Title: Yasuko to Kenji
(Yasuko and Kenji)
Margaret Comics, 2005
Ah this is such a fun series! I decided to summarize Yasuko to Kenji because of a live action TV drama version of it that recently started airing, which I am enjoying very much. It reminded me that I do have the manga, and that I never talked about it here. This is a fun comedy series, which, after re-reading it, does seem perfect for a live action adaptation. And while the TV drama changes some details, it does do a very good job at keeping most things intact. The art style in this manga is very funny. It looks like a strange combination of shoujo and shounen manga.
2nd-year high school girl OKI Yasuko just wants to lead a normal teenage life. She wants to go out to karaoke with friends, go on dates… normal things! However, Yasuko is not exactly normal. Well, it’s her older brother Kenji who is not normal. Ever since their parents died 10 years ago, Kenji has been taking care of Yasuko, raising her and supporting her. But looking at him, you’d think Kenji is the least likely person to be raising a little girl. Kenji is the former leader of a biker gang. He was pretty much king of the punks and delinquents, and he was NOT one to be messed with. But when he became responsible for raising Yasuko, he gave up his violent life and settled down to be a parent to Yasuko.
And what a parent figure he is! Yasuko’s upbringing is about as opposite as Kenji’s as it could be. Where he was wild and crazy, Yasuko is not allowed to do anything. She has a strict curfew, can’t date boys, can’t go out with friends. She must attend a cram school and study all the time. It’s driving Yasuko crazy! He is so stifling! What’s more, he is so embarrassing to be around! He may have given up being an actual gang leader, but he did not give up his crude and rough habits and fashion sense. He looks like a yakuza thug, and he scares all of Yasuko’s teachers. Growing up, he would intimidate her friends. Yasuko and Kenji love each other and share a tight family bond, but living under his rule can be very frustrating!
Things begin to look up for Yasuko when she meets a very cute, normal, boy at her after school cram lessons. His name is TSUBAKI Jun, and he is kind and handsome. Even better, he is nice to her and doesn’t seem to mind Yasuko’s awkwardness around him. But this is Yasuko’s life we are talking about here, and things are never this simple or good. Tsubaki-kun lives with his older sister, Erika. She runs a flower shop. Erika is beautiful and gentle, and Yasuko is dazzled by her beauty and charm.
But Yasuko soon realizes that Tsubaki-kun, while very easy-going and nice, may have some issues of his own after she finds out that Erika is also a former gang leader! Erika was the boss of an all-girls biker gang, and was a fierce rival to Kenji! AND she is to blame for an incident that resulted in Kenji getting beat up! Oh no, how can Yasuko ever get Tsubaki-kun to like her when there is so much bad blood between her brother and his sister? But wait, those sparkly eyes that Erika turns towards Kenji may give Yasuko reason to hope after all…. what a strange tangle or relationships this turns out to be!
Throw in kidnappings, biker gangs, crazy facial expressions and rough language, and you have a very fun series. Oh, did I mention that Kenji supports himself and Yasuko by drawing shoujo manga? Very famous shoujo manga loved by everyone? 🙂 This series is 4 volumes long, I recommend it! 😀