I’ve been working on Margaret tanks in my backlog pile recently ~ Here are a couple I read this week:
Hajimete Kareshi ga, Dekimashita. (~lit. I got a boyfriend for the first time/My First Boyfriend) by Aoyama Haruno
By the author of Koisuru Little, Hajimete is a collection of 5 oneshots that revolve around feelings – the feeling of wanting to show someone your how you feel. The feeling tickling one’s heart at beginning a relationship. The feeling of wanting the strength to say you love someone.
The art here was a little rougher compared to Koisuru Little, but only to be expected since this has works compiled years before Koisuru Little. Everything was super cute :3 I was surprised that one of the oneshots featured a young elementary school student and his mom. His theme was wanting to be strong like his mom. However, he realizes his mom is human like him and just like she supports his family, they need to be there to support her. He grows strong and is able to face his problems, always knowing his mom/family will be there to support him. I just loved the message the short conveyed x3
Hana to Rakurai (Flowers and Thunderbolts) by Watanabe Kana
I remember seeing this title at Kinokuniya a lonnnnnngggg time ago. I wasn’t familiar with Watanabe Kana’s work so I was hesitant to try. Also, when I saw there were two girls on the cover, my mind thought, oh no, I bet these two will be bitches to each other or something, cuz shojo. Speed time up to me randomly visiting Book*Off last month and guess what I found in the sales area? Since the volumes weren’t shrink wrapped, I was able to give the inside a peek and found myself enjoying what I saw.
The story follows two girls whose lives get intertwined when one wishes for the courage to admit her feelings to a boy she likes. The other girl offers to help, as a member of the Follow Through Club – a club designed to help people out with goals they want to accomplish. Though her love story doesn’t end up going as planned, the two girls find friendship with one another. A third member eventually joins – a shy stork of a boy – and the three work together/hang out. The first volume focuses on assembling the members of the Follow Through Club. The second volume focuses on how the club came to be and on the backstory of one of the girls. It was quite sad :(
Overall, I really enjoyed Flowers and Thunderbolts :) The art was pretty and the pacing was just right. If there was any complaint, it’d be that I really wanted Flowers and Thunderbolts to be longer, if just to see the Follow Through Club work on helping other people out (outside its own members haha). But I guess this being Watanabe’s first serialized work, two volumes is pretty good ~
Definite recommendation from me if you’re looking for a shojo about the power of friendship (love is there too, but it’s on the back burner).
Chara Otoko to Robo-ko (The Player and the Robot) by Kiuchi Ramune
Another collection of oneshots. What stood out with The Player and the Robot for me was how different the characters were compared to the usual stock seen with shojo. I’m not quite sure how to explain it, but they’re personalities I haven’t encountered before. Thus it made the read feel new and novel. Of the collection of oneshots I read this week, The Player and the Robot was my favorite, again just cuz of how different things felt :J
Fumikiri, Kimi no Te, Sakura Michi (The Railroad Crossing, Your Hand, A Street Lined with Sakura Trees) by Masuda Riho
By the author of Haruniwa, our last title and again, a collection of shorts. The first short wasn’t bad. Pretty much about Growing Pains. But the other two…were just weird. The first played like a murder mystery but I didn’t understand the ending. Was it necessary for the characters to continue to pretend they didn’t know each other? What about the memory loss thing? One shot #3 was just as weird. Still trying to understand why there was a flying whale and why the whale turned into a human in the first place? :u The last oneshot was the shortest and the easiest to get. The pains of pushing someone you love towards the person they themselves love. What an awesome friend :( Hope the girl finds someone just as awesome as she is!
All in all, wasn’t my fav read of the week. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on and finding no answers. I guess those shorts were ones you had to use your imagination to fill in the gaps ^^;
For English titles, I’m currently slogging through Are You Alice? Beautiful art but hellah confusing. I’m at vol #10 and still scratching my head haha. I’ll maybe have a review next week but we’ll see ^^