I’ve actually read more from Japan lately than what’s been available in English. I’ve been getting Japanese magazines and have found some series I really like, so I thought I’d share a few of titles with you that have caught my attention. 🙂
Shoujo from Dessert Magazine: Haru Matsu Bokura by Anashin (We Are Waiting For Spring)
I recently re-read this series because I really like it. The story has a lot of elements for fangirls. There’s a group of four bishie boys who are all in the school basketball club. They start hanging out at a cafe across the street from an outdoor basketball court. Our main heroine works at said cafe. It seems like a cliche set-up and for the most part is. But I rather like the main character, Mitsuki. She doesn’t want anything to do with the popular boys because she knows it will get in the way of making friends at school. She’s not into all the girl politics or groupie culture. She ends up making friends with the boys, however, when they start to frequent her cafe, and she evens crushes on one of them. The art in Haru Matsu Bokura is really nice. The colored pieces are all very vibrant, and the line art is pleasant to view as well. This series has 3 volumes out in Japan. I’ve read the first 2.
Shoujo from Hana to Yume Magazine: Namaikizakari by Miyuki Mitsubachi (Cheekiness in Full Bloom)
While I’m on the topic of basketball, I’ll just add this series as well. This is one I’ve fallen in love with because I can relate to the main character really well. Her name is Yuki Machida and she’s the manager of the boys basketball club. She became manager because she had a crush on an upperclassman, but has never confessed because she’s stubborn and tries to rationalize all her feelings. Yuki has a memorable first encounter with the boy protagonist, Shou Naruse, when he accidentally gropes her boob. Turns out Shou joins the basketball club, and Yuki has to deal with his flirtations. He discovers that she really likes the captain, and constantly bugs her about her feelings. She blows him off as a brat. Until one game, where she’s trying to motivate the boys to win, and she yells out to the court that if Naruse doesn’t hold onto the ball, she’s going to spank him. You can imagine how that goes over with the Japanese teens. The story revolves around Yuki trying to deny her feelings and Shou doing things that only make her fall for him more. It’s cute and humorous. There’s so many funny moments in this series and it’s all balanced well with the more emotional moments. It reminds me of Skip Beat! and Dengeki Daisy in that way, and that’s probably why I like it so much. This is at 4 volumes in Japan. I’ve read the first 3.
Shoujo from Bessatsu Friend (Betsufure) Magazine: Kanna to Decchi by Ammitsu (Kanna and the Apprentice)
Last, but not least by far, is this little gem about a carpenter’s apprentice. This series has my absolute favorite accidental kiss scene. The main character Kanna’s father is a carpenter. He takes on an apprentice by the name of Aiba Katsuhito. Katsuyan, as he is nicknamed, lives with Kanna and her father while he apprentices. Kanna discovers Katsuhito’s background and slowly begins to warm up to him. Her father declares that there will be no romantic relationships while Katsuyan is apprenticing – his only lovers must be his tools! Looks like that might end up being rather difficult, as Kanna and Katsuhito find themselves in romantic situations rather unexpectedly quite often. (Clever mangaka.) I like the change of scenery in this story. It’s set around the apprenticing aspect, so even though they’re teens it doesn’t revolve around school. The hot guys with tools also floats my boat, so I rather enjoy the scenes where the carpenters are shirtless and working with their hands.^^ This series is at 3 volumes in Japan. I’ve read the first 2.
So here’s the nice thing about the above series. Haru Matsu Bokura and Kanna to Decchi are both published by Kodansha. Kodansha seems to be listening to the fans when it comes to licensing, and if they get enough demand, or think it will sell well, then they just might license it. So if you go searching these out and decide you like them, then please by all means let Kodansha USA know what you like. And make sure to support the mangaka by buying the books even if you can’t read the Japanese. I’ve linked them all from Kinokuniya, USA.