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Currently Reading from Japan – September 2015

Recently I got another order in from Kinokuniya.  I was looking forward to reading more volumes of these shoujo series, so here’s what I tackled this month.

Watashi no Ookami-kun covers

Watashi no Ookami-kun vol. 1 & 2

Watashi no Ookami-kun by Yoko Nogiri (He’s My Wolf-kun)

Love, love, love this series that is currently running in Aria magazine. There are some fruits-basket like elements where the boys change into animals, or actually are animals that can change into humans I should say. A wolf, a tanuki, a cat, and a fox that have learned to hold human forms and attend a local high school. Main heroine Kusunoki Komugi first encounters Oogami Yuu in class where he sits next to her and tells her she smells good. ^^ She then discovers that he changes into a wolf and for reasons that are unexplained, the boys are not able to tamper with her memories to make her forget. So Komugi finds herself with a reverse harem of bishies that are really animals, and she develops feelings for Yuu, as well as the boys developing feelings towards her. How can a girl have a life with an animal, though? That’s the thought provoking question that this mangaka tries to tackle with this series.

I like the supernatural element of Watashi no Ookami-kun and would love to see it get picked up for English license by Kodansha. There are many sweet and adorable moments and the art is great as well. Here’s one of my favorite drawings of the boys in human form with tails and ears. 🙂

Ookami-kun scan

R to L : Yuu the wolf, Aoshi the tanuki, and Rin the fox. Senri the cat is not in the room yet.

 

Koisuru Harinezumi Covers

Koisuru Harinezumi vol. 1-4

Koisuru Harinezumi by Nao Hinachi  (A Hedgehog in Love)

This has quickly become my next favorite series in Betsucomi. (QQ Sweeper sequel being my favorite right now.) Kii is the main character of this story and she has a pet hedgehog. She likes hedgehogs and that is the ongoing theme through this story. The boy protagonist, Heiji, is compared to a hedgehog by his family friends because he’s very lovable but prickly on the outside.  Heiji gets ostracized by his classmates because he can get violent if pushed too far. Kii however, decides that she wants to be friends with him. As Kii learns more about Heiji she begins to fall for him, and Heiji starts opening up to Kii and finding friends along the way. The interactions between Kii and Heiji are just adorable in this series. When she first cries in front of him, he picks her up over his shoulder and spins her around until she stops. Confused she asks what he was thinking, and he tells her that it always works on the little boy of his friend. This is so cute it’s embarrassing!

I think the artwork in Koisuru Harinezumi is just as adorable as the characters. Betsucomi has done a lot of colored wallpapers for this series that are really cute. There are so many drawings that I just love in this series. My favorite happens at a wedding but I’m not going to spoil it for you. I’ll show you this moment from when Kii helps Heiji reconnect with his friends from middle school. There’s a rare smile from Heiji and a cute one from Kii as well.

Koisuru-Harinezumi scan

Koisuru Harinezumi vol. 3

 

Heroine Shikaku covers

Heroine Shikkaku vol. 1-3

Heroine Shikkaku by Momoko Kouda (No Longer Heroine)

This series I picked up because the live action movie is coming out soon. I figured if they are making a movie out of it, then it must be a decent manga. That is probably a pretty good assumption, because I found this series rather engrossing and hard to put down.

Main character Hatori has been in love with her childhood friend Rita forever. She keeps waiting for Rita to notice to no avail. Then Rita comes along with a girlfriend. The title of this series plays on the tropes of shoujo manga, where the story is about the heroine and her love interest. But Hatori declares herself no longer heroine of this shoujo manga when Rita, the male protagonist, has another girl. Hatori tries her hardest to accept Rita’s relationship and just be the best friend that she’s always been, but it’s breaking her heart. Meanwhile, the most popular boy at school Kousuke Hiromitsu, takes an interest in Hatori and proposes to help her get over Rita. At first it’s for fun, but he soon discovers his own feelings for Hatori. Rita continues to send Hatori mixed signals and the poor girl has no idea who she really loves – Rita or Kousuke.

I can see why they made Heroine Shikkaku into a live action – it’s like the perfect soap opera dramatic love story with a lot of comedy and breaking the fourth wall thrown in. The story is entertaining and most young people can relate to this scenario. I think the manga is highly enjoyable, and the art style is very unique. Kouda has an amazing ability of drawing funny distorted expressions on the main character’s face.  We’re talking numerous expressions from grief to happiness that even parody other series art. That makes the drawings entertaining in and of themselves.  Heroine Shikkaku is a great read for fans of high school dramas and will keep you laughing as well.

heroine-shikkaku scan

Hatori is always crying – here’s a couple of her distorted facial expressions.

That’s my haul for September. I’ve linked the series from the Kinokuniya website, so if you want to read them, please support the mangaka and order them in Japanese. I have a couple other series I will be getting next month, so stayed tuned for more shoujo manga from Japan. Sayonara for now!

 

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Laura

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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4 Comments

  • woah! i love koisuru harinezumi a lot!
    i want to wait the licensed edition ones, but i don’t know when it’ll be released. planning to buy the Japanese version ones on next Feb as the last volume will be released. it will be my first comic in Japanese :3 , i only able to read hiragana and katakana so far and still blind about tenses and its gramatical, but for Hozuki-kun i’ll do anything *3*

    but i don’t like heroine shikkaku, we have different taste for this one T.T

    anyway, your website is great! keep up the good work! 🙂

    • Thanks! I would love to see Koisuru Harinezumi get licensed. It is a really great shoujo manga – and I think there would be others that might like it as well. Glad you stopped by for a visit – hope you come back again!

  • Heroine Shikkaku sounds really similar to Strobe Edge, and I love the expressions she has in those panels! Thanks for sharing with us! How have you progressed so quickly in your Japanese? It’s pretty impressive! I wish I had more time to study lol but my classes have to come first.

    Looking foward to more posts!

    • I find that seeing the symbols and words used in context helps me remember them better. Flash cards don’t really work for me, so I read a little bit every night from a tankoban or magazine. I try to get magazines that have short stories or one shots so that I can make sense of the entire thing. I’m pretty good at drawing conclusions just from the pictures! 🙂

      I’ve gotten better at decoding or recognizing the hiragana and kanji and spelling out words. I just have to look up a lot of words still. I’m starting to recognize verb tenses as well. I REALLY need to increase my vocabulary. That’s my next step.

      Heroine Shikkaku is really good. I recommend it for fans of Io Sakisaka. I’m going to get hold of her current series, Sensei Kunshu, and see if I like it. Maybe not because it’s a student-teacher romance and it’s not my thing. But the drawing is great! 🙂

      Thanks for all the comments as always!

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