Imadoki! Nowadays – Yuu Watase: Series Review

Imadoki! originally ran in Shojo Comic magazine from 2000-2001. Brought to the states by Viz in 2004, the series is a short five volumes. Imadoki! is a pleasant addition to Yuu Watase’s collection, a mix of dramatic and comedic moments that conclude on a satisfying note.

The Gist: High school first year Tanpopo Yamazaki moves from Hoikkado to Tokyo to attend Meio Academy, a high-tech high school filled with high class families. The day before school begins she goes to see the high school and literally runs into a young man planting a dandelion. When she sees the guy in her class the next day she learns that he is Kiko Kugyo, son of the owner of Meio Academy. Kiko pretends not to have met Tanpopo, even though she remembers him from the day before. The students begin to chastise her for speaking to Kugyo like she knows him. When they find out she is a scholarship student from the country, they begin to bully her. Tanpopo continues on everyday with a smile on her face and attempts to make new friends by starting a “Planting Club”. Soon she attracts the attention of Kugyo and a few other misfit students who learn the true meaning of friendship from Tanpopo.

Planting Club:  Arisa, Kiko, Aoi, Tanpopo, and Tsukiko

Planting Club: Arisa, Kiko, Aoi, Tanpopo, and Tsukiko

The Characters/Romance: Tanpopo is one of those bright, sunny characters that provides cheer to all the others around her. Her exuberance for life makes a large impression on the supporting cast members. That is especially true for Kiko Kugyo who has felt used by his peers for his social connections for most of his childhood. He is cynical about friendships, and tries to push Tanpopo away right after they first meet. But after watching her stand up to the bullying at school he begins to respect her, and eventually his feelings turn to love. Even though he’s the main love interest, I still felt that he was a somewhat stiff character. I think Watase could have developed him better. The other cast members include Aoi Kyougoku, computer hacker and flippant delinquent, Tsukiko Saionji, scheming rich girl, and Arisa Uchimura, new money ganguro and party girl.

The Art: Watase’s character designs for Imadoki did have some distinctive personalities, however, there were still faces I could pick out from some of her other works. Kiko is the least distinctive, looking like Tamahome from Fushigi Yugi or Night from Absolute Boyfriend. The most distinctive character is Arisa since she is drawn as a ganguro with a tanned face and outrageous makeup. The one character that I think everyone enjoys is Poplar, Tanpopo’s pet fox. He could be considered the mascot and received many cute poses from Watase throughout the series. Though the character designs may be weak, the paneling and story-boarding really shine. Events  are paced smoothly and transitions are easy to follow. There are several colored pieces for this series as well. While they all consist of character expositions, the one I most preferred included the cast lying in a field of various flowers.

The Audience: Imadoki is appropriate for a teen audience. One topic discussed is teen pregnancy and abortion. The most you see is a chaste kiss or two so the rating of the series would be cuddly.

The Media: Imadoki! is available in the states in five volumes from Viz media, but may be difficult to find since it was printed several years back.

Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥♥

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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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  • I loved this series! Although, it wasn’t one which would make me nostalgic and depressed when I finished it, which would’ve been a sign of a good book.

  • Maybe we can hope it might get put up on the JManga site. That would be a good addition.

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