it's more about her development. Fun, plot twists around nicely, some good secondary characters—especially the tough old lady)
    Octave (by Akiyama Haru) (Yuri. Down to earth and realistic, sometimes almost too much. Strong story, with ups and downs and frustrations and people doing stupid things and being depressed. But the love is still tender.)
    Shiawase Kissa Sanchoume (by Matsuzuki Kou) (Cute, sweet and funny. Straightforward in a way, but the main characters take ages to figure out what they feel for each other is love, because they're ridiculously dense. Girl lead is small, cute but not sexy, almost ludicrously cheerful and innocent, and bizarrely strong)
    Warau Kanoko-Sama (by Tsujita Ririko) (About a girl who loves observing what goes on. When she does get involved, she uses her expert observation to pull off surprising coups. Sarcastic, normally asocial but confident. Very gradually gets involved with a somewhat surly, cynical guy and gains some friends. Ongoing sequel is called Koi dano Ai dano)
    Karakuri Odette (by Suzuki Julietta) (About a girl who's a teenage robot and her experiences learning to be human. Pretty well done, sometimes funny, sometimes a bit dark.)
    Sazanami Cherry (by Kamiyoshi) (Gender bender. Shounen Ai, actually. But it's pretty sweet; the guy falls in love with what he thinks is a cute girl, but manages to accept the boy's crossdressing. Only 6 chapters)
    Kimi ga Uso o Tsuita (by Yorita Miyuki) (Interesting conceit. Girl gains the ability to see when people tell lies—they turn black, become just dark blobs for a moment. Complicates her life; she's someone who's been hurt bad, lost her parents; some of her hurt is from lies. Yet lying isn't so simple . . . pretty good romance, too.)
    Sonan Jyanaiyo (by Izumi Kaneyoshi) (Girl of normal attractiveness has two hot brothers who dote on her. Incest? Are they really her brothers? Yadda yadda—should be cliché and annoying, but the characters are great, especially the female lead and her mother. Good romance, but often hilarious)
    Immortal Rain (by Ozaki Kaori) (In a future world decaying into disaster, one man is immortal and apparently unkillable. A young girl trying to carry on her assassin father's legacy and kill him ends up instead falling for his odd innocence. Things get stranger and more tragic from there)
    Akaku Saku Koe (by Midorikawa Yuki) (Girl meets a boy with a voice so beautiful it can control people; he helps the cops, putting criminals to sleep etc., and avoids talking much the rest of the time. She falls for him gradually, difficulties are around his isolation and fear people around him will get hurt or endangered. Fairly short and sweet)
    Kagen no Tsuki (by Yazawa Ai) (Um, it’s sort of a ghost story? And has elements of a love story. But, mostly it’s about friends helping each other. It’s kind of haunting . . . a strong story that doesn’t fit the categories too well.)
    Holy Land (by Mori Kouji) (Fighting manga, but really good. Kid who got bullied all the time and ended up not even going to school, out of a strange impulse starts obsessively practicing the one-two punch from a textbook. Also starts wandering on the downtown streets at night. When someone tries to rough him up, he snaps and creams them. After that, he starts learning to fight, makes friends on the street, becomes very tough in a mournful sort of way; it’s all very realistic and well thought out martial arts, but it’s also about friendship and looking for things missing from life and stuff)
    Absolute Witch (by Kim Tae Yeon) (Manhwa. Medieval-style setting; spunky young woman brought up by ex-pirates turns out to be the first witch in hundreds of years with a massive destiny. Alternates fairly high drama with great humour; main character is fun and wilful. Good art, beautiful long flowing hair)
    Ashita no Ousama (by Yachi Emiko) (About a simple country girl at university who falls for the stage and decides to be an actress when she sees this impressive actor in a play. Turns out she sucks, but she has talent as a writer/director. There's slow romance with the actor, many neat characters, good pace, life lessons, theatre companies, good comedy at times . . . it's good. Keeps you reading)
    Sasameki Koto (by Ikeda Takashi) (Yuri. Tall, strong, smart girl, so good at karate she’s known as “violent Murasame” secretly loves her best friend, who is into girls but only cute fluffy ones. How long can she hold in her hopeless feelings? Good characters, tender feelings, funny comedy)
    Nana to Kaoru (by Amazume Ryuuta) (About a homely kappa-faced little zero and the beautiful sexy intelligent girl he’s loved desperately for years; they’ve lived next door forever, go to the same school, childhood friends, grown apart lately as he resigns himself to her unattainability. Except she discovers his thing for SM and in the process discovers her thing for SM; their get-togethers for tension-release “breathers” for her kindles a sweet slow-moving romance, while the breathers themselves are erotic and damn she’s so cute and sexy. Good characters)
    Sakamichi no Apollon (by ) (Set in Sixties Japan. Wonderful story of friendship, love, love for Jazz, social pressures . . . wonderful art fits the setting)
    Hikoukigumo (by Saito Rin) (Not very long. About the relationship between a guy, the girl he marries who then dies, their little son, and her younger sister who loves him too. Different parts come from different perspectives, and it's really sweet and sad and well done)
    Asagao to Kase-san (by Takashima Hiromi) (Yuri. Only 5 chapters; by the same mangaka who did Miman Renai. Extremely sweet with lovely cute art; the main character is just so squishable!)
    Koharu no Hibi (by Ooshiro Youkou) (About a guy who finds that a girl really loves him. Really, really, really, realllly loves him. Kind of at the “obsessed stalker” level. But she's such a sweet adorable little thing it's hard not to go along . . . oddly, it all works out happily. Strangely sweet)
    14-sai no Koi (by Mizutani Fuka) (Fourteen year old girl and boy in love. Sweet and simple, but less simple than it seems. They're the two people in class that everyone thinks is very mature and responsible, but they feel very young and nervous)
    Shi ni Itaru Yamai (by Asada Hikari, artist Seguchi Takahiro) (Not perhaps quite as deep as it seems, but that's still deep enough. Dark psychological; guy going into psychology meets a young woman who is in deep despair for reasons nobody understands, so much so that it seriously affects her physical health. He falls in love with her. The explanation is strange and develops mysteriously, the payoff is effective. Kierkegaard referenced frequently)
    Yogoreteru Hima Nanka Nai (by Ishida Takumi) (About a girl who messes up a lot, sleeps with the wrong people and stuff. But she's a good kid and gets things sorted out in the end. It kind of looks cynical and streetwise in a way, but it's actually nice in the end.)
    Lovely Everywhere (by Ke Li) (Taiwanese manhua. Sweet and fluffy and cute, but with surprisingly good characterization and realistic family situations and stuff. But above all, sweet and cute and heart-touching. Main character usually referred to as “little poodle”)
    Ran to Haiiro no Sekai (by Irie Aki) (About a young girl from an extremely magical, mythic family. She often uses magic to make her body adult, but she still thinks like a kid even when she looks like a luscious young woman. Fun and mostly lighthearted, magic is magical, mystical, natural; art is often beautiful, whole thing has a very different feel)
    Majime na Jikan (by Seike Yukiko) (Wistful, thoughtful, sometimes funny story about a girl who dies, and how she deals with existence among the other ghosts, and tries to affect the living to help her mother who hasn't been able to deal with her death, and stuff. Nine chapters)
    Nakanmon! (by Tsukishima Haru) (Nice little romance, fairly short, characters’ personalities are a bit more varied than average, pretty sweet. I dunno, it’s appealing, the way a really nice oneshot is appealing)
    Kimi to Kamihikouki to (by Hazuki Maccha) (Innocent, pretty art, funny, female lead loves paper airplanes. There's maybe a romance, sort of, but maybe they're just friends—too innocent to be sure. So sweet)
    Dear Mine (by Takao Shigeru) (So it's one of those “And it turns out she's the fiancee of a very rich boy who's inheriting huge companies or whatever and she's supposed to live in the mansion and cope with his domineering attitude and fall for him while humanizing him” things, except the twist is—she's in high school but he's only ten years old. Brilliant, precocious, old before his years from responsibility, but still ten; it's a big handicap for him as he tries to get her to fall for him. It's nice)
    Annarasumanara (by Ha Il-Kwon) (This is brilliant. It has the most amazing, haunting art ever. Originally a webcomic, it was eventually published on paper. The art mixes black-and-white with colour in spooky, beautiful, often symbolically significant ways as it tells the story of a poor girl making her way through the alienating grind of the Korean education/vocation system while trying to take care of her little sister, but then having an anarchic magician, apparently capable of real magic, turn her image of life upside down)
    Bonnouji (by Aki Eda) (Gentle, lighthearted, quirky friendship/love story about adults. No drama; it isn't even a big deal when they have sex the first time. Nice, relaxing, funny read)
    Hot Road (by Tsumugi Taku) (Rebel without a cause. Girl doesn't get along with her mom who's long separated from her dad, ennui at school, starts hanging out with ganger kids who ride motorcycles and sometimes get into rumbles. Falls for a bad boy, all that. None of it's exaggerated, it's harsh sometimes but not silly, down but not out, and the ending's pretty good. Realistic style art, realistic feeling story)
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