Blast from the Past Thurdays #2 !! Marmalade Boy~

Wow! It’s already been a week! How time flies! Today we have one of our old favorites here which is actually a manga that inspired Taiwanese and Korean dramas to adapt mangas into live actions series. (That’s right! Your “Devil Beside You” and “Boys Over Flowers Ramen” were inspired from this series right here!) Without further or do, I present to you….Marmalade Boy! *O*/

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Marmalade Boy is a melodrama-comedy manga about a girl named Miki who discovers that after her parent’s trip to Hawaii, they have decided to get a divorce and remarry. Nobody likes their parents remarrying to some stranger right? Neither does moving sound pleasant. Well, as you can tell, her parents decide to do both, but here’s the catch, they decided to swap partners with the couple they met on their trip. (I know what your thinking, what the heck??!) Miki isn’t taking this too well. As keeping up with confusing family affairs, school work,  and tending to a previous relationship with her best guy friend wasn’t enough, now she has to deal with Yuu….her newly-turned cunning and mischievous stepbrother.

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Background:

Marmalade Boy is a manga written by Wataru Yoshizumi (Handsome na Kanojo, Ultra Maniac) published by Shueisha in 1992. The manga ran with Ribon magazine, one of the top shoujo magazines of the generation, comparable of being the “Shonen Jump” of the shoujo genre. Mangas that you might have read from the magazine include Full Moon o Sagashite, Aishiteruze Baby and the current Zekkyou Gakkyuu. Because of it’s high popularity, Marmalade was adapted into a light novel consisting of 10 volumes, anime, live action film, anime film, live action tv series, and game. And as I have stated above, it was the first manga to start the trend of Asian dramas using manga as the source of their media series.  (Although I wouldn’t recommend the live action series to the manga because of it’s lack of content and how they altered the characters too much)

Artwork:

A notable trait in this series not only of the shoujo artwork in 20 years ago (sparkly eyes, skinny physique, pretty looking boys) but of is it’s reflection on attire and fashion in the early 80s-90s generation. Girls wearing overalls casually topped with bonnet hats or headbands and guys with high waist trousers having their shirts tucked in along with a sweatshirt wrapped around their shoulders. Reading through the story along with examining the mangaka’s remarkable attention to detail in clothing made me feel like I was living in the particular era. And what do you know….I went down to the store and bought the first dress skirt I could find after seeing it on Miki.

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Plot:

Now, reading Marmalade Boy, I couldn’t help but think of it being similar to a soap opera or drama series. A normal girl, having normal friends and enjoying her normal life….until a shocking events shatters her “ideal” normal conduct. We have Yuu, a attractive young male who just happens to walk into her life like a real life prince charming, and then it turn out he isn’t and blah blah blah. You get the picture. That’s how I initially thought it would turn out. Just like an everyday life situation with a few drama situations inserted in between. BUT NO! It was so much more about it. Marmalade boy might start off as your typical real life turned fairy tale scenario but as the series progresses, you begin to realize how REALISTIC the story is. The characters begin to become more alive and human. You realize that they have their ups and downs, their strengths and their weaknesses. Relationships and unexpected connections are sewed together, giving a more overall feel of why some characters are in the story in the first place, and truths are—ironically—being both uncovered and hidden. The romance part is very sweet and subtle, which makes the reading experience filled with refreshing and just innocent heartwarming moments.

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In my heart, Marmalade Boy will always be known as a classic. It became one of the first mangas I have ever collected in complete takoban volumes, and although the books are located somewhere in another dimension of my closet, I will always have the distinct pastel style drawings in my head.

Characters:

A running gag in the series other than Miki’s awkward household situation is the difference in her character to Yuu’s. Miki, being a non-attrative, somewhat tomboyish girl clashes with Yuu a “Marmalade boy” as Miki would call him; pretty looking, and sweet only on the surface, yet bitter on the inside. I’m pleased to say that Marmalade Boy did an excellent job with sharing background stories throughout their cast of characters. Although the story did revolve around the main characters Miki and Yuu, the side characters such as Miki’s best friend Meiko also has a painful past which she is reluctant to share with both her best friend and the readers. Thought various chapters, we slowly see the story along with it’s characters being more and more open, going through hardships, all the way to discovering the true meaning friendship. Another character that is worth mentioning is Ginta, Miki’s previous love interest. His involvement in the story has provided both a metal drive towards the main characters as well as act as a sort of comic relief to the already drama-ish outcomes. Though his character is seen first as an annoying bastard (you will agree with me once you read it), he learn about his weaknesses and negatives as works his way to become a better man bit by bit. We also have Arimi, Yuu’s previous girlfriend who starts out as the main antagonist of the story, but again, as the story unravels, we understand WHY she is acting the way she is and through her OWN resolution she becomes a more sincere and respectful character.

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I really would like to emphasize the latter because I believe that some mangas have the main characters changing the perspectives of the characters of the story a bit too much that it leaves the side characters as well….just useless and not important. For Marmalade boy, it’s different. We learn about the emotions and ambitions of the characters and watch them as they try to discover who they truly are by struggling and failing, then picking themselves up and improve on their OWN ACCORD, not by any 1st, 3rd or whatever party that might be present.

Overall, I believe that if your looking for a manga that really portrays strong emotions, lots of plot twist (trust me, there were alot XD), a melodramatic feel and a storyline that gives even importance to their side character, then by all means, go search Marmalade boy on Google right now!! ^O^/

★★★★★★★★

On our next installment, I’ll be reviewing an old shonen manga that I made me actually start getting into the martial art genre! I’m pretty excited for the series, as I also have a complete manga volume set of this stuffed somewhere in another dimension of my closet. (I’ll be sure to find it someday. :P)

And until then………Nyaaaaaaaaaa~  =^..^=

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Zekkyou Gakkyuu: A series of short and twisted horror stories!

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Aha! Yes, I was finally up to the challenge of reviewing a Horror manga. Here we have Zekkyou Gakkyuu, a first ever manga published Ishikawa Emi. If your really interested in mangas that aren’t focused on one single character and want to read something not too cutesy or obvious, then read on!

Background:

Zekkyou Gakkyuu or also known as “Screaming Lesson” in their English format, is published by Shueisha, in the Ribon Magazine. (The magazine that brought you Chibi Maruko-san, Full Moon o Sagashite, Aishiteruze Baby, Kodocha and Stardust Wink) Pffft!! I know right? The same magazine that targets readers around 9-13 years old is serializing a horror manga?? I’m happy to say that with it’s monthly update, and already 10 volume long series, we can see Zekkyou Gakyuu as an ongoing project and also as a live action film soon to be released this Summer!

Artwork:

Surprisingly, the first time I saw the chapter, I literally thought it was just your normal shojo manga. It had all those big twinkly eyed characters, typical romance themes, and even some adorably drawn male characters. Ahh, but this is where all the surprise come…Although Ishikawa-Sensei is fully capable of drawing down to earth looking characters , she is also able to draw one of the most scariest scenes I have ever seen. (e.g The Land of Mermaids) What I admire about her artwork is that although her manga is in the Horror genre, she is still able to identify how “scary” her manga should be. There are some moments where she throws in a “Happy Ending” or fades her scenes to black to have her reader decide what happened to our protagonists.  Her ability to combine horror with Shoujo was really something unexpected!

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Plot:

Zekkyou Gakkyuu is set up as a series of anecdotes. There are different characters, setting, scenarios in every chapter. (Excluding chapters that have the title of Part 2 or Part 3) In addition, every chapter is introduced by our main character, Yomi , who is basically a ghost who lost half of her body. (yes, she is just floating with her upper half) After each ending, she appears once again and gives a sort of “moral story” to her readers. I guess you can say it’s a more “ghastly” addition to your typical Aesop’s Fables.

Although the manga SEEMS to have all those themes you would find in a regular Shoujo manga, the way the author carries out the plot is very interesting. The manga tackles scenarios such as “What happens when you get rejected from a confession?” go back home and cry. Nah. Something much much more…obsessive…

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Or if “What if you get into a fight with your best friend?” Let’s just say you won’t come back in….one piece.

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Characters:

As I have stated in the previous topic, all the characters in each story differ. The only character you see to have a regular occurrence is Yumi Akimoto (aka Yomi), our story’s host and raconteur.I actually think it’s a creative outtake on your typical “following the story of….blah blah blah” Instead, you get to follow up on the lives of different characters and how they cope with everyday life decisions. And let’s admit it, it does feel quite satisfying to see those spoiled characters you always hate get a horrifying punishment or two 😛

If you liked Zekkyou Gakkyuu, or are interested in the horror genre be sure to check out either these mangas below:

Fraken Fran (has a similar short story format as Zekkyou Gakkyuu except highly explicit and uncensored. BEWARE!)-
Uzumaki (Not for the faint of heart. Will create nightmares for you.)
Another (Started as a light novel series, has a similar school life genre to it with a little twit of mystery.)
Yuureitou (Very cool plot, but if you don’t like plots where characters have to develop slowly, this is not for you)

I’ll be sure to add a reviews of all of them later on in the future 🙂 Until them…happy reading !!

Nyaaaaaaa~ (=`ω´=)

Nanatsu No Tazai : An Authurian based manga with a 7 Deadly Sins twist!

DISCLAIMER : Wow…my first shonen review, and actually on one of my favorite mangas of this year! (Bare with my excitement here XD)

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So you’ve heard on using the 7 deadly sins from various manga plots; from the Industrial alternate universe of Full Metal Alchemist to the present day time of Code Breaker. But using the & deadly scenes as a means to define characters in Arthurian type timeline, can’t say I’ve ever considered that before.

Nanatsu No Taizai is about a group of knights known as the “Seven Deadly Sins”, who have been awfully framed for the murder of the Great Holy Knight of Britannia (no, this is not Code Geass’s Britannia and Lelouch will not pop up anytime soon :P) Ten years later, the Holy Knights have now decided to claim Britannia as their own, initiating a new domineering dictatorship. Elizabeth, the heir to the throne, sets out on a mission to seek out the help of the “Seven Deadly Sins”. After stumbling across a local bar, she meet Meliodas, the frank and dauntless leader of the seven deadly sins. Together they set out to find the remaining members of the legion as well as uncover the truth of their false accusations.

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Now that the Era of the “big three” are close to being at being at it’s peak, it’s time for a new series to take the spotlight.  Naruto has had it’s run in being the veracious ninja of the Konoha village, and Luffy as the gallant member of the Straw Hats, but after reading Nanatsu no Taizai for quite some time now, I have noticed how eligibly well it is able to compete for ranksmanship (I know it isn’t a word, but it’s the only thing I could come up with =__=”), especially against big names like Fairy Tail, Ao no Excorcist or Beezlebub.

Background:*

Nanatsu No Taizai is published by Kodansha in the Weekly Shonen Magazine (You guessed it! The same magazine that brought you the wonderful worlds of Fairy Tail, AKB49: Ren’ai Kinshi Jōrei, and Cage of Eden as well as previous works such as Negima!, Tsubasa: Resevoir Chronicle, and Great Teacher Onizuka).

Due to it’s weekly release dates, you can expect to see a dependable run of chapter updates. So if your one of those people who love to read mangas at a steady and punctual continuous pace, this fits in the criteria perfectly!

Artwork:

Now this is the first manga I have read by Suzuki Nakaba, but what I can tell from his artwork is that it reminds me so much of the 90’s era. You know, like artworks by Akira Toriyama (e.g Dragonball or Dragon Quest), the very early Final Fantasies, and the tales series.Another special feature of the artwork, is how it matched perfectly with the adventure tones. The author collects delicate details such as the armor texture, breathtaking “middle age” landscape, and the common lifestyle of the era. Being a person who doesn’t read manga just based on “looks” but instead on “how the artwork can compliment the storyline”, Nanatsu No Taizai was fully able to grasp my attention on this capability.

Plot:

This story first reminded me on Ubel Blatt. The good guys are considered bad while the good guys are just plain horrible!! With a story full of knights, a troubled princess, swords and sorcery, in a way this story is given off as a “back to basics” type background. Ironically, with these reminiscences, the story becomes both new and refreshing thanks to the author’s creative twists and noteworthy character qualities.

The story’s pace is fairly quick which lives up to it’s exciting and fiery tone, perfect for readers who would just like to sit back and watch epic fighting scenes with a well rounded and interesting plot with an enjoyably written storyline.

Characters:

Badass Protaginist. The two words I would like to point out about the main character. Meliodas also known as the leader of the 7 deadly sins (being the sin of wrath) as well as owning the Boar Hat bar with his trustworthy companion Hork.

Despite his short appearance, he comes off as an utterly fearless person, one without an. What I like most about Meliodas is that he isn’t just some shonen saint who tries to make friends with EVERY character, (or ENEMY for that matter), he encounters. No, instead he keeps his composure and acts according to the situation.Pretty contradictiong compared to his assigned nickname of “wrath” don’t cha think? Well, what’s scarier than an angry person? An angry person with a straight face wielding a sword with a broken blade capable of annihilating an entire town. Yes…he is just that GOOD!!

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Meliodas is also shown to be somewhat lewd and bawdy. But then again, the author is able to perfectly keep it at a level where it’s considered more as a comical reason instead of something “ecchi”.

For our heroine, we have the lovely princess of Britannia, Miss Elizabeth. I know what your thinking….”Oh no, not another damsel in distress”, “Shonen girls are so useless”, or “It’s going to be another Sakura character” you’d be surprised after reading a few chapters of this manga. Although Elizabeth has been raised in the line of royalty, she was certainly taught the RIGHT way of being a genuine leader. Not the posh and extravagant lifestyle but about the will to be able to sacrifice one’s self for the greater good of her citizens. Her courageous attitude and her trust towards her beliefs (e.g Going out to seek the 7 deadly sins even though they have been deemed an enemy of her country) has made her a much admirable character, comfortably fitting into the storyline. On the comical side, she is also a very gullible person, often unable to identify Meliodas’s pervy actions. XD

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Other characters include the humorous Hork, who serves as a sort of “voice of reason” in the group. (And who knew! He’s a pig!) As the series progresses, we get to be introduced to the various members in the 7 deadly sins. From a female giant, to a seemingly immortal man, to the disdainful Holy Knights, Nanatsu No Taizai certainly explores a variety of quality traits.

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In conclusion, if your really into adventure stories and would like just a new and fun filled story with awesome characters, a nostalgic aura, superb fighting scenes, classic scenery and reliable updates,  then this manga is just what your looking for!!

Until my next post!! Nyaaaaa :3

*the reason I added the asterisk was because it was an addition to my normal Plot, Artwork, Character Check. 🙂

Shy X Shy, an unexpected love story!! Hibi Chouchou~

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This is where the phrase “actions speak louder than words come in.” We’ve seen playboys with shy girls, tsunderes with nerds, yankees with the dreamer, I could go on naming different archtypes, but have you ever seen a couple where both the guy AND girl are both….well…shy?? Not just shy like Kimi Ni Tokoke, but completely and utterly just EXTREMELY QUIET!!?

Meet Hibi Chouchou, a manga about a quiet girl and a quiet boy!Suiren has just enrolled as a freshman at her high school and she has become famous! All the boys and even some girl look her way, either entrapped in her elegance or literally falling in love with her. All but one. Kawasumi kun. Why is she so interested in him? Why is it that he is the only person that makes her overcome her fears?  Who is Kawasumi kun….and why does her make her heart beat so fast?

With ever little scene, you can be positive to squell/shout/think/disco dance around the room/scream “AWWWWWWWW!!”

Background*:

Hibi Chouchou is drawn and written by Morishita Shuu, known previously for her one shot manga Mada Amanogawa ni Ikenai. It is published the Shueisha company in the magazine Margaret, also known for the mangas such as; Akuma to Love Song, Hana Yori Dango (the best selling shojo manga in Japan!), Switch Girl, andMairunovich.

Artwork: 

Let me just say that Morishita-Sensei diffidently knows how to draw kawaii shoujo manga characters. Suiren, who is known in the story as a natural beauty,  is drawn to look so lovable that you just wanna grab her from the page and cuddle her in your sleep!What is also special about this manga’s artwork is the depth of emotional meaning the author has considered. Our main heroine can barely slip out a sentence in a chapter, but the mangaka is fully capable of having her readers understand her emotions by just how perfectly she can interpret love and emotion without an effort of having it in text.

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Plot:

Like my other post about Liselotte to Majo no Moki, Hibi Chouchou is a “progressive manga” Though the story progess may seem slow, I believe that in each chapter, you learn more about the hardships each of the characters are facing at trying to overcome their obstacles. Through this, the plot become more appealing and suspenseful with each “Doki Doki~” moment. ^ ^ Our main characters are struggling to try and break their comfort zone and understand the meaning of falling in love for the first time. With each and every chapter I read, I feel as if the story touches my heart in a sort of “tingly” feeling. Like I’m a fourteen year old girl excited for her first invitation to prom. XD The innocence storyline makes the whole manga just a charming and admirable read, sometimes even reminding you of your previous love experiences, the difficulty of confessions, the embarrassing eye contact scenarios, or even the aftermath of a long-planned date. If your in that “in love” mood, I recommend that you start searching for Hibi Chouchou volume 🙂

Characters:

Cute. Cute. Cuteeeee!! After reading manga with the over-the-top harem story line, cry baby protaganist, or the classic best friend/guy next door triangle, it’s refreshing to see something new for a change. Suiren is a graceful

Another thing I would like to note, are the side characters. We have Aya-chan, Suiren’s best friend since kindergarden. Acting as a support system as well as encouraging Suiren’s stepping up towards her fears, Aya chan can be one of those people who you just want to share all your secrets with. Her along with Sayuri-chan, another good friend of Suiren, come up with various scenarios to have Suiren and Kawasumi to meet…frequently under both of their embarrassments. 😛

Next we have Kawasumi best friend, Ryosuke , who is head over heals for Suiren. He provides a sort of comical effect for the manga, being that he is oblivious to the fact of the relationship between Suiren and Kawasumi, as well as being TOTALLY clueless in everything!!!

Then we have Suiren main love rival, Kotaru. Unlike many if not all shojos, Kataru is not your typical evil antagonist. (which are either being identified by 1.) their fake looks and suggestive personality 2. being a complete b*tch 3. extremely annoying 4.all of the above)No, instead Kotaru is just so realistic. Instead of soiling Suiren’s chances with Kawasumi by trying to ruin her reputation, Kotaru fights for her OWN reasons, trying to make Kawasumi respect/fall in love with her instead of depending on someone’s misfortune to fulfill her goal. Thoguh there are moments where she discourages Suiren, I only believe that it is part of her “test” to try to understand Suiren/’s feeling for Kawasumi, whether they are genuine or not.

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And that’s all folks! (*insert Warner Brother’s theme song*)
Hope to see you blushing and heart-beating with this unique love story!! Until next time!!

Nyaaaaaa~

Manga Review : Horimiya

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Horimiya is about a girl named Kyoko Hori, whose is trying hard to simultaneously raise her little brother Sota while also trying to balancing her social life and maintaining her her high academic scores. The difficult part of all this, is trying to hide the fact of her workaholic lifestyle to her friend, thus preventing her from either going out with her friends or inviting them over. (Isolation !!)

During one of her “house-sister” moment (you know, how you look when your in your comfy clothes and no makeup with your hair tied in the most messiest way possible) she runs into Izumi Miyamura, the known “quiet glasses boy” of the same class….the only problem is….unlike his school counterpart, he’s not your stereotypical nerd guy with glasses who you would think to be the genius of that. Miyamura is the exact opposite. Firstly, he is horrible in academic. Secondly, he basically look like a punk rock band member, with numerous amounts of tattoos and piercing in who knows how many places !!

Now, Miyamura and Hori have someone to finally share their little secret with! But, will what started as just secret keeping lead them towards…mutual feelings?

I’m so glad to be able to review Horimiya !! I have always loved this manga since it’s release, and the slow progress between the characters have made me respect the reality of a growing attraction between two individuals. Here are just my pinpointed notes involving the manga:

Artwork: Some might consider this manga to be pretty “simple”, no exotic details, grand scenery, and ehem….bulging if you know what I mean. Although that may apply to Horimiya, I think that the artwork perfectly fits how the author want to portray the storyline. It gives the manga a sort of not being simple but having “simplicity” not too dramatic as to discourage it’s readers but instead, to have then enjoy the sweet plot and adorable characters.

Now, Miyamura is drawn by an artist named Hagiwara Daisuke, and surprise surprise !! He is indeed a guy, and Horimiya is apparently a shounen manga. This could be because the manga is currently serialized in a shounen magazine, although I am not quite sure which one. Pretty cute love story for a shounen huh?

Plot: I know what your thinking, “this is just another manga about the main guy and main girl keeping each other’s secrets until at the end of the manga everyone finds out and tragidy strikes and everyone gets sad but then they reunite and blah blah”

Well you sir, are then deranged because Horimiya is nothing like that. It’s about two individuals trying to cope with trying to decide to pursue their mutual feelings (being that both are inexperience in love) or just pass it off as if they are just friends. Thrown in the storyline are also complicated love triangles, discovering the true meaning of friendship, learning to be yourself , and some of the most humorous scenarios I have ever read. If you haven’t considered reading Horimiya because of this well…….KEEP READING !! >O</

Characters: The characters are sooooo lovable, especially Miyamura. You see him as this little kitten with such an innocent personality, contrary to what you would think when you see someone all covered with tattoos. This goes to show just how important it is to not judge a book by it’s cover 🙂
Hori is also an extremely kind-hearted heroine. Her determination in trying to prioritize family with school just makes me feel so…..=_= well happy…but i somehow feel useless when compared to her…*mumble*

CONCLUSION:

Now if you haven’t read Horimiya yet, I considered you check it out NOW!! Don’t even consider it…just go !! Please feel free to leave any comments involving the manga and any other mangas you think I should check out!

Nyaaaaaaa~