Title: Love Love Shock!
Author: KURAHASHI Erika
Ribon Mascot Comics, 1999
A couple of weeks ago, I went on a manga shopping trip to southern California (there are several Japanese used bookstores there, and I went to them all~), and I returned home with a ridiculous amout of old used manga. I am still in the process of reading it all (this will take forever) but here is one that I think is cute. For some reason, I ended up with a bunch of stories about idol singers, so I have a feeling the next few summaries I do will be very idol-themed. Anyway, for this first book, we have a cute, non-smutty romantic comedy set in the idol world. I guess you could say it’s a younger, simpler, less psychotic version of Skip Beat. The art is cute and fairly typical for a late 90’s Ribon title, with the super big eyes and clean lines surrounded by a lot of screentone. I thought that I must have already summarized another series by this author, but it looks like I haven’t. However, I’m pretty sure I must own some of her other series. I need to dig through my books and check. Anyway, on to the idol fun!
NATSUKAWA Mei is a 3rd year junior high school student who aspires to become a singer. Unfortunately, until now, all of her auditions have been failures. While Mei’s friend gets pretty worked up over the challenge of getting Mei to succeed at an audition, Mei’s thoughts are elsewhere. She is feeling restless, and thinking about a boy she used to have a crush on. It was 2 years ago, during cram school. The boy’s name was MIURA Azusa. Azusa sat next to Mei, and the simple act of him cutting his eraser in half to share it with her was enough for her to be touched by his kindness and totally fall for him. Ahh, young love. As the days went by, Mei fell more and more for Azusa, so that by the time Valentine’s day rolled around, she knew she had to express her feelings to him with the gift of chocolate. Unfortunately, things don’t work as planned. Azusa rejects her chocolate, saying he’s not interested in boys. Wait, what? BOYS? Ok, it’s true, Mei’s hair is cut short, and she dresses like a tomboy. Did he really mistake her for a boy all this time? How embarrassing! Yet Mei still has feeling for the boy and aches when she remembers that long-ago humiliation. She still wants to meet him again someday, somehow.
Naturally, that’s gonna happen, or this manga would end very quickly~ 🙂 Mei does see Azusa again, but in the most unexpected place- a news report about the latest hot idol group, Sonic Boom! Azusa has grown up a bit and is now the lead singer of the hottest idol band around! She doesn’t know why he became a singer, but this development gives her the perfect chance to see him again. Sonic Boom’s talent agency is holding an audition for a new female idol! This is her way in! Mei is a good singer with bad luck at auditions. Can she make it through this one so she can once again be near Azusa?
So, sort of like Kyoko in Skip Beat, who joins a talent agency to beat her ex-boyfriend, Sho, Mei tries to enter a talent agency because of a boy. And fortunately for her, the audition goes her way, though not quite like how she imagined it. Mei has to do some unexpected maneuvering to get through the audition, but in the end, she is signed by the agency, and living in the same talent agency as Azusa. Only one problem — Azusa doesn’t remember her! And it’s not like she can easily remind him of her identity. “Oh hi there, I’m the girl you dumped, thinking she was a guy.” That would be totally awkward! Furthermore, Azusa not only doesn’t remember Mei, he is not impressed when he meets her now. Mei’s focus on him makes Azusa feel like she is just another crazy fan with a crush. He can’t take her affection seriously.
Well’ she’ll have to show him what’s what, and make a happy ending for herself! Follow Mei as she trains to become an idol and make her debut, faces crowds, gossip, reporters, and deals with trying to make Azusa understand her feelings!
This is a cute story. I like Mei’s energy. Her reactions to some of the stressful parts of show business feels realistic. Yet while she has moments of weakness, she is, for the most part, a strong character who takes risks and works hard for her success. Her crush on Azusa pre-dated his career as an idol, so in her case, she isn’t just another drooling fangirl. But how can she make him realize this?