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CSBG Archive

Manga Before Flowers — Recommendation Post #2

Today, I get to recommend some of my favorite shojo titles to JimYung, who wrote that “I enjoy Love.Com and High School Debut.  I feel like they’re just the right mix of romantic comedy but I’m not looking for something like Love Hina.”

Step up for your personalized manga recommendations, JimYung!

1. Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, by Karuho Shiina, published by Viz.


Description: Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie. With striking similarities to a haunting movie character–jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor–she’s mistakenly called Sadako by those around her. But behind her scary façade is a very misunderstood teenager. Too shy to fit in, all she wants to do is make some friends. But when the most popular boy in class befriends her, she’s sure to make more than just that–she’s about to make some enemies too!

2.  Venus Capriccio, by Mai Nishikata, published by CMX.

venus c

Description: Takami and Akira are childhood friends who took piano lessons together when they were little. Takami was a tomboy who grew up among four brothers, while Akira was a cute, quiet boy who was skilled in piano more so than Takami. They grew up like siblings -at least, that is how Takami felt. Years later, things began to change when Akira suddenly kisses and confesses his feelings for Takami. She is startled by Akira’s unexpected affection and doesn’t know how to react…until Takumi begins to realize that her feelings for Akira are beginning to change.

3.  Otomen, by Aya Kanno, published by Viz.


Description:  Asuka Masamune is a guy who loves girly things–sewing, knitting, making cute stuffed animals and reading shojo comics. But in a world where boys are expected to act manly, Asuka must hide his beloved hobbies and play the part of a masculine jock instead. Ryo Miyakozuka, on the other hand, is a girl who can’t sew or bake a cake to save her life. Asuka finds himself drawn to Ryo, but she likes only the manliest of men! Can Asuka ever show his true self to anyone, much less to the girl that he’s falling for?


I think the Kimi ni Todoke recommendation is spot-on because it, like both Love*Com and High School Debut ran in the shoujo anthology Margaret. I’ve found that titles from that magazine all share a certain kind of warmth and general feel-good awesomeness. So if that’s what Jim enjoys about the two series he mentioned, he’ll definitely find it in Kimi ni Todoke.

Thanks for the recommendations! I see my library has Kimi ni Todoke and Otomen so I’ll try them out.

*nods* Yeah, that was totally part of my logic there.

I think Venus C. is a more traditional romance but I also remember it had a nice streak of humor as well and obviously Otomen is more focused on the humor than the romance, but was the kind of character humor that is really warm, never mean-spirited.

You are quite welcome, JimYung! You must have one of those truly awesome libraries if it is already carrying those titles (which are both fairly new releases).


Unfortunately, they only have 1 copy of Kimi Ni Todoke. They have the first 3 volumes of Otomen but we’ll see how long it takes them to get to me.

Since it has been mentioned that Kimi Ni Todoke ran in Margaret, are there any other releases in the US that ran in that title?

Kimi ni Todoke! I don’t read too much shoujou manga, but I love this.

Let’s see…Crimson Hero (Viz, Sports Romance), Itazura na Kiss (Romantic Comedy, to be published this fall by DMP), The Devil Does Exist (CMX, Romance).

There may be more but those are the ones I know about…

I’m not real big into romance, but from the plot synopsis, these seem a bit more original than the normal Hollywood “guy likes girl, guy woos girl, girl has misunderstanding/guy screws up, girl forgives guy” romance plot that’s been rehashed for years and years.
I probably won’t go actively looking for these, but I’ll keep my eye out for them.

Other Margaret titles include Boys Over Flowers, B.O.D.Y. (technically in the offshoot Bessatsu Margaret), Mixed Vegetables, and Tail of the Moon. I’ve only read Boys Over Flowers, which I love very much. I’ve heard good things about Tail of the Moon and negative things about B.O.D.Y. and Mixed Vegetables, but all taste is subjective! :)

Otomen sounds pretty awesome to me. Actually they all do (despite the fact that the only one with art that I might like at all is Venus Capriccio). How long are these series and are any of them complete in the US yet? (I know, I sound like a one track album, huh?)

Nope, none are finished yet! But Viz is a very stable company and their releases come out on a very regular schedule (Otomen and Kimi ni Todoke). Venus Capriccio is only 5 volumes and two are out now (the third should follow soon).

Venus Capriccio is complete in Japan, while Otomen and Kimi ni Todoke have both reached their ninth volumes there.

Otomen is indeed quite awesome. I think the cover of volume three is the most shoujotastic thing I’ve ever seen.

See for yourself!

[…] Leigh has another round of personalized manga recommendations at Comics Should Be […]

Actually, quite a few of the Margaret titles mentioned are from Bessatsu Margaret (BODY, Crimson Hero, Devil Does Exist, LoveCom, High School Debut, Kimi ni Todoke, and Itazura na Kiss), which generally runs just a liiiitle older in demographic than Margaret (Mixed Vegetables, Tail of the Moon, Boys over Flowers, and the upcoming Stepping on Roses from Viz… oh, and Swan, for some REALLY old Margaret manga). I agree that both magazines share that warmth of character and humour, though some titles have more drama than others (it is my opinion that BODY just kinda goes way too far with the drama and becomes ridiculous, but anyway…). I reallly love most of the series I’ve seen from both magazines :D

Don’t forget “Monkey High”! (It often gets lost in the shuffle). It feels *a lot* like Love*Com, in terms of humor, but the characters are distinct: It’s about a girl who is forced to transfer to a public high school after her politician father gets caught up in scandal; the short, childish “baby-monkey” like boy she starts dating, and the wacky classmates who are always spicing things up. It has a lot of heart and is very funny. (Published by Viz; I think it’s complete at 8 volumes)

I wanted to give an update – I got the first volume of Otomen. It was very good! Not too flowery and not too conventional with just enough humor and innocence to make it sweet. I’ll definitely continue this series. The only problem (if it is a problem) is that there just isn’t enough conflict to make the series compelling for very long although there is ample room to add conflict. I would be disappointed if (as in the manga within a manga) Asuka keeps delaying his eventual relationship with Ryo.

I’ll also keep an eye out for Monkey High if it’s similar to Love*Com.

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