Yep, I freely admit this one isn’t even remotely a Random Shoujo Manga ^^ I had already fallen completely in love with the anime version of this series that ran recently in Japan. The anime for Karekano (as this series has been nicknamed) was done by those mega-popular people over at GAINAX, who were responsible for Evangelion. But unlike Eva, in Karekano they have taken a totally different story and brought it to life. Instead of shounen, angsty, mind-bending action-mecha like Eva, Karekano is a shoujo story about high school relationships, and what it means to really put aside your public ‘face’ and share yourself with someone. This is the manga from which that anime was based, and it is fabulous. I can see why GAINAX opted to do this series! It is quite a bit different from the rest of the shoujo stuff out there, and I can’t recommend it enough, so I must plug it here! 🙂
All her life, Yukino MIYAZAWA has lived to be the best. The best at her studies, the best at sports, to be involved in all the best exctra-cirricular activities at her school, etc. For her, image is everything. She thrives on being admired and praised by her classmates, and being the one to whom they all turn to whenever they nee anything. However Yukino’s life changes when she enters high schoool. Sure, she is still pretty, popular, and looked up to by everyone, but now she is not the only one at the top. She gains what she considers to be a bitter rival. A boy in her class named Souichirou Arima is also a top student, great at sports, and admired by everyone. WHAT??? How horrible! Yukino can’t stand the fact that she has to share the spotlight with Arima. You see, despite the fact that Yukino is calm, pretty, and perfect on the outside, inside and at home with her family, she is a totally different person. She lays around the house studying in an old sweatsuit, looking really horrible, plans the ‘defeat’ of Arima, and likes to imagine him crawling on his hands and knees before her as she laughs in victory after beating his score on a test. In her mind she must do anything to top Arima, and sees herself as being in a big competition with him for superiority.
Meanwhile, Arima is also not quite what he seems. Things from his past prompt him to be a good student at school, but unlike Yukino, his feelings for her aren’t exactly those of a rival. Things heat up when Arima discovers Yukino’s terrible secret, that she is not as perfect as everyone at school thinks! But ahh, what will he do with this information? Will he tell everyone? Use it to hurt Yukino’s beloved perfect image? Yukino’s life is in turmoil now that Arima knows, but it’s only just the beginning of their dealings with each other…