Archives for December 2013

Virgin Slave, Barbarian King and Raintree: Haunted

Virgin Slave, Barbarian King Vol 1 by Louise Allen and Takako Hashimoto

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This manga will appeal to historical romance fans, and people who enjoy a bit of sweeping adventure in their romance manga. Julia is a noble Roman woman who is quite horrified when her city is overrun by barbarians. She is even more horrified when a barbarian chieftain named Wulfric decides to carry her off in order to force her to serve as a slave. Wulfric’s long blond hair makes him look like a slightly more bloodthirsty version of Dorian from Eroica with Love, which I found amusing. Julia sees that Wulfric is far more humane in his treatment of Roman slaves as he’s sacking her city than their Roman masters were. She begins to start questioning her way of life and the way she unthinkingly took advantage of other people’s servitude. Julia is far too self-assured to meekly start serving anybody, and while she does start to fit in with the Visigoths, she also manages to fight back against Wulfric in some amusing ways. The art in this volume is much more detailed and assured than I usually expect to see in Harlequin Manga adaptations. As the story progresses, Julia begins to learn more of the pressures the barbarians face, as well as the political struggles that Wulfric has to deal with. My main quibble is that the ending felt a bit truncated, and I’m assuming that is because the adaptation of the story was actually split into two volumes. Still, this would be a fun manga for historical romance fans. I was reminded of Red River a bit, although this story didn’t have the complexity of story found in that manga. I’m happy that is releasing some historical romance adaptations!

Raintree: Haunted Vol 1 by Kazuko Fujita and Linda Winstead Jones

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This manga is adapted from a series of Silhouette Nocturne Harlequin books, so I was expecting a contemporary paranormal romance and that’s exactly what I got. Gideon Raintree is a detective from a family with varied psychic powers. He can conveniently speak to ghosts, but he has issues emitting random bursts of electricity and thus will never know the joys of owning a smartphone. He is also occasionally visited by a ghost who claims to be the spirit of his future unborn daughter. Even Gideon finds this a bit disconcerting. Gideon gets assigned a tough yet beautiful new partner named Hope, who finds his numerous eccentricities suspicious even while she admits to herself that he is distressingly attractive. Gideon and Hope work to track down a female murderer who may have a connection to the occult, and along the way Gideon finds himself revealing more and more about his odd powers to his new partner. Kazuko Fujita has adapted a ton of Harlequin manga, and it shows in her attractive character designs and capable art. This is another Harlequin manga with much better than average art, and I enjoyed the way Fujita made the murderess look much more haggard and desperate than the other characters. Sometimes in manga-land everybody is portrayed as equally attractive, with just slightly different hairstyles, so I appreciated the extra attention to detail here. The story continues in the second volume of this manga, but the first volume also had a fairly satisfying conclusion. Also recommended!

Harlequin Manga: Ordinary Girl in a Tiara and The Greek Tycoon’s Defiant Bride

I was excited when announced that they were releasing a bunch of new Harlequin manga on their platform! I’m going to pretend that emanga wanted to give me an awesome holiday present, because I am always up for reading some Harlequin manga.


Ordinary Girl in a Tiara by Jessica Hart and Yuki Shiomiya

available on

Harlequin stories are plenty formulaic, so much so that pulling off a Harlequin romance that is both familiar and enjoyable can be somewhat tricky. Part of the fun for me when reading Harlequin manga is encountering plot elements that I’ve seen before, but executed in an interesting way. This is one of my favorite recent Harlequin manga reads. Ordinary Girl in a Tiara is, as one would surmise, about an ordinary girl who ends up accidentally taking up with royalty. Caro has an intense love of vintage fashion and an interesting past where she went to school with the elite of Europe on scholarship. Caro’s best friend Charlotte is a princess of a tiny European country who calls upon Caro to provide a diversion by dating her distant cousin and rumored fiance Prince Phillipe.

Phillipe shows up at Caro’s door to ask her to be his fake girlfriend, and he is suitably horrified by Caro’s devotion to horrible crochet vests from the 1970s. Clearly he is a man of great taste and refinement. Caro agrees to go along with the charade of dating him, and goes back to his tiny European country only to get caught up in court politics. Phillipe is struggling to establish himself as the future ruler, and the fake couple gradually become a real couple as they begin to spend more and more time together. All too often in Harlequin stories, the hero acts like a big jerk, but while Phillipe does have is standoffish moments he and Caro are a very sympathetic couple. There are elements of humor in Caro’s unending parade of vintage fashion choices, and while the art isn’t terribly detailed, it doesn’t suffer from the lack of fluidity and expression that sometimes plagues Harlequin adaptations. Highly recommended!


The Greek Tycoon’s Defiant Bride by Lynne Graham and Natsu Momose

available on

Whenever I read Harlequin manga, I tend to go for the volumes that have the longest and most ridiculous titles involving Defiant Brides, Virgin Stable Girls, or Secret Agent Secretaries (I just found out that there is a romance with the title Secret Agent Secretary, I think I’m going to have to read it). This manga was exactly what you would expect from the title, as it does indeed feature a Defiant Bride of a Greek Tycoon!

Maribel is an ordinary girl (aren’t they always!) who is desperately in love with her deceased cousin Imogen’s ex-boyfriend Leonidas. Maribel sees Leonidas at a memorial service after running away from him years before, but she returns to her life as a single mother, confident that romance will not find her again (OR WILL IT!?). Leonidas shows up at Maribel’s house and is immediately suspicious when he discovers that she has a toddler with the name of his grandfather. The narrative structure of this manga was interesting, because it kept switching between the flashbacks where Maribel and Leonidas are just getting to know each other, and the present day where Maribel is desperately trying to get away from him in order to live an ordinary life. The relationship unfolds in both the present and the past, leading to a time when Maribel will perhaps not be quite so defiant about being in a relationship with Leonidas. I enjoyed the art in this volume. The paneling was a bit more varied and interesting than I tend to expect from a Harlequin manga, and Momose frequently cuts in detailed close-ups of the characters when they are in the grips of a dramatic emotion.

Happy Marriage Vol. 3 and Demon Love Spell Vol. 5

Happy Marriage Volume 3

I continue to enjoy Maki Enjoji’s series about an office lady who abruptly finds herself married to a seemingly cold and domineering company president. Chiwa and Hokuto have gradually grown closer over the first two volumes of this series, and the relationship continues to develop further in the third volume. Chiwa finally deals with Hokuto when he’s in a vulnerable position when he suddenly becomes ill, and she has to tend to him at home. One thing I enjoy is the way Enjoji slips into showing action without words or thought balloons in order to show events with more emotional impact. When Hokuto wakes up in the middle of the night and sees Chiwa sleeping by the side of his bed, he looks absolutely shocked, then silently pulls her over so she can sleep more comfortably beside him. There are still some slice of life humorous moments in the manga, like when Chiwa deals with Hokuto’s hidden slovenly habits at home and her tendency to become an “Octopus Woman” when she sleeps.

The big emotional breakthrough in the volume occurs when Chiwa and Hokuto have to go visit his family, and Chiwa sees how poorly he’s treated by his relatives. This explains a great deal about his personality and motivations, and Chiwa gets so angry she is more emotionally honest about her feelings for her husband as she’s sticking up for him than she’s ever been when talking to Hokuto directly. I’m looking forward to what happens next! It is a bit odd to root for a married couple to get together, but Enjoji manages to pull this situation off with an engaging story and sympathetic characters.

Demon Love Spell Volume 5

This volume will be particularly fun for any fans of Mayu Shinjo’s series Sensual Phrase. Demon Love Spell can be depended upon to serve up plenty of humor and paranormal romance hijinks, and this volume picks things up with a funny plot device. Incubus Kagura and priestess Miko decide that they’re going to move out of Miko’s family home/shrine and her father promptly agrees! But before they go Miko’s father uses his priestly powers and puts a curse on Kagura so that he will be utterly incapable of romancing Miko in any capacity. The young teenager and incredibly old incubus struggle with finding an apartment. Miko starts working a part-time job to support them. They barely ever see each other, and it seems like their new apartment may also be haunted!

In any romance manga, misunderstandings get in the way of true love, and when Kagura decides to go into showbiz in order to make some money to support Miko, she promptly becomes jealous and concerned that he’s getting “powered up” from other women. Kagura’s demonic hotness ensures overnight success as a male model, and he soon becomes a pop sensation as well. Much is made of Kagura’s resemblance to the hero Sakuya from Sensual Phrase, and I found it hilarious that Shinjo’s habit of drawing her male heroes in a very similar fashion was acknowledged in this manner. All in all, this was another fun volume of this series. I’m definitely enjoying Demon Love Spell much more than Ai Ore, and I hope that more of Shinjo’s series get translated over here.

Harlequin manga special on

I don’t usually run press releases, unless I think the press release is INCREDIBLY AWESOME! I am very excited to see new Harlequin manga coming to!


Come celebrate with us!!

It’s a Harlequin Holiday on!

Gardena, CA. (December 5, 2013) Digital Manga Publishing Inc., one of the industry’s most unconventional and innovative publishers is proud to announce the latest news with partner SB Creative Corp., distributors of the Harlequin romance manga series of books. Harlequin is one of the world’s leading publishers of books for women and since 2011,, Digital Manga’s own online ebookstore, has digitally distributed over a hundred Harlequin manga titles from SB Creative Corp.’s digital library.

Now, for this holiday season, brings to all avid fans of manga romance, 30 BRAND NEW Harlequin romance stories. Starting from December 5th, we will be releasing 10 new titles each week on eManga for online streaming at the amazing price of $4.99. Some of the new titles include The Most Coveted Prize, a narrative about an aristocratic young lady who is wooed by a devilishly handsome billionaire, not knowing his ulterior motives of revenged. Along with Raintree: Haunted Vol. 1, the thriller romance about detective Malory, her shady but handsome partner Gideon Raintree, and the homicide they have to investigate. With the holidays are just around the corner, what better way to spread the joy and manga love than by gifting one of our newest titles? They’re sure to be a great stocking stuffer for devoted fans and for new fans alike.

Harlequin K.K. is based in Canada and started off in 1988 by translating hundreds of their romance novels for the Japanese young and hopeless. Later on, their titles were recreated with the magical imagery of manga art. Then through their collaboration with SB Creative Corp., Harlequin started translating their manga titles into English and other languages, so that readers everywhere could enjoy their stories.

Some of their classic titles include Amber by Night, the story of a woman living a double life as librarian by day and seductive waitress by night. As well as The Apartment, the story of a young flute player who is trying to survive on her own without her wealthy inheritance or her overbearing mother. She thinks she’s found her dream apartment until she wakes up the next day to find another renter in her home sweet home! You can find these titles and more from Harlequin on is Digital Manga, Inc.’s own one stop online ebook shop for manga and comics since 2008. They provide a variety of manga and comics to read online and download at the convenience of our customers. Together with our partners and published creators, the platform is an ever growing establishment centered on continuously offering customers with the best electronic manga experience. With a collection of over 2000 eBook titles that is still growing, releases in all genres coming to you every day, and with an updated online eManga Reader equipped with features to make your reading experience that much more enjoyable, eManga is the answer to fill your holiday shopping needs—You can send ebook gifts from eManga to your holiday recipients too! Send a Harlequin title as a gift and be sure to write a review for your favorite Harlequin titles too!

Giveaway Winner!

The winner of my 5 Volume 1 Giveaway is Justin, commenter #4. Congrats!

I asked what people would most like to give or get for the holidays and a variety of series were mentioned, just in case you want some additional ideas for manga related gifts:

Alice in the Country of Clover
Drunken Dream
Heart of Thomas
Black Jack
Thermae Romae
Bunny Drop
A Bride’s Story