SEITO SHOKUN (Seito Shokun, “Fellow Students!”) ??????) • Yoko Shoji • Kodansha International (1983-1984) • Kodansha (Shojo Friend, 1977-1984) • 4 volumes, suspended (24 volumes in Japan) • Unrated/13+ (mild language, mild sexual situations, principals hit on the head by softballs)
Only the second shojo manga ever published in English (after The Rose of Versailles) Seito Shokun was almost identical in format to the Shogakukan volumes described under Sasuga no Sarutobi–with the notable difference that Kodansha decided to “flop” the reading order, perhaps to make it seem a more authentic English-language experience. From the golden age of shojo manga, when eyes were all mascara and highlights, Yoko Shoji’s Seito Shokun is a reminder that shojo is as much about heroines as shonen is about heroes–the heroine here being 14 year-old Naoko “Nakki” Kitashiro, a smart, self-assured spitfire transfer student, who, ten pages into the manga, has already tried to pass for her own homeroom teacher, and gotten into a fistfight with a boy. Five pages later, that boy’s starting to fall for her–which isn’t difficult. Slapped by a girl for her cheek in the next chapter (whom she then kisses to make up), Nakki explains, “I like to fight. I don’t care who’s right or wrong. I just like to have it out, you know?”–another way of saying how her free spirit will seek to free her fellow students, too. Seito Shokun, which won the Kodansha Manga Award in 1978, has a current sequel (made into a live-action TV drama in 2007) running in the josei magazine Be Love. (Review by Carl Gustav Horn)
Today’s guest review is by Carl Gustav Horn, one of the smartest people in manga. Carl currently works as an editor for Dark Horse Comics, but I met him when we were both working at Viz, and he was kind enough to review some very, very obscure English-language manga which, as far as I’m aware, no one else in the entire universe has copies of. One such manga is Seito Shokun, published in the early ’80s in a bilingual edition for Japanese students of English. This book is so hard to find I wasn’t even able to find the cover on google imagesearch (gasp!), so the attached image is actually from the modern sequel series running in “Be Love.” This may be the single rarest translated manga in existence — or if not, it’s up there with the Go Nagai American edition of “Devilman” and other rarities like “Sasuga na Sarutobi.” Thank you, Carl!
Today’s winner is Michael M. of Connecticut. Congratulations, Michael! And today’s repeat winner is Lysa:
Congratulations, Lysa! I’m glad you like the stuff that I sent you. I’ll send you five more surprise manga today!