Tag Archives: shojo

La Corda d’Oro – lots of pretty guys, and classical music.

La Corda d’Oro
Written and Drawn by Yuki Kure.
Published by Viz Media. 184 pages. 2006. $8.99

Just when I believe that there wasn’t going to be another show just like Nodame Cantabile, came to my awareness about this series several years ago as an anime. Then I picked up the manga to read. The basic premises of the story focus on Hino Kahoko, who got picked to play in a school music competition even though she doesn’t even know how to play any instruments herself. She meets a lot of people, and finds potential in maturing with a genuine passion for music.

Originally this series was  inspired by a role playing video game. La Corda d’Oro eventually had two anime seasons, and various compact disc releases. This book series is probably a good read for any reader who enjoys reading about classical music, and of individual determination to adapt to a situation.

This series also has a reverse harem, so it is clearly targeted toward the female audience. Harems have a particular following within manga/anime culture. A main character, and then a group of the opposite gender. Of course nearly everyone in the group falls for the main character or is significantly affected by their presence and relationship. You see it in Tenchi Muyo, Ranma 1/2, Vandread or Love Hina. Those series appeal to the male audience though. Of course with reverse harem, there the girl with a lot of really cute guys. Fushigi Yuugi, Fruits Basket, Ooku, and Ouran High School Host Club fit the bill for this one.

Of course with the harem element, there is a variety of character types, and so an individual can have a favoring or leaning toward as the one true pairing. There are a lot of men in this series, and I can mention with a straight face that I find my preference in the pairing of Kahoko and Kazuki, even though it appears that Kahoko potentially likes Len the best.

At the moment there is 12 volumes in English, and volume 13 will be released in March. This is still an on going manga series in which, the English has successfully been adapted right alongside the Japanese, so there is no worry about playing catch up with this series.

For potential read alike, of course there’s going to be a long list of potential shoujo choices. La Corda D’Oro already has an interesting perspective that is really not as covered by a lot of other manga at the moment out there. For classical music similarities, there is Nodame Cantabile. For reverse harem there’s Ouran High School Host Club since more than one male falls for Haruhi, not as much as for Kahoko though. Lastly for the inclusion of fairies or other worldly guardians, Shugo Chara, or Full Moon wo Sagashite fit the bill for this.

This really is a female targeted title, so I potentially won’t see guys enjoying this title as much. Any different opinions? Of course I am in the crowd that definitely found similarity with shonen manga, once a reader got over the so many shoujo cliche moments. The main character finds strength and determination to succeed in an area, there are conflicts for the main character. There is friendship, although there is the every popular shoujo idea of an ideal match.

Poignent words, and definitely a scene of change/growth.

Kimi ni Todoke – A look between the anime and the manga.

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You
Story and Art by Karuho Shiina.
Published by Viz Media. 216 pages. 2009. $8.99

How many ways can I justify Kimi ni Todoke? It certainly impressed two of Anime Diet’s other writers to have written past blog entries about it. (Even I got into writing about the anime for a little bit on my blog.)

Ray’s Take -01
Mike’s Take on Why I like Sawako
Mike’s Mild Therapy Entry
Mike’s 8-9
Mike’s Midway Point
animemiz initial impression
animemiz Midway point

There is also the second season that currently airing in Japan this anime season. If you do enjoy the anime greatly, then you definitely should check out the manga version. The anime version can be a draw for visual people, but manga reading has subtle nuances that rely an internal feeling that is only produced by the reader. That’s how I felt when I read the first book. There are also more spoken in the manga that is otherwise overlooked in the anime.

Still upon reading the manga, there are some drawbacks… for one if you read the manga before seeing the anime, there are some expectations in seeing what is animated or not. Then there is disappointment when the bits are not animated. Another is the obvious five senses used of course. Reading uses only the sight, but watching is sight and sounds. Smells is also another condition that is for your discretion of course.

Kimi ni Todoke is an extremely innocent and slow paced high school romance. This may not be a realistic reality for many people, but this is definitely an ideal one from a very proper approach. Meeting someone who you want to be with for the rest of your life, having that same feeling return and maintaining a relationship is not going to be an easy thing to occur.

I don’t believe I have ever seen a male protagonist blush as much as what Kazehaya does. The manga has themes of friendship, acceptance, understanding, and inner beauty. There is not as much conflicts that Sawako should overcome, other than her own confidence on being accepted in spite of other school situation. Sawako is a shy and introverted girl with a “scary” face.

I definitely have pretty high hopes to see more of this series soon, so that’s my thoughts of this series at the moment. There has been six volumes with a seventh coming out soon in English and Japanese. This is one series that definitely has caught up with the Japanese version.

Kare Kano and High School Debut may be similar manga reads. Both are shoujo titles with teen relationships in it, but that is where similarities may end. Kimi ni Todoke has an interesting premise that please a reader who is patient enough with the relationship being developed slowly.

So everyone's pretty scared of her... but the art's pretty cute?

Drunken Dreams and other classic shojo stories…

A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio (Fantagraphics, 2010)

Classics… what is the age or what is the quality that is considered to be a classic? I heard that Fushigi Yuugi is considered a classic in an anime.. yet I also heard Battle Royale is considered to be a classic title, despite of it only coming out in this past decade. Now with all my talk about classics.. A Drunken Dream and Other Stories is most definitely a collective work of classic shojo titles. When I saw this at my library, I definitely grabbed it up.. this is a book mentioned by Deb Aoki as being the Best New Manga of 2010. Of course new is a subjective term, new is for the English readers who picks up this book to read.

The mangaka herself is considered to be part of the Magnificent 49’s, a term coined for a group of mangaka that have definitely revolutionized the trend of shojo and josei manga. This is very much like how Kikuko Inoue had playfully called herself as part of a Forever 17 group back at Otakon.

This book is considered to be a sample of her continuing work, and there is an insightful interview that is from the back of the book. Many of the stories in this book are well thought out. There are themes of coming of age, life/death, and definitely issues that females and males would find of interest. Stories that definitely stood out for me in this book are Bianca, Hanshin: Half God, Angel Mimic, and Iguana Girl. If you do get a chance to read this book, then what would be the stories that stand out for you?

Expression priceless as she strips..

Portrait of M&N: What’s your guilty pleasure?

Purchase Portrait of M and N Volume 1 (Portrait of M & N)
by Higuchi Tachibana
Published by Tokyopop. 208 pages. 2010 $9.34

I was slightly apprehensive when I was initially task to review Portrait of M&N, over at Anime.com, but with the opportunity of getting to read Volumes Two to Three arose. I was able to settle into reading this teenage romance with some more level of comfort. Also as far as what I read in Volume One and Two, there are other one shots from Tachibana. Volume Three is a complete full read of Portrait of M&N.

The cast of this teenage romance does fleshes out some more from the first volume, and there are quirks that can keep a reader going on. There are currently three books out in English from Tokyopop, and it is the half way point, since there is only six books. I really like the varying coloring book cover schemes of the series, so it is Yellow, Green and Blue for the current English releases.

Mitsuru and Natsuhiko are leads who both have secrets to keep from the world. They meet as transfer students, and do keep to themselves from the rest of the class, but as with many shoujo titles, somehow the female always seems to be the more disliked character in terms from other characters within the book.

For other similar reads, I previously mentioned Fruits Basket, and Kare Kano. But at this point of reading and thinking more about the series, Kamikaze Girls is also another title that should probably be read by readers of this series.

I don't want to be stuck in this scene!

High School Debut – Just another teen romance manga…

Just when I can forget about high school, I started to read this manga series.. and reading it makes me think about an idyllic youthful period. If that is what you want to think about, you can definitely pick up this book to read.

Haruna is a tomboy who made a goal to get a boyfriend, so this is a series on her journey of embarking in a teen romance at high school with Yoh, a really cute boy. She faces challenges in ex-girl friend’s, Yoh’s sister, and the rest of the world trying to get either Yoh’s or her’s attention. Also there are the issues of what makes dating an issue over just being regular friends.

I am reading through this series at a pretty much a snails pace, but man if I am in the mood for some high school romance.. then sit down and read through 13 volumes of this romantic comedy from Shojo Beat.

What can make you want to pick up this book?

  • Feel apathy for some characters.
  • First time I ever see a male lead depicted all the times with lines under his eyes, indicating long hours, and no sleep.
  • Want to probably learn about what makes a young girl click.
  • If you want to see what a girl’s response to learning about love, by reading manga… there is a parody on manga within a manga, like what they mention in Otomen, Junjou Romantica etc.
  • Other manga read alike probably to this book… Absolute Boyfriend, Otomen, Gals, Love.com or any other teen teen romances.. like Glee or High School Musical….  (Monkey High is another possible title, since they are both Shojo Beat releases, but not really.. since High School Debut, it is the awkward girl chasing after the cool “perfect” guy.. instead of the the other way. >_< )

What can make you not want to pick up this book?

  • What another shojo title… and you reeaalllly got something else to do.
  • Repetitiveness of themes. I was really not impressed with how much cliche or beauty tips there is.
  • This is a verrrry girly book.
Someone's crying.. and no nothing serious!

kimi ni todoke 01 – It’s nice, really.

My impression on Mamiko Noto’s voice is breathy and sexy, not scary. Apparently that’s not how many Japanese people think. She’s the person voicing Kuronuma Sawako, a girl with an apparence too much like the ghost Sadako from the Ring, a Japanese horror movie that I do not recommend watching at 12 AM at night on a large television – but it does make a great date movie that way (yeah, what do I know about that). A trivia – Once Mamiko sang a Japanese children song at some event, and people thought her voice was way too chilling like a hateful woman spirit making a curse!

The animation reminds me of Honey and Clover and even the story itself has a little bit of that atmosphere. Everyone is likable and you can’t help feel pretty good just watching the show. It is shojo so the guys do stand out. Obviously, Kazehaya, the guy who falls in love with our resident Sadako (no, that’s not a spoiler, it’s an obvious conclusion), is the nicest and kindest among them all. He’s known to wanting to help anyone in the class who is disenfranchised.

The usual shojo smiles and glittering and flowers are added for decoration but not obnoxiously so. There is shojo humor when people run away from Sawako even though she’s just trying to say hi, or say “please use it”. I say this is a nice show because it portrays the Japanese High School as a place with good girls. Even the girls that gossips behind Sawako’s back don’t say anything truly nasty. Nobody picks on her in her face or bullies her in anyway, perhaps because she’s rumored to see ghosts and make people sick. But she’s just a very nice gal who desperately needs a hair cut.

Thanks to Kazehaya, Sawako can speak up loudly and explain herself better by the end of the episode and the two clear up some air. So what will happen next?

Everything flows smoothly and nothing drags on. It’s no Honey and Clover but it’s appealing. I won’t be writing about this one because I’m no shojo fan despite the fact I have been seduced to the power of shojo side recently watching a little bit of H&C recently. If you want more coverage, ask Mike # 1 to do it.

Additional notes: the title text and the OP eye catcher made me think of Shaft and I went, uh-oh. But it’s animated by Studio I.G.!

The manga that the show is based on received an award, so for any women interested in how the anime turns out, there you go.


Shojo Mojito: Tamahome Twist

TamahomeTwist

Welcome to the first installment of Shojo Mojito! Every Friday (unless a horrendous hang-over strikes) I’ll be bringing you delcious drink recipes starring bishi boys and georgous girls from old and new shojo series!

This weeks recipe is the “Tamahome Twist” inspired by, of course, Tamahome from Fushigi Yuugi (also known as “The Mysterious Play”. Enjoy and drink responbily!

Lovely Complex (Final Episode) – She’s So High Above Me…

Though it would not be called an atypical shojo love comedy by any stretch, one thing that Love-Com does well is make good use of it’s comedic effects while adding just enough drama. It did this well enough to keep my wife and I following the story rather religiously to the end. After a while, it became kind of a guilty pleasure. We both painfully and gleefully watched our favorite All Hanshin Kyoshin duke it out with their own hang ups, meddling friends, previous other and wannabe love interests, as well both of their tendency to be outright clueless. From the very beginning, it’s not hard to have a strong sense that the stars will most likely align to bring this vertically mismatched couple together in a state of harmonious dysfunction.

LoveConHansinLoveConUmibouzuLoveConWaterslideLoveConDrinkLoveConFightLoveConShock

Although they differ greatly in the height department, they are in fact as much alike as two people can get. This fact bonds them together as an inseparable duo when it comes to there favorite rock star Umibouzu, the Uber-slide at the water park and exotic mystery drinks at the cafe (as well as countless other activities that anyone else would have found weird or childish). Unfortunately though, their similarity also becomes one of their greatest points of contention as it often drives them to bicker back and forth like an old married couple. Not to mention the drama caused by the fact they both so clueless and stupid as to realize each others obvious feelings for each other at any given worst moment.

The season ending plays out very fittingly for this love comedy as the two reach their final hurdle, which is both touching and laughable. It is with a fair amount of comedic skill and ability to pluck and the romantic’s heart strings that the creators only slightly rush to wrap everything up in the final 25 minutes. After finally getting past most of the love hate drama, everything comes to a head when Otani’s household is mysteriously infected with nothing short of the bubonic plague just before his big college entrance exam.

Spoilers Show
The roller coaster ride that ensues is only befitting this hapless couple and serves to show exactly what kind of bonds they possess. The rest is up to your imagination, unless you watch it for yourself, of course.

Overall, I would give it two thumbs up, one for me and one for my significant other (who just so happens to be right around my same height).

Bamboo Blade, Episode 1

Reminder: Our School Days Demotivational Poster contest ends in just two days! The deadline is October 6, 9:30 PM Pacific Standard Time, or October 7, 9:30 AM in Taiwan and Singapore. Please see here for more details.

Well, I’m not going to say I was totally WOWed by it. I mean I won’t say the story is cliched. In fact, it’s not quite that way. A really down-on-his-luck teacher without much motivation, who drives a Honda and races like Initial D(?) decides to compete against his senpei’s Kendo dojo, which is full of girls.

He discovers a god-like kendo high school first year girl (Tama-chan) and decides to try to recruit her.

Simple, eh? But we have a lot of famous seiyuus in this one – Toyoguchi Megumi (Revi from Black Lagoon and Honoka from “the Third”), Kuwashima Houko, Ishida Akira, and others.

The first 10 minutes didn’t impress me at all. I was wondering why this even got made into an anime. Are the animation studio in Japan that desperate these days?

It’s funny at certain parts, like when a rugby/American football, a basketball, a tennis ball, a baseball, a bowling ball, an Intercontinental Missile, and a teacher were flying toward the adviser teacher and the club president of the kendo club AT THE SAME FREAKING TIME (yeah, like that happens in real life) and all hell was about to break loose, and the girl with the super Kendo talent (Tama-chan) bashes back all these hazardous flying objects back at the same time with a broom and saves the two. So when the adviser teacher asks her: “Won’t you join the Kendo club?” She says: “Why?” And walks away after a bow.

It’s like asking Takumi of Initial D in season one: “Won’t you join our racing club?” And he probably would’ve said: “Why? I don’t the see the point.” And walks away.

Besides the star seiyuu power, I’d say this episode was a little bland. Nothing was quite cliched, but to a cynic who have watched 300+ anime, this wasn’t quite ground breaking either.

I don’t know if I’ll continue to write reviews for this, but 73% recommended for your daily anime diet.