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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Blast From The Past Thurdays! : Power!! aka Girl Got Game!

DISCLAIMER: Whew ! I decided to start on a weekly “past” series review in addition to the weekly/biweekly/monthly/bimonthly/yearly(wait what??! O.o) reviews that I normally do. Hope that this Category not only interests you in reading an amazing past manga work, but also remind you of the creative stories that had once made us laugh and smile with enjoyment. 🙂

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I’m really excited to review this manga, because not only is Shizuru Seino one of my favorite mangakas, but because this manga is just that ALL-IN-ONE set that you never seem to get tired of. Power!! Is packed full of romance, comedy, school life, sports, gender swap, and just random silliness. This manga has not only shown me that love can prevail against any complications, but also that no matter how old a manga is it’s comedic effect never fades.

Background:

Power!! is a manga published by Shizuru Seino, known for mangas such as Junai Tokkō Taichō! (Love Attack!) and Heaven! Power!! was published in the Bessatsu Friend from 1999-2002. That’s right we’re bringing back a manga that was written over 13 years ago!

Critically acclaimed mangas from the magazine include MARS, L-DK, Peach Girl and Life. The manga has been licensed by Tokyo Pop, which finished their release in 2005.

Artwork:

Whether it’d be her use of exclamation points on her manga’s titles or her strong “tomboyish” way of drawing (creating the most muscle crazy female leads you can ever imagine), Shizuru Seino has always been very distinct and confident in her style. Creating tough, macho girls, along with either a jock or delinquent male protagonist is her forte. No whiny heroine waiting for her prince charming here! Think wonder woman pairing up with teacher Onizuka (GTO).

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Plot:

If you ever watched the movie She’s The Man, then you know where I’m going. Kyo Aizawa is a high school girl who just wants that simple girly life. A boyfriend, wearing a knee high (or as anime attire have it as “almost seeing your panties” high) skirts, and just enjoying highschool! And does she get that? Nooooo. You know how your parents tell you they want to give you a better life that they ever had? Well…Aikawa’s dad takes it to a whole new level. Not being able to attend the NBA’s because he tore his Achilles’s heel, Aizawa’s father forces her to attend Seisyu, an academy holding one of the top ranked boy’s basketball teams in the country. With her hair cut short and her dream uniform tossed aside and replaced with a jacket and trousers, Aizawa attends the school as a boy.

There she meets Chiharu Eniwa, her quite “tough-front” roommate and one of the best players in the basketball team. Aizawa’s and Chiharu’s relationship start off rough at first, but through humorous and absurd events, the two begin their crazy adventures.

As the series progresses, we stumble upon the complications of Chiharu dealing with his feeling for Aizawa (he still thinks she’s a he XD), Aizawa’s adaption to learning to become a male basketball player, her difficulty of adjusting to a boy’s team as well as her risk of being exposed with every turning event.

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Characters:

Let me just point out first that all the characters in the series are hilarious!! It’s like a gag reel of Slam Dunk or Kuroko no Basket. The side characters appear frequently and try to serve as support for Chiharu and Aizawa’s relationship but always end up being their obstacles instead.

Another key character I would like to mention (my personal favorite in the series) is Kensuke Yura. With his photographic memory and one of the ONLY characters to realize the obvious,  he is basically a shoujo version of Kaede from Slam Dunk. *imagination activate!* Without spoiling too much, I would like to leave a side note that not only is Yura extremely cute on all possible corners, but he has some of the best “I didn’t know” moments ever.

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Conclusion*:

✧ Hilarious non-stop laughing story with the most ridiculous characters you can ever imagined.

✧ A light and cheerful plot if your looking for a stress-free read with a balance of romance and gender benders thrown in between.

✧ It’s complete! So you don’t have to wait for updates! You can also find it at your local bookstore if your interested in buying the tankobon volume.

And there you go! Our Blast from the past Thurdays! I was debating what manga/anime to open with my very first “sceduled” post, and I finally came to a conclusion after seeing the manga stashed at the back of my closet. (Trust me, you do not want to see what kinda crap I keep in there @__@)Hope you guys give Power!! a chance and until then….Nyaaaaaaa!! (=^-ω-^=)

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´=)

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~