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*/
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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~ =^..^=
- ‘Marmalade Boy little’, Sequel to ‘Marmalade Boy’ coming March 28th (traveltokyo.wordpress.com)