“Talk about your favourite romance manga, your favourite couples, your favourite Valentine’s day scenes… or a great manga to read if you’re single on Valentine’s Day. Recommend some titles to read on Valentine’s Day! “- Mangahoarder’s #MangaMonday Challenge
Masion Ikkoku by Rumiko Takahashi
Maison Ikkoku is a romantic comedy by manga artist extraordinaire Rumiko Takahashi. Having only read the first volume I was happy to see Takahashi’s signature style of humor that provided many laugh out loud moments as I re-read the first few chapters recently. As you can see from the photo the edition that I own is quite old, it’s branded as a “Viz Graphic Novel” and $16.95 USA/$24.25 CAN, and the last page states “Discover the world of Viz Graphic Novels.” I suppose at the time Viz thought that adding the word manga to the American and Canadian comic market lexicon just wasn’t something the industry was ready for? I’m not Canadian so I’m not sure how true that is, but as an American it’s crazy to think there was a time when Western publishers were flipping manga, and “adapting” anime to what the anime and manga industry has become now! Flipping, cropping and censoring artwork is no longer tolerated in the anime and manga industry in America, so it’s easy to forget that not too long ago those practices were common place.
The boarding house Maison Ikkoku is home to a strange medley of weird characters, including the young student Yuusaku and the beautiful (and widowed) manager, Kyouko. We follow the efforts of Yuusaku to win Kyouko’s affections, with interference from the rest of the tenants. – Synopsis from Anime News Network
Takahashi’s artwork looks great, she’s fantastic at capturing everyday scenes and the little details she adds in the different character’s rooms makes the story even more slice-of-life. I’m aware that there is an anime and a drama series, but I haven’t seen either. If you have let me know what you’ve thought. Speaking of live action adaptations of Rumiko Takahashi’s work, I recently found out that there is a live action Ranma 1/2 movie. I plan to watch it someday… I heard there’s a lot of CGI, so that could end up being hilariously bad or surprisingly well done.
Million Tears by Yuana Kazumi
Million Tears is a tragic, supernatural romance, shoujo manga by Yuana Kazumi. This short two volume story stands out compared to most typical shoujo because of it’s dark and psychological themes.
Hiromu is a high school boy who has everything he could ever want: a normal life, friends, and a girlfriend. That is until one day Hiromu asks everyone where Tetsuya is and no one knows. All of his classmates think he is crazy for insisting that this Tetsuya person exists since no one has heard of him. Then on his way home from school Hiromu finally meets a boy who remembers Tetsuya and says that Tetsuya was “delicious” and this isn’t the only strange occurrence. This boy seems to think that Hiromu’s name is Glorious Lily and that his lover is not his girlfriend, but a beautiful, emotionless girl named Valeriana. With the help of this mysterious boy Hiromu uncovers his past, who Valeriana is and who, or what, he is. – Synopsis from Anime News Network
Although this manga is only two volumes, the story that Kazumi manages to weave in so few pages is pretty impressive. The art style is very loose and there are several dream-like moments in the story that really fit well with Kazumi’s character designs. I’m looking forward to reading more of Yuana Kazumi’s manga, a few were published in English by Tokyopop, so I’ll pick them up when I can find them. The title I’m currently on the lookout for from Kazumi is Flower of the Deep Sleep.
Beast Master by Kyousuke Motomi
When most people think of romantic manga, shoujo series’ immediately come to mind, and with good reason. Most shoujo manga have at least some element of romance in them, and there are many shoujo manga that are focused primarily on the romantic interests of their characters. Beast Master is two volumes, which means it’s perfect for a new manga collector or someone that’s new to reading shoujo manga to check out.
Yuiko Kubozuka is a high school girl who loves animals. Unfortunately, animals hate her and flee from her whenever possible. So when a new classmate, Leo Aoi, turns out to be a scary guy who resembles a wild animal than anything human, she is intrigued. Not only because Leo has an affinity with animals which she envies, but also because he isn’t the wild animal that he seems to be. He seems to hide a very sweet disposition behind his scary features. Or so she thought. The truth is revealed when they are attacked and Leo immediately behaves like a wild animal and gets violent like a blood-thirsty animal, just to save Yuiko. Will Yuiko be able to tame this wildest of all animals or will he be just like the others and flee from her? Or the better question, will she flee from him? – Synopsis from MyAnimeList
But, in all seriousness this is a well done manga. The characters are likeable and they have chemistry that some characters from much longer shoujo manga series don’t have. Motomi’s artwork is well done and there are a lot of heart warming and funny moments in this series, that I almost wish there were more than just two volumes.
Some of my Favorite Manga Couples:
Here’s a list of four of my favorite manga couples, in no particular order, from series I’d also recommend to you. I’m limited my choices down to characters from series I’ve completed reading and/or have in my collection. Be warned the list below may contain slight spoilers.
Arashi & Miwako from Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa
Paradise Kiss was the first manga that I completed collecting (I actually bought them at full retail price back when Borders was around) and I have to admit, I really, really dislike the main couple of this story. After several re-reads I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like Yukari and I really don’t like George. I realized that the reason I was determined to finish reading and collecting this series was because of the secondary characters; specifically Miwako and Arashi. Perhaps it’s the mixture of Miwako’s cute, pink fashion with Arashi’s punk fashion that makes them such visually striking characters. But I think what really solidifies them as my favorite couple in Paradise Kiss is how well their personalities compliment each other, they have the best dramatic, romantic and funny moments in this manga.
Larva & Miyu from Vampire Princess Miyu by Narumi Kakinouchi
A perfect read for Halloween, St. Valentine’s day, or just anytime you’re looking for a tragic, supernatural, romance with some horror spice; Narumi Kakinouchi’s Vampire Princess Miyu spans more than one manga series and has two anime adaptations. Anything Vampire Princess Miyu is worth checking out, and one of the main features of the series is Kakinouchi’s unique take on vampires in a very Japanese setting.
Stranded in the space between human and demon, Miyu was born a vampire and charged with the responsibility of returning evil demons called Shinma to the dark. Being eternally 15, she yearns to return to the dark herself but not until she has banished the Shinma from Earth. And since her awakening, she remains cut off by the facts of who and what she is. – Synopsis of Vampire Princess Miyu from Anime News Network
Along her journey Miyu crosses paths with a Shinma from Europe named Larva. At first they are enemies, but during one of their intense battles Miyu is able to sink her fangs into him, and he sees the sorrow of her past. Larva empathizes with Miyu’s sense of loneliness because he too has dealt with a lot of loss in his past. He decides to help Miyu uncover the mystery of who she is. He promises to serve her with his life even if he must return to the underworld with the other Shinma in the end. They both fall deeply in love with each other as the series goes on, their pasts, present and future intertwining in the darkness of a horrific world.
Ryousuke (A.k.a Shuro) & Mine from ES: Eternal Sabbath by Fuyumi Souryo
ES is a manga series that I’m glad that I added to my collection in one ebay purchase last year. I read it during last year’s Manga Readathon, and couldn’t help but catalogue my thoughts as I read this seinen, psychological, thriller manga. All of the character’s in this manga were incredibly well developed, and change so much throughout the story. Mine and Shuro’s relationship doesn’t get romantic until the last few volumes, but even before that I thought their chemistry was perfectly written by Souryo. I plan to write way more in-depth about this series, and it’s by no means a romance manga, because there is so much more going on that I feel confident recommending Eternal Sabbath to anyone, even people that don’t normally read manga.
Suu & Kazuhiko from Clover by CLAMP
Before I began reading this series all I knew about it was that the art was gorgeous and many people seem to find the story confusing. I never found the story-line confusing, and felt a lot of sympathy for the main characters, especially Suu.
Suu is sold into isolation by her own mother because of her mysterious powers and so when she meets Kazuhiko, a man that chose to isolate himself from others when his first love tragically died. They have both felt the pain of loss and isolation from society. There is an almost immediate romantic tension between them that even their own words of comfort to each other can’t seem to express. Watching them slowly open up to each other throughout the story really solidified them as one of my favorite manga couples.
The setting was intriguing and provided the perfect backdrop for this whimsical tale. The experimental style of the panels was very refreshing. I was absolutely blown away and inspired by CLAMP’s art work in this manga and imagine that I’ll be re-reading this many times in the future as I seek inspiration in my own art and writing.
So what are some of your romantic manga recommendations? Let me know in the comments who your favorite manga couples are as well. I’m considering writing up a post about my favorite animated and J-drama couples, but we’ll see if I can get those posted this month. I’ve been writing up a storm lately, and I’m really enjoying it. Thank you so much for reading and following my blog, I hope everyone has an amazing St. Valentines day~!