Crazy for You Volumes 1 and 2 on

Crazy for You Volumes 1 and 2 by Karuho Shiina

Available on

I was very excited when I saw that JManga had started adding new shojo titles – two volumes at a time! Jmanga started up with plenty of shonen and seinen titles, but the josei and shojo categories were a bit underserved until recently. I was particularly interested in Crazy For You, since it is by the author of the quirky and heartwarming series Kimi Ni Todoke. With the contraction of the manga market and many publishers with significant shojo titles going out of business, there’s only so much capacity for print shojo, so I’m very happy to see JManga releasing more female-centric titles.

Crazy for You is an earlier series by Shiina, and while the art isn’t as sophisticated, Shiina puts together a very compelling plot with a bit of a twist from what the reader would expect from a shojo manga. In many ways Sachi is the stereotypical shojo heroine. She’s not the prettiest or smartest girl in school, and in fact she has never had a boyfriend. She does exhibit an almost ruthlessly optimistic way of viewing the world. Sachi’s good friend Akemi invites her along on a group date with a bunch of boys who go to her boyfriend’s school. Sachi meets Yuki, who pronounces her “cute” and since Sachi is easily impressed she thinks “I think I can survive for half a year on rice topped with just those words!” If Crazy For You was only an exploration of Sachi’s simple first romance, it would get boring very fast but fortunately Shiina starts mixing things up very quickly. It turns out that Yuki is an unapologetic womanizer, and Akemi warns her off of developing any sort of attachment to him. Yuki finds Sachi’s innocence amusing and refreshing, but decides that he would be a horrible person if he actually took advantage of her trust, so he decides not to date her. Despite all of these undercurrents, Sachi and Yuki end up developing an odd-not quite romantic friendship although Sachi is quite forthright about her feelings for Yuki. Akemi keeps trying to tell Sachi that Yuki is going to make her cry, and Yuki’s sardonic friend Akahoshi observes Yuki and Sachi’s budding relationship with his own hidden motivations. The first volume of the manga ends with a very surprising plot twist that is the type of development I would normally expect several volumes into the series. I was enjoying Sachi and Yuki’s odd friendship, but the conclusion really got me hooked on the series.

The art starts to smooth out a bit in the second volume, with some of the paneling in the later chapters reminding me more of the style shown in Kimi Ni Todoke. There’s plenty of dramatic fall-out to deal with, and Akahoshi warns Yuki that if he’s not going to date Sachi, he’s going to take her away. Sachi’s friendship with Akemi is strained, but she deals with it in a refreshingly direct manner. Akahoshi tells Sachi that it is impossible for men and women to be friends, and warns her away from her usual habit of trying to see the best in people.

Sachi’s portrayed as sweet and trusting, but she isn’t a Pollyanna caricature. She’s throwing herself into experiencing a new side of life and dealing with everything as best she can. One of the things I liked about Crazy for You is that I wasn’t really sure which direction the plot was going to go. Sachi has the potential for a romantic relationship with Yuki if a variety of obstacles – both external and internal are solved. On the other hand, Akahoshi’s somewhat harsh exterior and blunt way of speaking may be a front for someone who is genuinely caring, and his tendency to not try to shield Sachi from harsh reality might make him a better match for her in the long run. I hope that we see more shojo titles like Crazy for You on Jmanga.

Electronic access provided by the publisher.

Harlequin Manga from Cowboys, Babies, and Shotgun Vows and The Billionarie Boss’s Forbidden Mistress

Cowboys, Babies, and Shotgun Vows by Shirley Rodgers and Yoshiko Hanatsu

Cowboys, Babies, and Shotgun Vows is the best type of Harlequin manga, where the great adaptation manages to make a typical Harlequin story into something really enjoyable. Ryder (hahaha) McCall is fairly full of himself, as he thinks he is “Texas’ No. 1 bachelor.” However his womanizing ways are put to the test when he meets Ashley in a bar. He defends her honor from some creeps and she throws up on him. They end up having a one night stand, and when Ryder wakes up in the morning Ashley is gone. He returns home to work on his family’s ranch, absentminded because he can’t stop thinking of his mystery woman. He learns that Ashley is the daughter of an oil baron who ran away from her wedding, and tracks her down where she’s working in a diner as a waitress to preserve her anonymity. When he realizes that Ashley is pregnant, he decides that he’s going to keep her close until he can win her affections and offers her an accounting job back on his family’s ranch.

Hanatsu’s art has a fluid, simple style that really suits this manga well. There are plenty of Harlequin stories that feature lunkheaded heroes, but there’s a warmth and humor to Hanatsu’s illustrations that make Ryder’s abrupt protestations of love amusing and oddly endearing. Hanatsu captures funny family moments as shown when Ryder’s little sister dramatically prays for his success in love clasping her hands under her chin while evoking the specter of girlfriends past and concluding “Please let my stupid brother be happy.” Ryder asks Ashley out on a second date by denying that he is weird and saying “I love you, will you go out with me?” Ryder’s enthusiasm for the possibility of a ready-made family with Ashley, and her understandable reluctance to commit to a man she barely knows forms the bulk of the story, but everything turns out as the reader would expect. This volume ranked up there as one of my most enjoyable Harlequin reads due to the simplicity and expressiveness of the art, and I’d pick up further Harlequin manga adaptations by Yoshiko Hanatsu without a second thought.

The Billionaire Boss’s Forbidden Mistress by Miranda Lee and Megumi Toda

This is one case where a somewhat tired plot can’t really be saved by the art. Leah’s father is a powerful stockbroker, but she works as a receptionist for a small cosmetics company. Leah is damaged psychologically by the aftereffects of a car accident that left her with a large scar on her leg and a divorce from a husband who wanted a physically perfect wife. Jason is a corporate raider who recently acquired Leah’s company and he is unscrupulous enough to randomly hit on receptionists, but moral enough not to want to hurt Leah when he learns more about her past. The art on The Billionaire Boss’s Forbidden Mistress is fine for a Harlequin adaptation, but there’s a bit of stiffness here and there with the character’s poses. There are however plenty of starry eyes and flowing hair, which I feel is fairly essential in Harlequin manga. Overall, this was fairly middle of the road for Harlequin manga. The main thing that was missing for me was any element of humor in the story or visual adaptation. If a volume like this is mostly non-stop angst and random misunderstandings that keep the couple apart until the last page, there just isn’t enough dramatic tension to keep me engaged in the story. This volume also probably suffered a bit from being read right after Cowboys, Babies, and Shotgun Vows, because that manga was so much more fun for me to read.

Knight Princess of Orlelian and Serilia of Silver by Rin Kouduki from

I was interested to see that Ohzora Publishing had been added to Jmanga’s lineup. The short-lived Aurora publishing was the previous outlet for some print editions of Ohzora’s lineup, and I did enjoy the three print volumes of Walkin’ Butterfly that were previously re-released. So the combination of a sale on romance manga and some new single volume shoujo titles from an author I hadn’t read before made me intrigued. Serilia of Silver and Knight Princess of Orlelian suffer from the execution issues you might expect in single volume manga, but they might be good choices for people who enjoy their shoujo fantasy manga when it is short and sweet.

Knight Princess of Orelian by Rin Kouduki

Aira is a female knight from a poor family who is dedicated to protecting the downtrodden. Word of her daring deeds reaches the palace of her kingdom and she’s summoned to act as Prince Rudeylice’s bodyguard. The Prince greets his new knight with a kiss, and Aira quickly slaps him but vows to persevere in her guard duty. As she follows the Prince Rudy along when he visits the townspeople in disguise, she begins to see a new side of his personality when he seems genuinely caring towards his subjects. Rudy’s safety is endangered by the plots of his evil stepmother and Aira’s emotions soon become more complicated when she observes Rudy with his intended fiance.

There isn’t much space for quirky character development in a one-volume manga, but Aira and Rudy’s personalities are generally a little bland and they fall in love with great rapidity, with interior monologues like “I’m so happy in his warm embrace…but my heart…is crying…” Aira’s central conflict is her more masculine duties as a knight and her desire to be treated more like a girl, but her knightly uniform of long tunic, stockings, and boots didn’t strike me as all that unfeminine. There’s a bit of surprise twist with an assassination plot, but the ending of this manga is just what you’d expect. Kouduki’s art is clear and easy to follow, and while the quasi-medieval European fantasy setting is a bit generic, this was still fun to read at the sale price.

Serilia of Silver by Rin Kouduki

This manga from the same author was a bit more enjoyable because there was a bit more distinctive world building going on, but there was one action of the hero that threw me out of the story quite a bit, due to its inherent squickyness. A woman known only as the “Holy Maiden of Silver” is paraded around at public events and abruptly kidnapped. When she wakes up, she’s in the bed of a handsome stranger who announces that he’s Adill, the king of her country. She claims that he’s a pirate and demands to go back to her temple, only to be informed that she can’t go back because he’s stolen her virginity. Adill gives her the name Serilia since she has only been referred to by her title before. The whole “I’ve despoiled you, so now you are mine” plot development hindered me from enjoying the story. Serilia is weirdly philosophical about the prospect of being deflowered by Adill, and while she does make a few escape attempts, she gradually finds herself seeing that her captor is working to make the lives of the people better.

So, squickyness aside, I did find the personalities and world building more interesting in this volume than in Knight Princess. Adill’s actions as king are derailed by the temple, who quickly installs another young woman as a replacement holy maiden. Serilia gradually realizes that she’s been so sheltered she was unaware that her religious sect was keeping the poor even poorer by demanding admission fees from the people who were asking for her prayers. Adill encourages Serilia to learn more about the world outside the temple, and they both choose to dedicate themselves to their country. Serilia begins to develop more agency as she learns more about the conditions in her country. The tension between the religious order and the government was interesting, and made Serilia of Silver a little more involving than a more typical shoujo story. This volume also had a bonus story that showed couples from both volumes meeting that was very cute. I’m a sucker for shared universe stories, so it was nice to get a bit of an epilogue for both of these manga.

While these definitely weren’t my favorite titles available on, they were fine to read at the sale price. I enjoyed these single volumes enough that I am curious to see what Rin Kouduki would do with a multi volume series, with more room for nuanced character development and more complex plotting.

Jmanga review: Tenka Ichi!!

When I saw the description of Tenka Ichi!! on I knew I would have to read it because it contains so many plot elements that I enjoy. High school girl mysteriously transported to the past? Check! Unwittingly finding herself surrounded by handsome men? Check! Crossdressing? Check!

Tora is having a hard time fitting in at school due to her upbringing by her very traditional martial arts oriented family. Her pleas for a cell phone go unanswered, and her mannerisms make her a target of ridicule by her classmates. One day when she’s visiting a historical castle she meets a giant talking rabbit who warns her to be careful, Tora promptly freaks out, runs down a staircase, and finds herself transported back to the time period of Nobunaga. Tora is captured and sold to a mysterious one-eyed man named Muni. When Muni discovers that Tora’s a woman he remarks that he bought her because he planned to use her as a spy due to her resemblance to a dead page of Nobunaga’s. Now it is up to Tora to decide if she’s going to spy as a page or as a potential concubine for Nobunaga. Tora decides to be a boy, thinking “in this place women are defenseless.” Muni starts training Tora in marksmanship. Tora also spends time with Muni’s wife Kira, who helps her with her disguise. Some of Tora’s habits from her old life start to come in handy when it becomes clear that she might be able to set herself up as a fortune teller with her extensive knowledge of personality tests. Tora’s fortunetelling starts attracting attention and she’s summoned before Nobunaga. She manages to charm him with her inadvertently brash personality and knowledge of history. Tora is installed as a page with the capable Ranmaru, who is more than a little bit suspicious of Tora’s sudden elevation to page status.

The art in Tenka Ichi!! falls into the serviceable but not very distinct category. Everything is rendered clearly, but without that little bit of extra flair that would make me want to continue reading the manga for the art alone. Fortunately there were enough story elements in place that I was entertained. Tenka Ichi!! falls into the josei category, I think, which is why rape is treated as a real threat that Tora is constantly aware of. Her masquerade is largely due to her not wanting to be a defenseless woman trapped in the past, and the reality of this threat makes Tenka Ichi!! seem a bit grittier than similar shoujo stories that I’ve read. On the other hand, the giant rabbit in historical costume complete with ruff keeps popping up and giving Tora random bits of advice, which certainly provides a random surreal element to Tora’s adventures. A cast of handsome pages is introduced so quickly that I couldn’t really keep track of them, but I still found this volume entertaining. There’s a certain element of humor in Tenka Ichi!! that carried me through any rough patches with the story or art. It was pretty hilarious to see Tora psychoanalyzing Nobunaga with personality tests she probably first encountered in a magazine for teen girls. When Ranmaru takes Tora home because he has to teach her how to behave as a page his mother immediately starts banging gongs, sobbing and chanting to ward off the misfortune that has clearly befallen her family. This series would probably appeal to fans of Kaze Hikaru, Tail of the Moon, or From Far Away. I’m happy to see more josei that I’m interested in reading pop up on

Access to electronic copy provided by the publisher.

PR: Josei and Romance manga promotion on

When Jmanga was announced, one of the things I was hoping for from the online manga company was more josei manga, since it does seem to struggle a bit sales-wise in print format. So it is nice to see that Jmanga is featuring josei and romance titles in a promotion. They’ve been adding some harlequin manga I haven’t read yet to their online library, which I plan to review in a little bit. So read on below for full details:

Get 100 points back on all Josei/Romance purchases!
Sign up now and get up to 4500 POINTS!, the first official and legal manga portal website, will be holding a special campaign from March 15th to 21st (PST). Subscribers who purchase any Josei/Romance titles during the promotion will get 100 points back (up to 29% off) per volume!

Now is the perfect chance to check out such romance manga titles as “The Celebrity Doctor’s Proposal” by Sarah Morgan / Masami Hoshino, “The Bride of Montefalco” by Rebecca Winters / Kiriko Higashizato, and yaoi romance such as “Pet on Duty” by Nase Yamato and “Dash!” by Isaku Natsume.

You must be a subscriber in order to purchase manga on JManga, but during this promotion will be offering a special sign-up bonus of up to 4500 points! Don’t miss this chance to get the romance manga you need. continuously strives to offer the widest selection of legal online manga available, from major to niche, shonen to shojo and yuri to yaoi/BL!

100 Points Back on all Josei Romance Manga Purchases!!
Date:March15th through 21st in2012(PST)
1. Purchase any Josei/Romance titles and get 100 POINTS BACK per volume.
2. Sign up for a paid subscription and get up to 4500 POINTS!!