Archives for October 2015

My Love Story!! Vol 6

My Love Story Volume 6 by Kazune Kawahara and Aruko

It is nice to have a go-to manga series to read when one feels stressed out, and My Love Story!! never fails to make me happy.

This volume focuses more on the arrival of Takeo’s new sibling, and the reader gets the treat of seeing a little bit of his parents’ courtship. Takeo’s mom is portrayed as unflappingly capable in her younger years, and his dad exhibits the same ridiculous amount of enthusiasm that Takeo often channels. When something goes a little wrong with the pregnancy, Takeo starts exclaiming “I’ve got to be reliable!” as he tries to take care of everything for his family. He’s supported all the way by Suna and Yamato.

The old valentine’s day storyline has got to be one of the most overused cliches in shoujo manga, but My Love Story!! pulls off one of the most adorable examples of this storyline, as Takeo is so excited to be receiving “true love’s chocolate from his girlfriend, he finds himself striking random celebratory poses as he walks along and discusses his relationship with Suna. I was glad to see that there are hints Suna might actually become involved with a girl at last. He’s deliberately aloof, and shuns any girl who speaks badly of Takeo, so he hasn’t experienced romance yet either. I’m really looking forward to the next volume now, where more of the focus will be on him.


QQ Sweeper Vol. 1

QQ Sweeper Volume 1 by Kyousuke Motomi

I’m generally excited for any debut series in the Shojo Beat line, but I was particularly interested in reading the first volume of QQ Sweeper because I enjoyed Dengeki Daisy so much. Motomi’s slightly offbeat and cynical sense of humor makes her series stand out, and I was curious to see how the paranormal and cleaning would come together in this title.

Motomi does cranky heroes well, so I thought the male lead of the series was quite promising. Kyutaro Horikita is a member of the beautification committee at his school, and he’s introduced in the first chapter as a bit of a loner who is obsessed with cleaning. He comes across a girl sleeping in an abandoned room in his school. Fumi Nishioka is a new transfer student who is homeless, trying to hide evidence of how poor she is, and on a mission to become a real life Cinderella by snagging a rich guy. This doesn’t sound like the most flattering character description, but Motomi also is able to easily create sympathetic yet quirky heroines. Motomi’s slightly offbeat humor is on display in the first few panels, when Kyutaro seems to rely on threatening people with cucumbers a bit too much, and Fumi enters into a dangerous fugue state when she’s assessing the material possessions of a male student/mark.

I don’t even find shoujo cliches all that annoying when Motomi is executing them. In very quick order, Fumi finds herself interviewing for and getting a position as housekeeper for her school principal, who just happens to be Kyutaro’s older brother. Fumi quickly discovers that Kyutaro’s obsession with cleaning extends to cleansing the spiritual plane, and she also has the ability to help him. Motomi packs a great deal of plot and character development into this single volume, setting up the relationships between the characters, and establishing the background for the supernatural aspects of the manga. This is a very solid addition to the Shojo Beat lineup, and I’m very much looking forward to Motomi’s slightly twisted take on the supernatural romance genre in future volumes.


So Cute it Hurts! Vol 3

So Cute it Hurts! Volume 3 by Go Ikeyamada

This is an excessively silly series, but I’ve been enjoying it, mostly because of the amount of plot twists that get resolved in each volume, so more goofy subplots can promptly develop. Also, I feel like Shojo Beat should always be publishing at least one title where the heroine cross dresses just on principle.

I feel like in many shoujo series, the fraternal twins’ cross dressing antics would fuel plot lines for 4-5 volumes, but in So Cute it Hurts! their true identities were unmasked at the end of the second volume. Aoi, the delinquent boy with a crippling physical aversion to female contact is surprised when the boy he’s been hanging out with is unmasked as Mitsuru’s sister Megumu. At the same time, Mitsuru’s masquerade is uncovered by mean girl Azuza. Aoi deals with the psychological impact of being around a girl unknowingly, and Azuza blurts out a confession of her crush to Mitsuru instead of revealing his secret. Meanwhile, Mitsuru is struggling with his feelings for Shino, but doesn’t want to ruin their friendship by telling her that he’s actually a boy. Oh, the tangled storylines of cross dressing shoujo romance!

When the week-long switch ends after Megumu has taken Mitsuru’s tests for him, there’s still plenty of emotional fall-out as Megumu pines for Aoi, and he begins to come to terms with his own feelings. Aoi’s allergy to girls causes some hilarious reactions when he and Megumu get closer, although they have to stay a certain distance apart to avoid triggering him. Their budding romance is indeed ridiculously cute, and while this manga in no way approaches both the hilarity and emotional depth of My Love Story!!, it is still entertaining. Ikeyamada ratchets up all the emotional reactions of her characters for added hilarity. While this volume focused a bit more on Megumu, I can see how the next volume is going to be focusing more with the love triangle Mitsuru is in since the object of his affections does not even know him as a boy while Azuza continues to have a violent crush on him. So Cute it Hurts! continues to be a fun read for those who enjoy romance with broad comedy.