Title: Tokyo Kareshi
Author: MAKITA Naoi
Flower Comics, 2009
Ahh, I really like the artwork in this book! The cover doesn’t do it justice, really. I have talked about one other book by this author, and the same thing happened there — blah cover, nice interior. The artwork isn’t the most amazing ever drawn, but it is pretty. The body proportions, while being the usual manga-anorexic, are still nicely done, there aren’t any randomly freakish profiles or limbs, and the lines are solid and non-scratchy. I always go on about solid lines vs scratchy, but I can’t help it, I like artwork that looks a bit more confident, and non-rushed. The artwork is simple but attractive, with a medium amount of detail. Screen tones are used well enough so the backgrounds are interesting without being blank or too cluttered. Oh, and *ahem* the guys are really HOT. This is an author with an appreciation for 70’s shoujo manga, so we do get some really funny melodramatic 70’s shoujo reaction shots, with the blank eyes, random spotlight/lighting-thunder, and the defined nose and lip. This is a predictable yet insanely adorable one-shot volume that contains two stories. The first story is my favorite, and takes up about 3/4 of the book. I was sad to see their saga end! I would love for there to be a 2nd volume in the series.
TOUJOU Mugiko is a country girl who has recently moved to Tokyo. It is quite a change for her, but she is a girl on a mission, and she doesn’t pay much attention to how funny she may look to the city kids. Mugiko’s goal is to find her beloved childhood friend “Ya-chan” (Yusuke) who moved away from their small country village 3 years ago. Yusuke was Mugiko’s best friend. They would play together every day, and when he moved away, he said he would wait for her in Tokyo.
Now Mugiko’s family has also moved to the big city, and Mugiko can finally be reunited with Yusuke. Unfortunately for Mugiko, while SHE doesn’t pay attention to what she is wearing, her new Tokyo high school classmates DO. Almost immediately upon entering her new school and finding Yusuke, poor Mugiko is mocked by her classmates. And Yusuke? He acts like he doesn’t even know her! He does nothing to help her when the other kids make fun of her un-stylish way of wearing her uniform, and her country accent. Could this cold, playboy guy be her beloved childhood friend? What happened to him?
Normally, things would end here, with Mugiko brutally rejected by her long lost friend. However, this is shoujo manga land, so help is on the way for Mugiko from an unexpected source. During her very public rejection by Yusuke, Mugiko had tripped, sending the contents of the large bag she was carrying flying all over. A guy who had been watching the shameful scene, picks up a box Mugiko dropped and returns it to her. Stunned by this act of kindness, and dazzled by how hot he is (Wow, Tokyo has such beautiful guys!) Mugiko desperately clings to the new guy, begging him to help her. He knows Yusuke, right? Surely he can help her make Yusuke remember her!
This new guy, who turns out to be named ITOU Reiji, is sort of a quiet surly type (my favorite!) and when Mugiko begs him to help her with Yusuke, he gives in, more as a means to get rid of her, than anything. He looks her up and down, and immediately drags her away. In a scene that is SO EXTREMELY shoujo manga-like, Reiji takes Mugiko to a salon (that belongs to his sister, of course) and proceeds to give her a makeover. Gone are the ugly pigtails, now Mugiko actually looks very cute! In fact, even Reiji is a bit flustered by his own handiwork. I love how so many shoujo manga heroes just happen to be expert stylists. Mugiko can’t believe her eyes when shee sees what Reiji did, and she enthusiastically asks him if he will be her friend. Her sparkly eyes and happy smile seem to have an effect on Reiji, and he hesitantly agrees.
Naturally, when the new, improved, Mugiko returns to school, everyone is amazed. And hey, Yusuke suddenly remembers who Mugiko is! He was cold and mean before, but now he is more than happy to be with her. Mugiko is so happy! Yusuke is back to being the kind and sweet boy she remembered. And she owes it all to Reiji’s help! Seeing Mugiko so happy and thankful doesn’t exactly make Reiji happy. For some reason, seeing her gushing on about Yusuke is not his favorite thing in the world.
But now Mugiko has her darling Yusuke back. Furthermore, Reiji is already really popular with the girls at the school, so what does he need Mugiko for, anyway? Just because Yusuke is is rival, doesn’t mean Reiji needs to warn her away…
I can’t express how cute Mugiko and Reiji are. He is remarkably patient with her, and even though she has some country-bred naivety, she is not totally dense, and can figure stuff out on her own. They end up in all sorts of cute shoujo manga situations, and Reiji’s reaction to some things are cute. I want to read more about Reiji and Mugiko!
Ahh, but instead we get another story at the end of the book which is also cute, though I prefer Reiji and Mugiko.
ICHIJOU Ume lives a tough life. 5 years ago, her father got into debt and ran off. 2 years ago, her mother died from the strain. Now Ume lives with her grandmother, and her time is spent working hard to earn money. What with school and work, she doesn’t have time for romance. Ume is a tough girl, so when she encounters some bullies beating up another guy, she doesn’t hesitate to get involved. In no time, she has knocked them out and saved the boy. The victim tries to thank her, but before he can get any words out, Ume is off, stomping away to school without giving him another thought.
The next day at school, everyone excited because of a new student. His name is NINOMIYA Hikaru, and is extremely rich, handsome, and is totally that shoujo-manga-prince type. You KNOW he just happens to be the same guy that Ume rescued previously.The moment he sees Ume in his class, he happily clings to her, calling her his savior. Ume is angry at this – who has time for guys, especially annoying rich ones? But Hikaru is amazingly persistent. He likes Ume, and he will go to some funny lengths to be with her!