Bishounen no Oheya

bishounen no

Bishounen no Oheya, or The Beautiful Boys’ Room by Kurumatani Haruko.

Coming from a very poor family, Sakurano Koyuki attends a high school for the wealthy with the hopes of marrying a rich man. As long as she obtains the top grade in the school all of her tuition expenses are paid leaving her to strive for her dream. So far she has had no problems making the top marks… that is until Jinguu Itsuki transfers into the school and steals her throne at the top. Immediately after their stormy first meeting Koyuki is called home to find her father has fled leaving her family in debt and her as the only one they can rely on. With things looking bleak for Koyuki, it seems almost too good to be true when Jinguu swoops in and saves the day paying her family’s debt and covering all her school expenses… only to find out that it is! In exchange for saving her family and her dream Koyuki must become the live-in maid for Jingu, his cousin Ooguro Ryou, and their childhood friend Ayase Kanae.

In the beginning this manga is not off to the best start. For one, the pacing of the story is way too fast to really feel any impact on what is happening to the main character. If this was a one-shot perhaps the pacing wouldn’t seem quite as terrible, yet even then I have read many a one-shots with significantly better pacing than this manga.

One-Shot Highlight #2!

Title page of 'Shoujo Eve Ringo Jikake no 24 Ji'

‘Shoujo Eve Ringo Jikake no 24 Ji’ or “Eve’s 24 Hour Applework” by Arina Tanemura.

Eve Shiratori hates being called “cute” to the very core. Being so cute has made her life miserable, she can’t make any friends and most people are too intimidated to really get closer to her. And to top it all off, she is constantly being asked out by the popular Kashii-kun based off her looks. The only one who seems to listen is the kind Niikawa-kun, Eve’s classmate. Can Eve confess her feelings to Niikawa-kun or will she come around to Kashii-kun’s advances?

Shoujo Eve is a cute little one-shot that contains most of the elements of a whole series in a 10 minute chapter. Albit a little stereotypical of shoujo manga (really big eyes), Arina Tanemura portrays some of the most beautiful art in her works, and Shoujo Eve is no exception. As always, her stories come off as light and innocent at first, but they soon reveal themselves to have a darker side buried deep into the hearts of her characters.

Bishounen Look: The two bishounen of the series are Niikawa-kun and Kashii-kun. If you like the ‘nice-guy’ type then perhaps you will like Niikawa-kun. He’s a little to ‘goody-goody’ for my tastes really but it also comes off cute at the end. Kashii-kun, however, is just right in my opinion. He’s got the pretend arrogance/optimism that’s funny/cute, but then the kinder, deeper side of the ‘tragic heroes’ without all the emo that is present in a lot of Tanemura’s male protagonists/love interests.


This one-shot was released in America in the magazine Shojo Beat, but if you don’t have a copy of that it should be easily found online. The only annoyance I find is that some translations online will use “kawaii” instead of “cute”. In Japanese “kawaii” can mean anything from “cute” to “cool” to just expressing some kind of positive feeling. Normally I prefer leaving the Japanese words like kawaii not translated but for the purposes of this one-shot it works much better to just use “cute” since the use of the word kawaii in this story is actually closer to “cute”. It makes for a much smoother read in English. But that’s just my opinion and either way it does make for a good read.

One-Shot Highlight #1

Title picture for 'Hajimete' Ageru!

‘Hajimete’ Ageru!, or Giving “The First Time”, by Yukimo Hoshimori.

School girl Sayu is suddenly confessed to by the popular Yano-senpai out of the blue. Agreeing to go out with him, Sayu learns why the mysterious Yano-senpai chose her out of all the other girls.

Definitely not one of the best one-shots I’ve read, but it’s not terrible. The art isn’t bad and the story is sweet. A little bit cheesy, but hey, if you’re in the mood for a bit of innocent fluff this may just be a nice short fix. Overall, the art can use a little bit of work but it’s not bad in some parts.

Bishounen Look: Leaning more on the strong silent type, Yano-senpai does break away from it in a slight ‘moe’ scene in the middle that adds a cuteness factor. Not bad for a one-shot bishounen but pretty generic in my opinion.

Week #1… The Mysterious Play

Miaka and Tamahome

For my first full review I decided to go back to my years in middle school to one of the very first manga I have ever read. In those days there was only a small selection of manga translated into English to choose from, and even smaller was the selection of shoujo manga. Luckily enough manga had slowly begun to increase in popularity, and one day as I was passing through the library I had come across an intriguing novel by a Japanese artist. In its pages lay a story of a mysterious book where a young girl is thrust into a world of gods and war, there she must face a struggle between doing her duty and being with the one she loved. I am talking, of course, of Yuu Watase’s Fushigi Yugi.

Being nearly 20 years since it’s release in English, I realize there are many of you who have probably already read through all 18 volumes of this classic. But for those of you new to shoujo manga, or even manga in general, perhaps you have yet to stumble across its pages. It is to that end that I write this review, in hopes of encouraging a new generation of FY (Fushigi Yuugi) fans.  Firstly, a brief summary to bring us all up to speed, and maybe dust out a few of the cobwebs for those of us old readers.

We start off with the glutton Miaka Yuuki, a 3rd year middle school student in the midst of studying for her entrance exams for the prestigious Jonan high school.* One day while studying in the library with her best friend Yui, they discover a mysterious book in the back room called ‘The Universe of the Four Gods’. Upon opening its pages they are immediately transported, unbeknownst to them, smack dab into the middle of ancient China. After a confusing run in with some local thugs and a handsome stranger, they are returned home with doubts about whether their experience was a dream or reality?

Plagued with curiosity, Miaka decides to re-enter the book and finds herself written down as the Heroine, the Miko of Suzaku (Priestess of Suzaku). In order to obtain the power of the mighty Suzaku, and thus her three wishes, she must find her 7 celestial warriors across the country of Konan and summon the god-beast. The adventure is wrought with hilarity, betrayal, love, and sacrifice as Miaka and Yui are modern girls plunged into a world of war, struggling to come to terms with a whole new range of emotions and fighting for survival.

The story at first is pretty E (PG) but at about volume 6 the scenes become bloody and the content a little more mature. The whole series I would rate at about T (PG13), maybe T+ (older teen) just to be safe.

Miaka and the 7 Suzaku warriors

I would said that the story on the whole is very worth the read. It is still most definitely a shoujo but it has enough adventure in later volumes that would probably appease even some shounen fans. The relationships between characters are constantly changing and although the beginning seems a little slower, it starts to pick up at about volume 3-4.

Splattered with ridiculous comic relief and, at times, cheesy humor, it does well to break the tension at some of the more intense dramatic scenes. The romance is a little predictable at the start, and almost seems to fall into the Mary Sue Syndrome but it more than makes up for it in the long run. The many twists, turns, and back flips the relationships between the characters in this series must endure will have you second guessing and losing hope altogether. In the end you will be left with a stark reminder that not all stories end happy and not everyone’s favorite characters will survive to the end.

One of the most interesting things to observe is the progression of Watase’s art throughout the series. Perhaps the character development is not the best (some of them tend to be lacking a little), but bit by bit with each hardship you will feel them grow and mature until the end, becoming more well-rounded just as Watase’s art style develops to be smoother and well-rounded. This parallel works to enhance the feeling of the character’s progression, some times making up for the lack there of story-wise.

Though it’s true that the full story does span over all 18 volumes, volumes 1-13 are considered “part 1” while the latter 14-18 are “part 2”. And while I am proud to say I have read the entire series a few times, I personally like to believe that the series ends at volume 13 (the end of part 1). As an avid reader myself, I understand the maddening ache when a good story comes to an end leaving you to wonder and wish to find out what happens after “the end”. And while you will make some interesting discoveries about what happens to the original characters after the events of part 1, in my opinion part 2 of the series travels down a confusing and unnecessary path that takes away from the story overall. I still, however, recommend at least reading through the entire series to make your own assumptions.  Overall, this series is a bit dramatic at times but it still makes for a great shoujo manga.

Yui and Nakago

Bishounen look: For any bishounen fan this series is definitely a treat! There is basically a harem of guys to choose from in this series! From the Suzaku 7 (6 of which could be considered), to 4 of the Seiryuu 7, and even a couple other warriors that make an appearance, bringing the bishie count to about 14. And the best part is there’s something for everyone. Whether you prefer the strong silent type, the evil type, the noble type, loyal type, optimistic type, emo type, or even just the plain freaky, there are plenty to choose from. And all 14 are definitely bishie status at one point or another in the series, my favorite being Amiboshi. ;)

*For a tidbit of information in case there are some newbies out there, in Japan the school system (mostly) goes 6-3-3-4, 6 years elementary, 3 years middle school, 3 years high school, and 4 years university. Entrance exams take place to get into middle school, high school, and university. The better middle school you get into, the better chances you have in getting into a better high school and thus a better university.

One-Shots Galore!

In the vast expanse of manga there are thousands upon thousands of different titles available for the curious reader to lay their hands on. An overwhelming prospective when you imagine every series running nearly over a stretch of 5 volumes or more. The reality is that nearly half of all those titles are merely one-shots or one-shot collections.

One-shots are basically the manga/fanfiction equivalent of a short story in classic literature. And I believe these little bursts of inspiration are just as entertaining as some of the longer running series of the genre. Therefore, along with the full series manga reviews I will be posting one-shot highlights every once in a while giving a short description and opinion on each title.

So the next time you are looking for a 10 to 15 minute break try flipping through one of these short but sweet escapes, perfect for tiding over the deprived manga addict.

Update on Blog

Hello! I don’t know if you have stumbled across my first few posts on this blog, but I have taken all but one of them down. The reason being when I had started this blog a few years ago I did not get very far before life got in the way, and soon this site became a mere afterthought. Now as I am out of school and fairly stable in my life, the idea of this blog drifted into my head again as I was sorting through the many shoujo manga I had read over the years. As it stands now shoujo manga has become increasingly popular over the years (still not as popular as shounen but eh, at least it got somewhere) with more and more series being licensed in English. With it’s increase in popularity finding information on shoujo manga is less scouring the internet and more scrolling leisurely through Tumblr or the like.

Still, shoujo manga has a place in my heart and I would like to contribute to it’s fandom in some way besides posting random pictures on my Pinterest in the hopes of encouraging someone to check it out. Plus this is a fantastic way for me to write down my thoughts while making sure all the literacy and grammar that has been crammed into my head for numerous years at school doesn’t fade away completely. That said, I will officially start up this blog again (hopefully for a longer run) and will start off slow so as not to discourage myself by biting off more than I can chew! I will be reposting some of my older reviews in the next few weeks with some edits, as well as a couple new pieces. After that most likely I will try to start with a review once a week, or bi weekly depending on how things go.

I hope you enjoy this blog, see you at the next review!


Welcome to the World of Shoujo!

Mokona Modoki saying "It's a secret"

Mokona Modoki from Tsubasa Resvoir Chronicles

Hello all!

My name is Tokyo. I’ve started this blog as a way to bring shoujo manga to others. Most people who read manga will tend to go for shounen, most likely drawn to the action that is ever-present in its pages. I, however, have always been drawn to the more emotional and relationship heavy manga of shoujo. And yes, it is normally categorized as the “girls” manga but I believe there is more to shoujo manga than just being for “girls”.

Anyway, since my first days in middle school of coming across the wonderful world of manga and anime, I have read a countless number of manga, most of which are in the category of shoujo. I have also noticed, sadly, how a lot of great shoujo titles are much, much lesser known than their shounen counter parts. Why shouldn’t these wonderful shoujo stories be as popular as all of the shounen manga, I’ve thought. Perhaps if people were made aware of all these great titles they would be encouraged to read. Or perhaps it might encourage some new readers, those who aren’t partial to shounen but are interested in the beautiful art of manga.

Thus, the Shoujo Review has come to be! I will be using this blog to review as many shoujo manga as possible with a new one every week. I will also highlight a new shoujo mangaka every month starting in August! Occasionally I might have a random anime and manga piece of news or trivia that I will post in addition to the weekly manga, or maybe just a slice-of-life. Nevertheless, this marks the start of a journey into the beautiful, illustrated World of Shoujo!

Ja Matta Ne~