secretlygeeky: (oral fixation)
[personal profile] secretlygeeky
What do you do when a shoujo manga you love lets you down and breaks your heart?

a. Drink two beers? Check. (Technically, I didn't drink two beers, more like three cocktails....)
b. Mope around all day thinking about all that wasted potential? Check. I'm sorry I'm a loser with no life.
c. Read more shoujo manga? Check!

I decided to binge read a familiar title that I never really wanted to check out in the past, because I was initially iffy about the storyline.. which was Marmalade Boy!

The funny thing is that I actually read its sequel, Marmalade Boy Little, first, so I already have a background on who gets on with who in the future, then decided to read its prequel anyway.

I wasn't really expecting much, but I surprisingly found it fun and light-hearted to read, despite its weird premise with the couple-swapping thing and their bizarre family situation -- which I still find odd, by the way, but it's still such a fun topic to explore anyway. I wasn't expecting to like the lead characters either, but their charm drew me in and kept me reading til the end. Miki's a great girl who can stand up for herself and isn't afraid to call out on people, and Yuu is such a charming mischievous boy who, despite his constant teasing on Miki, genuinely cares for her anyway.

The first half of the manga was a fun read, even if both Miki's friend Ginta and Yuu's ex Arimi were a bit of a headache sometimes, I like how no one was really villainized in the unavoidable shoujo love polygon arc of the series. There were a lot of funny moments as well, such as that time when Yuu and student council president Miwa Satoshi were rumored to be dating, as well as that time when Yuu was coerced by his step mom (Miki's mom) to be a model for a perfume commercial - only to find himself cross-dressing as a woman, and a very gorgeous woman at that.

I have mixed feelings about the latter half of the manga, however, which was more dramatic than the first half, and had pretty ridiculous things going on. I don't mind all the family drama, which was pretty inevitable anyway, but I found the characters of Miwa's cousin Suzu (whom Yuu met at his perfume commercial) and Kei (Miki's co-worker at her part-time job) a bit useless, and irritating as well. Like, what was even the point of Kei taking and hiding Miki's bracelet from her? They were probably just added to the series to create tension between Miwa and Yuu, since they already got together at the time, but all they really did was get on my nerves.

Overall I found the series ok, and good enough to help me (temporarily) forget about my shoujo manga heartbreak. As for Marmalade Boy Little, I'm not sure if I like it enough to read succeeding chapters, since I don't particularly care much for Miki and Yuu's new siblings, but I might just for the characters of Marmalade Boy. Miwa was so adorable, but geez, can they just give Arimi and Ginta a break? I know they were a bit annoying in the past, but it's always sad to hear about an unhappy marriage. I hope they turn out to be fine in the end, anyway.

Not included in the choices above, but reading josei manga is also a great remedy to get over a shoujo manga heartbreak! Josei manga pretty much has all of the things that shoujo manga sometimes can't offer - more mature themes are explored, there's better character development, and more importantly... age-gap relationships are more acceptable! *sobs* I am age gap trash.

Katsuta Bun is a mangaka I recently discovered when I first read her series Chikutaku Bonbon, which I fell in love with (and now own two volumes of the series!!). Her characters are cute and quirky and it just feels refreshing reading her stories.

My copies of Chikutaku Bonbon volumes 1 and 2, featuring the cute leads Iwa and Sango.

I also recently found out that she has a new series! Pictured above is called Mari Mari Mari currently serialized by Cocohana. I flipped through the pages of the first chapter in their website, and I must say I'm very intrigued, and not gonna lie - it's the male lead that drew me in. C'mon, cigarette-smoking, glasses-wearing, dark-haired, quirky guy? What's not to love? It also reminds me of a certain tragic shoujo character... oh dammit I'm so vulnerable. You can read the first chapter of Mari Mari Mari here.

Anyway, looking forward to reading (and purchasing) more of Katsuta Bun's works! They seem like the kind of thing I need in my life right now. Sigh.