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Manga Before Flowers — Recommendation Post #7

Rin wrote the following, “I like josei / shojo series that are not too romantic or smutty, my two favourites are Honey and Clover and NANA.”

I could not have asked for a request more up my alley.  I’m not recommending Ai Yazawa’s Paradise Kiss because I assume everyone who reads NANA has also read that.  On the other hand, I still want to mention the title because Paradise Kiss remains my absolute ideal of a series that nicely bridges the world of shojo and the world of josei.

And so I take this opportunity to recommend three titles that also function as excellent transitions from shojo to josei.

1.  Venus in Love, by Yuki Nakaji, published by CMX.


Description by publisher: College: A time for new friends and new loves — and getting confused about which is which. It seems like Suzuna is on track to land Eichi the guy of her dreams. But her other new friend — the beautiful Hinako — has some interesting information regarding Eichi that’s going to force Suzuna to take a second look at the whole situation. She’s about to discover that love can come with some unexpected competition.

2.  Walkin’ Butterfly, by Chihiro Tamaki, published by Aurora.


Description by publishers: Michiko’s height is matched only by her complex about it. While delivering pizzas at a fashion show she is mistaken for a model. Mihara, the show’s designer, confronts her and tells her that she can’t walk the catwalk. From that moment on, Michiko is determined to find her place in the world as a model. Can she find the inner strength to undergo a spectacular transformation? Is Michiko up to the challenge? Just try her.

3.  Flower of Life, by Fumi Yoshinaga, published by DMP.


Description by publisher: Forced to enroll in school one month late after recovering from a serious illness, Harutaro is doing his best to remain optimistic about the entire situation. The other students are working hard to make Haru feel welcome – especially his chubby, loveable pal, Shota. However, Kai Majima, President of the Manga Club and all-around hard case, seems to be the one person intent on making Harutaro’s school life a living nightmare.


Any word on whether Walkin’ Butterfly is going to complete? I haven’t heard anything from Aurora in a while.

I’m going to have to give Venus in Love another look, based on this.

No word on Walkin’ Butterfly (that I know) but I like this title enough to recommend it at 3 (out of 4) volumes released.

Venus in Love is quite charming and very low-key.

I think I’d also recommend Sand Chronicles, based on that sort of… wistful and nostalgic feeling that it shares with Honey and Clover. :)

Good choice — I went the other direction (i.e. zany college / high school adventures!) probably because both those comics (Honey & Clover and SC) make me cry. A lot.

Is josei the adult version of shojo? I don’t know all the terminology.

I’ve read most of Nana, but I haven’t read Paradise Kiss. So you’re wrong about everybody reading both.

josei is indeed the adult version of shojo (i.e. aimed at adult women).

And see, I covered all my bases by mentioning Paradise Kiss. Which is why I discussed the fact I *assumed* people had read it (because in my heart I suspect a few of you NANA readers haven’t).

I think I’d add The Forest of Gray City, Nodame Cantabile, and The Palette of 12 secret colors.

[…] Leigh has more recommendations in her latest Manga Before Flowers post at Comics Should Be […]

Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions! I guess I shuld have mentioned that I am not into yaoi, but I will give the other suggestions a try.

hi Rin, there’s no yaoi there! All those are considered shojo / josei!

(Trust me, Flower of Life is NOT yaoi, just stupid mistaken assumption because Yoshinaga does write other major yaoi works. but she also works in shojo, josei, and even seinen now.

Er, and I didn’t mean say it was your assumption…BN.com (and probably Amazon?) seemed to think Flower of Life was yaoi but having read the entire series I can ensure you it isn’t.

Oh yeah you’re right, I just checked, sorry.

No, I just reacted kind of strongly because I often hear people call Antique Bakery (by Yoshinaga) yaoi simply because she has gay characters in that story. A gay character alone doesn’t make something yaoi from my perspective.

Rin should go ahead and read Antique Bakery while she’s at it; it’s brilliant!

Check its on my to read list!

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