Sunday Shōjo: Tsuki ga Kirei (anime)

Episodes: 12
Status: Finished (April 6, 2017 to June 29, 2017)

I did not fall in love with Tsuki ga Kirei on first sight. There was something about character animation which made me cringe (I think it was the use of CGI, but am not sure). However, overcoming the initial cringiness was worth the while.

Tsuki ga Kirei is simple and cute with a surprising dose of realism thrown in. I have difficulty finding anything in it that defies the possibility of this story taking place in real life.

Of course, there’s your fireworks festival, sports, studying, school trip, rivalry, misunderstandings, and a lot of texting. The characters are not perfect – they actually act like real teenagers and there are no typical shoujo characters (sexy rival, villain, prince of the school, scatterbrain…). I think it is impossible not to fall in love with Tsuki Ga Kirei if you’re a fan of the holy trinity: shoujo, slice-of-life, school life.

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Sunday Shōjo: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (anime)

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun)
Episodes: 12
AnimeStatus: Finished
MangaStatus: Ongoing

Sakura Chiyo (sort-of) confesses her love to Nozaki Umetaro, a guy who is pretty much clueless about everything except the manga he is writing (he’s a bit clueless about that, too). This ends up by Chiyo becoming his beta and getting entangled with the intricate process of writing manga. Soon enough, a bunch of colourful and interesting characters emerge as a part of said process, and the result is one of the funniest animes I have ever watched.

The romantic part is on the sidelines, worming its way into funny situations and misunderstandings. If you don’t mind laughing your ass off while enjoying a bit of romance, you’ll love Gekkan Shojo. I’d liken it to Ouran High School Host Club – if you liked that one, I’m pretty sure you’ll love Gekkan-shojo.

Credits:
Featured image by 区宇(くう)@原稿中 taken over from zerochan.net
Image 1 by 白夜ReKi taken over from zerochan.net.
Image 2 by 三本王wallace taken over from zerochan.net.
Image 3 by ☆★☆ taken over from zerochan.net.

Sunday Shōjo: Orange (with Pictures)

Goodreads: On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. 

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  • Bittersweet love triangle;
  • Lovely story about regrets and how they influence of our lives;
  • Cool characters whom you would not mind knowing in real life;
  • The art is really cute and very consistent in quality.

Read Orange on mangareader for free.

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  • It’s not the usual, simple love story solely focused on the two protagonists getting together;
  • Leaves you cheated for the “realtionship” part of the story;
  • It is not really clear whether the manga is completed or not…and it feels like it could do with a few more chapters.

Sunday Shōjo: S.P.Y. (with Pictures)

myanimelist: In search of her mother, Nagi, a girl from a desolate country village, comes to a big city and enters Swimming Suieikyou High School. Shortly after joining the swimming club, Nagi finds out that the pool is actually completely overtaken by boys! But in this never-practicing so-called swimming club Nagi finds something…

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  • You’re looking for a light read that will make you laugh and giggle;
  • You need a quick read with all the shoujo basics: pretty boys, clumsy girl and tokidoki panels;
  • You’re looking for a manga with wet and half-naked guys all over the place.

Read S.P.Y here: mangakakalot.com

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  • You don’t like  manga which wholly ignores its own plot;
  • You don’t like feeling like the manga should have a few more chapters;
  • You want to read something memorable.

Mangas For Girls – Recommendations

Manga: Nishiki-kun no Nasugamama
Author: Shiraishi Yuki
Chapters: 5
“Classic” shojo: cute & short. Loved the characters, the story is as simple as it gets. Worth the while.

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MangaMy Girl
Author: Sahara Mizu (aka Yumeka Sumomo)
Chapters: 10

My Girl is a story about happiness, sadness, loss; about being a parent, being a child, being old… In ten short chapters we follow a bitter-sweet story about a young man who finds out he has a five year old daughter. My Girl will make you sad, it’ll make you think life is unfair, and it’ll make you realize that life is beautiful if you know where to look and if you don’t give up.

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MangaYuru Koi
Author: Yoshino Aki
Chapters: 5

Yuru Koi covers three simple love stories. They’re not unrealistic, and there’s a reason for that double negative – you can imagine something like that happening, but still… The art is very good, smooth and clear,, however it lacks in the “disambiguation” department, a frequent ailment which comes to the fore when a manga has multiple stories about different characters – which end up looking the same and are hard to tell apart. There were some actual “tokidoki” and “awwwwwmoments in this one – which is why you really have to read it.

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Manga: Ike Ike! Sakura
Author: Nagae Tomomi
Chapters: 4

During this quest to find good and great mangas for girls, I’ve discovered a new mangaka to follow, Nagae Tomomi. Be sure to check her out. Ike Ike Sakura! is a story about a silly girl determined to get busy with Shuji, a guy she met on a train. Sakura is very good at saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing and getting herself in a world of confusion and trouble. Ike Ike Sakura! is surprisingly relatable, particularly for girls who know how difficult it is to say the right thing and be cool. Also, this is not shojo, it’s smutty josei.

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Manga: Happy Rush
Author: Nagae Tomomi
Chapters: 5

Happy Rush is a story about Natsumi, a girl  working as a real estate agent. This manga is a bit different, because even though Natsumi is crazy about Toujou, her superior, it’s not really about love but about her becoming good at what she does. It’s really funny and cute, as are most Nagae Tomomi’s mangas. Really loved it.

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Manga: Sora Log
Author: Mitsuki Kako
Chapters: 15

Here, we follow Hikaru, a weird girl who has a thing for sky, stars and Minato Asou. Hikaru is clumsy, but opinionated and ballsy – alltogether extremely likeable. Minato is not a bully, but he’s tall (mostly not dark) and mysterious, with a bad rep (a must!). As is the case in most Mitsuki Kako’s mangas, there is a bit of drama and misunderstanding in Sora Log, however these are not dragged out, unconvincing conflicts based on the idiocy of protagonists. The main conflict is a bit far-fetched, but it’s over in a jiffy so you end up willingly suspending your disbelief. All in all, I loved Sora Log as I have loved each and every manga spawned from Mitsuki Kako’s pen. It is beautiful and dynamic, cute and it induces involuntary grins.

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Ultimate Shōjo Experience! with pictures

What is it that makes Skip Beat! the ultimate shōjo experience?

  1. Hot, tortured male protagonist;
  2. Adamant, gutsy female lead; only slightly clueless;
  3. Opportunity to act on mutual attraction without changing the underlying friendly relationship necessary to continue the story = catharsis without main conflict resolution
  4. Love triangle, sometimes square, occasionally pentagon; plenty of jealousy;
  5. Secret past, part of which is shared by protagonists;
  6. Female lead kicking ass of bitchy female characters we love to hate;
  7. Various impediments of psychological and social sort standing between protagonists;
  8. Familial relationship between characters;
  9. No character is beyond redemption (most often through interaction with female protagonist).
  10. Multiple bishies

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Writing about Skip Beat! is a really arduous task, having in mind that it’s an ongoing manga (since 2002). Nonetheless, I feel that my previous mention did not do it credit.

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In short, Mogami Kyōko is in love with Fuwa Shō and she is prepared to devote all of her being to his happiness and comfort. However, once she learns he is an exploitative asshole, Kyōko decides to lock up her feelings and exert vengeance upon Shō.Through sheer stubbornness and monomaniacal focus, Kyōko enters the world of show business. Why? Because she is determined to dethrone Shō, who is no.1 pop idol in Japan.

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Tsuruga Ren, as a more mature and experienced man is juxtaposed to Shō. And even though Kyōko is largely concentrated on her vengeance, caring very little about her acting career or anything else, in time this changes. Ren comes to the forefront, first as a role-model, and then as something more. Kyōko starts to see past her obsession, past Shō and towards a future of self-realization, instead of a future realized through someone else.cain_heel_by_carly4015-d66uqjtKyōko and Ren are both actors, members of LME agency – something Nakamura Yoshiki uses to torture you with, employing endless role-play routines in which you do not get what you want, but somehow you manage to get close enough.

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Delayed gratification? I dunno. I’m pretty much prepared to believe anything Tom Hiddleston says. If me wait. Me going to get cookie.

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 I keep wondering just how much of this Guilty Pleasure business is related to latent masochism? To illustrate, it took 12 years for Kyōko and Ren to kiss (although, technically, it was not a kiss between Kyōko and Ren). The greatest problem of them all is that Nakamura-sensei can keep on doing this shit until all the fans of Skip Beat! shrivel up and die of a serious case of unmet expectations. But I have learnt my lesson.

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I’m aware that, led by cookie-logic, I might sit and wait, telling myself: “If me wait. Me going to get Tom Hiddleston” which is highly unlikely and would be very inappropriate. Yet, when Skip Beat! is concerned, I’m ready to accept cookie-logic and let it guide me.

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What is your ultimate shōjo experience? 

A/N: Ok, so maybe I’ve exaggerated with all the pics. I pulled them from carly4015.deviantart.comkir-tat.deviantart.com, and fanpop search. When I exaggerate, i EXAGGERATE, so here’s some more.

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A pudding can go on a vacation, yet why can’t I?

Earlier I wrote about Josei Hell, and said I regretted nothing. Shuukatsu – Kimi ni Naitei is one of the reasons I think my trip into hell paid off.

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I hate to admit just how much I enjoyed this manga because it makes me feel immature and too girly to suit the self-image I have built over the years. Honestly, I adore this manga. It’s a perfect little love story about two university students. With real depth and emotion, it also comes with a decent story about growing up.

It’s sweet as hell, yet not so much as to give you cavities. It has all those clichés I hate to love, but with a twist that reminds me why I love them.

Shuukatsu – Kimi ni Naitei is a perfect tool to sweeten up your day and make you feel good, not to mention it poses some important questions. Read it for free.
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A/N: Please click the following link to find out how you can help thousands of people who lost their homes in the Balkan floods (May, 2014). Thank you!

Welcome to Josei Hell

Two weeks ago I have embarked upon a journey to ascertain the real difference between Shoujo and Josei manga. Shoujo is supposedly targeted at younger female audiences while Josei is intended for +18 female readers. I’ve read enough Shoujo mangas, and all I needed was several Josei titles. Looking through completed titles sorted by user ratings seemed a sure thing.  Having no problems in differentiating Seinen and Shounen, I thought that with a large enough sample it would take only a bit of time.
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Well, for starters, finding a readable Josei manga proved nearly impossible. Due to sheer idiocy of “plot”, stupid premise and lack of good art that might incite me to overlook said idiocy I’ve tried and failed at Hapi Mari, Gold, Aisuru Hito, Kimi no Sei (the list goes on but these are the titles I haven’t summarily executed). This lead me to a conclusion that Josei as a genre has some serious issues which in turn made me draw some conclusions I will not share here. I know a far-fetched idea once I start entertaining it (usually).

As I am stubborn and quite adamant at finishing what I’ve started, I have actually come to several other conclusions (full of those, yes) based on partially reading previously mentioned titles and seven titles I’ve actually read.

CONCLUSION: There are three main differences between Shoujo and Josei.

1. Josei often includes sex, as in sex plays a more important role in the story than love and friendship. This being said, it does not mean it’s more mature and serious. It often adds to the general silliness of the plot.
ExampleHapi Mari
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2. Characters are as old as the targeted demographic, meaning they are mostly working women in their late twenties or university students.
Example: Midnight Secretary
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3. Quality Josei is often about the maturation of the female character, something like a bilgundsroman. Whether it’s grappling with the transition into adulthood or simply handling changed life circumstances, one of the biggest differences between good Josei and good Shoujo manga.
Example: Delicious Relationship
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Of course, dipping into a large enough pool does leave you with a few pearls which make it worth the while (one of which is the above mentioned Delicious Relationship). I will nutshell (150 words or less) a couple later on this week.

The important thing is…

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Shōjo in a Nutshell – With Recommendations

All the links lead to a magical place where you can read the manga or watch the anime.

Most shōjo animes and mangas are like Fifty Shades of Grey (minus the silly sex): a young male protagonist is overwhelming and beautiful, rich and/or in a position of authority. The girl is clumsy, homely and naive. She captures the male character with something nobody understands and, due to the goodness of her heart, she interprets his abuse as love he does not know how to express differently (BARF).

Exceptions:

  1. Skip Beat! – manga and anime
  2. Kimi ni Todoke – anime (didn’t read the manga yet)
  3. The One – manhua
  4. Hana no Namae – manga
  5. All mangas by Shimotsuki Kayoko (which are only partly shōjo)

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Shōjo manga authors I recommend because I love the artwork and their work is not too offensive to someone with a functioning brain Mitsuki Kako and Shimaki Ako.

UPDATE: You can find more (completed) girly-manga recommendations, with pictures, links and details below:

Mangas for Girls – Recommendations – six shojo/josei mangas recommendations with pictures, of course.

Shuukatsu – Kimi ni Naitei  It’s sweet as hell, yet not so much as to give you cavities. It has all those clichés I hate to love, but with a twist that reminds me why I love them.

S.P.Y. – perfect, if you’re looking for a light read and/or a manga with wet and half-naked guys all over the place.

Orange – really cute art, a story that goes beyond usual, simple love story solely focused on the two protagonists getting together.

And a coulpe shojo anime you should definitely watch:

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – fun as hell, and only borderline shojo, but really a must-see if you’re looking for some good-quality fun and awesome characters.

Tsuki ga Kirei – I think that a true fan of shojo should not miss this one, especially if you’re like me – a die-hard fan of the holy trinity: romance, slice-of-life and school life.