Title: Odeko no Mahou (Forehead Magic)
Author: OTANI Noriko
Margaret Comics, 2006
When I was looking through my manga for something to talk about today, I initially passed this one up because I thought I had already talked about it here. But I kept coming back to it, and after finally checking, I realized I haven’t. Ack, what an oversight! This is a cute volume of 4 one-shot stories that is a very enjoyable, light read. The art style is simple yet very pretty. I really like the way this author draws guys. Some panels are simplistic, but then some have a nice level of detail combined with the screentones and just look so nice to me. Such cute guys… seriously, I just stare at them. These stories are funny, sweet, and non-smutty.
Story 1 begins quite painfully for our heroine, Hideko-chan. Her name is called out, and she turns, and before she can react, a soccer ball slams her hard in the forehead, knocking her out! Oh, what a way to start! The next thing she knows, Hideko is waking up in the school infirmary, her good friend Shigeru at her side, begging her not to die. Hideko lets him know with a punch in the face that she is alive and well. Shigeru blabbers a lot and is extremely apologetic. See, he was the one who lost control of the soccer ball and kicked it in her direction. He didn’t mean to hit her! Hideko is very angry at being hit, but the pain distracts her. When Shigeru goes to replace the cold pack on her forehead, they discover something shocking — kanji!
There is a kanji character on Hideko’s forehead, and it was not by any normal means. In fact, it changes right before their eyes! It turns out that the accident has somehow caused a situation where whatever emotion Hideko is feeling is expressed through a symbol on her forehead! As her mood changes, so does the symbol. Even more interesting, the only ones who can see the characters are Hideko and Shigeru! This makes for some fun situations as Hideko goes through her day, and we, the reader, can tell what she is feeling. But for poor Shigeru, this leads to an unexpected discovery.
Shigeru and Hideko are close friends, but are not dating, though it is pretty obvious that Shigeru has a crush on her. Unfortunately for him, when they happen to meet the cute senpai that Hideko works at her part time job with, he sees the symbol for love on Hideko’s forehead. Hideko loves her co-worker senpai? This obviously makes him feel quite dejected, and his relationship with Hideko becomes strained. As for Hideko, it’s awkward to have one guy literally read her like a book, while unable to confess anything to the boy she likes!
Story 2 is actually a bundled trio of super-short stories. The first one features a girl who is in love with the boy who sits in front of her in class, but she hasn’t confessed. What happens when he finally confronts her about feeling her electric star on his back all the time? The next story is told from a boy’s point of view. Our hero is a meek boy who is trying to quit the drama club. He somehow got sucked into it after watching the club perform at the school festival a while back. The club president is a girl with a strong and forceful personality. Is our meek hero really needed in the club? The third story chronicles the amusing fight between a 3rd year girl who is part of the swimming club and the first year boy who is always spying on the swimming club. She is always chasing him off and protecting her kouhai from this lech. But how does she feel when she finally chases him off for good?
Story 3 is quite amusing! Hooray for a teacher-student story! 17 year-old TATEOKA Matsuri is always clashing with her teacher, 25 year-old MATSUBARA Kazuma. Matsuri is fuming at home after one such argument which resulted in a massive pile of homework and studying for Matsuri (on her day off!), when her older sister comes to her with an unbelievable request for a favor. Can Matsuri please go to a party in her place? She already paid to attend, but she suddenly had something come up and can’t go. Can Matsuri go instead? There will be free food… oh, but it’s not quite a normal party.
It’s an Omiai party! An omiai is basically a matchmaking meeting between a couple who are looking to get married! Hey now, Matsuri is only 17, she can’t go to a party like that! What if she is recognized? Oh, but this problem is easily solved, she will wear a disguise! She just has to pretend she is 20, enjoy the free food, and go home! Ahh, but you can guess who she runs into at the party! Yes, it is Matsubara-sensei, looking extremely adorable in his nice suit. Too bad their encounter resulted in her spilling food all over that suit! Matsuri is horrified and terrified that he might recognize her, but Matsubara is cute and nice, and doesn’t seem to realize she is his student. In fact, while she does seem familiar somehow, he acts quite taken with her, and is hilariously over-polite to her. He seems to really like her! And she is starting to like him, too. What is Matsuri to do?
Finally, we have the crazy hilarious story of a 15 year-old girl named Harumi who has an unrequited crush on her cool next-door neighbor, 18 year-old Yoshirou. Harumi is very vocal about wanting to go out with Yoshirou, but he puts her off. After she nags him so much, he finally caves in and says that if the weather is good tomorrow, he might consider going out on a date with her. Harumi is thrilled, until she realizes that the forecast for the next week is tons of rain. What will she do? Harumi decides to make a teru teru bozu, a little charm you put in a window to ward off rain. That night, she has a strange dream about the teru teru growing large and talking to her. How freaky! The next morning, she is delighted to see that it is sunny! Yoshirou will go on a date with her! But, wait a minute, why is it she can still see the giant teru teru bozu? Why can she hear it talking to her? Is she going crazy!? How can she go out with Yoshirou with this thing hovering around her? Hahah this story is insane!
Have I mentioned how much I like how this author draws boys? Lol, I am so shallow. This is a fun collection of romantic comedies!