Manga is even better when it’s on sale
Someone at a certain Canadian bookstore chain (that shall remain nameless) thought that it would be a good idea to send out a coupon by email that gave the recipient $5 off of their purchase. No minimum purchase required, but you were only allowed to use one per transaction. At this point I will mention two things. One: I’m suddenly grateful I was sick this weekend and missed my Saturday shift and two: I was tremendously generous and only printed out three copies of the coupon for myself. Well, either I was being generous or there were only three manga I felt like buying.
And yes, I paid for them each separately. Heh heh heh.
So what did I buy?
Honey and Clover 8
When I first started reading this series, I thought more of the focus was going to be on Hagu. She was the new arrival and a couple of the guys seemed enamored of her so it seemed like a logical conclusion. Happily the story so far has been equally fair to each of the characters as they go to and graduate from art school, try to figure out what’s next or make their way into the working world. Volume 8 really focuses on Yamada working her way through her love for Hayama and Nomiya’s growing feelings for her, we learn more about Hayama and Rika’s relationship and get a glimpse into Rika’s past with her husband. Honey and Clover isn’t a manga that I seem to really look forward to the way I do other titles, but every time I read it I’m struck by how much I like the story. I thought I was going to get relationship drama, but ended up with multiple coming of age type stories. I’m more than happy with that.
Junjo Romantica 11
I’m not sure if I’ve ever written about Junjo Romantica before. I can believe I haven’t simply because of how much I love this series. I tend not to write about the stuff I really love because I would get gushy and it would be too long and take too much time to write. (The Baby and Me post that I occasionally compose in my head has now reached epic status.) This volume starts out with a combination Valentine’s Day/Usagi’s dad story. Usagi’s father has been pretty open about how much he disapproves of Misaki as a mate for his son and in this first story that conflict finally gets resolved. (Not telling you which way, though!)
Next the story takes a rather odd leap into the future as Misaki is suddenly 21 (from 19) and a senior at university. I’m assuming they’ve had a lovely and peaceful life together in the meantime. :) But as Misaki gets closer to finishing school a new set of problems come up.
Yeah, maybe they should have told Misaki’s brother exactly why they’ve been living together all these years… You’d think this is a fairly easy fix, but no one ever really communicates very well in this series (in one volume Nowaki moves to America to study which takes Hiro completely by surprise, even though they live together. Like Nowaki never mentioned it once while he was getting ready to go?? Arg. And that’s not even unusual in manga!) After a good dose of angst and yet another Usami cousin showing up to throw another wrench in the works, the volume moves on to a sweet story about young Misaki excited about Christmas and wondering if there’s really a Santa. If you’re unfamiliar with the backstory, Misaki and Takahiro’s parents died when they were younger. Takahiro dropped out of university to raise his little brother and the end of each volume usually has a little story about Takahiro bragging to Usagi about something his baby brother did. This is usually the most we see of Takahiro, so it was really nice to get a glimpse of their past and the caring relationship between the two brothers.
Aw. This chapter was my favorite.
Butterflies, Flowers 1
Ah… finally. A new josei title. Purchasing this one was a no brainer, but thankfully it also turned out to be pretty good. Choko is a woman from an aristocratic family that lost all of their money and land about 13 years back. While the family runs a soba shop, Choko opens the volume with an interview at a company. The interviewer is a jerk who sexually harasses her, but since it’s her only job offer she ends up having to go to work for the company. She immediately gets pulled out of the regular trainee program to work upstairs with the jerk from the interview who turns out to be the director of the administration department for the company executives. He decides to train her himself and Choko’s personal hell pretty much begins there.
That’s typical of a day at the office. However! It comes out pretty quickly that Domoto is actually a young boy who served her family back when they were wealthy. So while he’s a sadist at the office, he switches between that and protective servant mode which involves things like playing chauffeur for Milady and running errands for her family. Choko quickly develops a crush on him despite the mood swings and has to figure out how to get Domoto to see her as a woman instead of his Milady. She has a few personality quirks of her own though, and can go from the timid, unsure woman she usually is at the office to a take charge leader in times of crisis. It was nice to see she has a side other than the typical subdued woman in love I was expecting.
I found her younger brother to be the most entertaining character, however. He hasn’t quite let go of his high class past yet.
Ha. I like the way Yuki Yoshihara sets up gags.
All in all I was very happy with volume 1 and am looking forward to the next installment (which will be in March 2010.) I thought there was a good balance between the romantic tension (does Domoto really care for Choko or is his kindness towards her only because of his past as her servant?) and comedy. It’s also quite nice to get to read a romance manga with adults in it. (Though I have to say that Choko’s office uniform looks way too similar to a school uniform. It threw me off a couple of times!)
So not only were all of my new manga cheaper than usual, they were also all really good reads.
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