Title: Toraware Gokko (Stolen Hearts)
Author: SAKAMOTO Miku
JAPAN ISBN# 978-4-592-17248-2
Hana to Yume Comics, 2007
USA ISBN# 978-1401-22518
CMX Comics 2010
Oh my gosh, what an absolutely adorable series this is! CMX sent this to me a while ago, and at first I could have sworn I already owned volume 1 in Japanese, so I spent a while searching for that book, but couldn’t find it. Then I managed to misplace this English copy. My apartment is a kind of manga Hellmouth, stuffed with books and only a vague sense of organization, so when I lose something, it can take me a while to find it again. At any rate, I finally found this copy and was able to read through it. Now I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy and ‘Awwwwww!’ and wishing I had managed to talk about this book sooner. It’s nice that this series has been licensed, because the story and characters are so adorable, that I think it deserves more attention 😀 Go out and buy this one! It’s shoujoriffic!
OKUMA Shinobu is a 2nd year high school girl. You wouldn’t really know it by looking at her, because she is such a tiny girl. Her height tops out at around 4’9″ or 4’10 inches or so, an people are always mistaking her as an elementary school student. The story starts when she accidentally spills milk on a bag belonging to her classmate, KOGUMA Miharu. This is NOT a Good Thing, because Koguma has to be the most scary guy in the school. He is over 6′ tall, and is rather brawny. There are lots of rumors about him beating up various gang members and getting into fights all the time. This seems kind of silly, because the guy apparently still comes to school all the time, so it doesn’t seem like he’s a delinquent, but when rumors fly, it’s difficult to stop them.
Shinobu is terrified when she realizes it’s Koguma’s bag she spilled her milk on, and she starts to apologize, saying she can wash the bag, or do what ever needs to be done to repay him if the contents of the bag were valuable. To her dismay, he pulls a kimono out of the bag and says it is very valuable. Shinobu will need to meet him after school to discuss repayment. Shinobu is very nervous, but that turns to surprise when she realizes that they are meeting at a very nice kimono shop. It turns out that the kimono shop is run by Koguma’s rather feisty grandmother. Before she knows what is happening, Shinobu is swept along when the grandmother assumes Shinobu is there to start work as a kimono model for her shop. The grandmother is not someone easily denied, and soon Shinobu and Koguma are out on the streets, dressed in lovely traditional kimonos, and handing out flyers advertising the shop.
You see, Koguma lives with his grandmother and works at the shop. He may look like a scary guy, but he actually knows a lot about kimono, and he is entirely bullied by his grandmother. He tells Shinobu he will excuse her debt to him if she works with him at the kimono shop, handing out flyers every day. Shinobu, who is actually kind of enjoying wearing such a cute kimono, agrees. Soon the oddly matched pair are a familiar site on the local streets, always dressed in various themed kimonos.
In no time at all, Shinobu loses her fear of her large classmate. Koguma is really a very sweet guy. Everyone just misunderstands him because he is so large. Their classmates can’t believe how Shinobu can feel so comfortable around such a dangerous guy. But as time passes, she begins to realize that Koguma is extremely cute. She may actually be falling for him… But they would make such a strange couple! He looks rough and dangerous, towering over everyone with his long legs. Next to him, Shinobu looks like a fragile doll. She’s so tiny and cute. Could they ever become a couple? How does Koguma feel about her? Is she just some girl who owes him money?
Shinobu and Koguma are beyond adorable. Seriously, I get all warm and fuzzy during their scenes together. Koguma is a refreshingly vulnerable shoujo manga leading guy. As much as I love the tsundere types who act cold but are warm and mushy inside; the awkwardly adorable guys are great too. Koguma’s feelings towards Shinobu are rather obvious, and her feelings towards him, and how she reacts to the awkward things he does are so much fun. Koguma’s grandmother is an interesting lady too. She is up to a lot of sneaky tricks and antics designed to bring business into her shop. There are hints that she has had a very colorful past. Stolen Hearts is a sweet series, and I am really looking forward to reading the next volume!
This series is too cute to miss. Go pick up volume in 1 in English over HERE!