FALL IN LOVE LIKE A COMIC (Manga Mitai ni Koi Shitai!, “I Want to Fall in Love Like in a Manga!”) (????????????!) • Chitose Yagami • VIZ (2007-2008) • Shogakukan (Ciao/Ciao Deluxe/Ciao Zôkan ChuChu, 2001-2005) • 2 volumes • Shôjo Romantic Comedy • 16+ (mild sexual situations)
Rena Sakura, a high school student, is secretly a professional manga artist who specializes in racy romances. But despite the sexy stories she draws (an obvious nod to the other more explicit adolescent romance manga in Ciao magazine, a frequent target of the Japanese PTA), Rena has never been kissed, until school hottie Tomoya finds her notebook and Rena asks him to go out with her for research. A suprisingly funny English rewrite (“Research boys –> Add realism to manga –> Draw great smut!”), a sweet mood, and adequately cutesy shojo artwork make this series a little gem. On top of the practical and technical information about the manga industry (such as the 14-page “how to draw manga” section in volume 2), there’s some good insights into the artist’s mindset, and the hardworking Rena stands out as one of the all-too-few really eager careerwomen in shojo manga for this age group. Although the heroine thinks about sex a lot, the romance remains agreeably on the level of hugging and kissing; VIZ’s 16+ age rating is unjustified.
*** 1/2 (three and a half stars)
Today’s manga winner is Soleil C. of California. Congratulations, Soleil! Just a short entry today I’ll see you all after the weekend!