Title: Tokimeki Tonight
Author: IKENO Koi
Ribon Mascot Comics 1982
Here is a series I enjoyed enough to track down the whole set. I hesitated a little to talk about it here, because it is another older series, but I decided I like this one enough to talk about it anyway! I think classic shoujo series should get more love. Often they are passed up by licensing companies as “too risky” because they think kids these days can’t handle or won’t buy anything that isn’t the latest and greatest. I think this is pretty sad and narrow-minded! There are a lot of wonderful series out there with fun stories that should not be ignored just because the copyright date is a bit old 🙂 I would like to hope (perhaps I am too optimistic?) that people will give this series a chance. Tokimeki Tonight ran for a whopping 30 volumes, plus an extra side story volume. They even made an anime for it, but of course we’ll never see that released here, either 🙁 The author had so much success with this one that she even rebooted it and has a new series running right now, called Tokimeki Midnight where she looks at the story again but with some roles reversed. The art is adorable. Yes, it occasionally looks dated, but I was surprised by how well it holds up, really. I think it may be because of of the expressions are so exaggerated and silly 🙂 I was tempted to use a different volume as my sample cover image, because this cover for volume 1 is a bit odd compared to the rest of the series. The heroine is pictured here with blond hair, which is not how she actually looks in the manga. She really has long jet black hair. I am not sure what creative notion prompted Ikeno-sensei to color the hair yellow, but there it is. Oh well, on with the story!
Poor Ranze-chan. She lives in a very unusual household. It wouldn’t seem odd at first glance — she lives with her mom, dad, and little brother. But when your mom is a werewolf, and your dad is a vampire, well, things can get crazy! Yes, Ranze lives in a situation that is very similar to the Addams Family. Her house looks like the set of a horror movie. It’s a haunted mansion. Everyone is supernatural in some weird way. However, at the start of our story, Ranze has not yet developed any powers, and is just an average teenage girl trying to live a normal life while surrounded by strangeness.
Every day, Ranze goes to school, has fun with her friends, and enjoys her first crush. She is totally in love with the cute guy who sits in the desk next to her. He is actually a pretty scary guy, according to her friends. He always comes in late, and always looks roughed up, as if he has been fighting. Everyone thinks he is a delinquent. But Ranze thinks he is cute and wonderful, and does her best to make friends with him. His name is Makabe-kun (a play on the word “Macabre” perhaps?) and he seems to like Ranze okay, though she is a bit weird sometimes. She isn’t afraid of him like the other girls are, so he puts up with her.
However, right as Ranze starts to get settled into her school life and begins to enjoy all the stuff normal teenagers enjoy, she discovers that she does, in fact, have supernatural powers! The family strangeness did not pass her by, and Ranze is definitely not human! It turns out that Ranze has the power to turn into anything that she bites. Her eyes will turn a strange color, she will sprout fangs, and when she bites her victim, they will pass out, and Ranze will turn into them! When the victim wakes up, their memory will be fuzzy, thanks to the effects of the bite. Even more interesting, her power is not limited to people. Ranze can bite a cat, dog, or tennis ball, and she will turn into that thing. The only way for her to return to normal is by sneezing. And when you are a tennis ball, sneezing is not easy!
Naturally, Ranze’s newly developed powers cause her a lot of problems and make her school life and romantic prospects more difficult. Her love for the human Makabe-kun is frowned upon by her over-protective parents, who want her to marry someone from the demon world. Ranze’s daily life is definitely not normal, as various aspects of her supernatural homelife keep creeping into her normal school life. It’s difficult for her to juggle both worlds and keep them separate from each other! She has to deal with her vampire father (who can go out in daylight if he wears sunglasses) who doesn’t want his little girl to grow up and get a boyfriend, and her violent-tempered werewolf mom, who thinks it would be great if Ranze married the handsome demon prince who seems to like her. From undead ancestors, magical items with unexpected effects, duplication spells, and that pesky amorous prince, to homework, school festivals, swimming lessons, and first love, poor Ranze’s adventures are just beginning!
This series has a lot of horror movie elements, but it is, above all, a comedy. The humor can get a bit slapstick, but there are some very funny running jokes that never die and remain funny every time they pop up. Everyone reacts to the craziness of things around them with wonderful exaggerated expressions. Ranze is very silly, and ends up in some awesome situations thanks to her powers. But she is brave and resourceful, and is also creative at getting out of those crazy situations. The cast of characters grows as the series progresses, and there are some elements of drama, but the humor and romance really dive the series. I really enjoyed reading this, it is one of those “essential” shoujo manga series that all shoujo fans should check out. I hope to talk about the rebooted version, Tokimeki Midnight soon as well!