March on Earth Books 1-2

Sometimes I get caught up in chasing new releases or wanting to be one of the first to review something. It can be stressful (well, such as it is — it’s still reading and talking about comics). So it’s nice to be reminded that a good read is good whenever you find it.

The two-book series March on Earth was released by the now-defunct CMX Manga imprint in 2009, but I found out about it thanks to Michelle Smith’s recent review. It’s a cute shojo series, nothing earth-shattering, but a relaxing bathtub read (if you’re into that sort of thing). If you enjoy series like Aishiteruze Baby, where a teen deals with the responsibility of taking care of an adorable baby relative, mixed with the slowly burgeoning romance of The Stellar Six of Gingacho, with just a pinch of the “I want to be a civil servant” theme of The Story of Saiunkoku (only modern-day) — then this is a good choice for you to seek out.

Sisters Yuzu and Tsubaki were orphaned five years ago, but the older Tsubaki, a children’s book author, kept them together. Then Tsubaki had a baby boy, father unnamed. Recently, Tsubaki was killed in a car accident, but following her example, the now -year-old Yuzu is determined to raise the child Shou. Her landlady, Ms. Kusano, helps out, and the landlady’s son Seita, a classmate of Yuzu’s, has a crush on her, inspired by her hard work and dedication.

As expected, the kid’s adorable, while Yuzu is inspiring in the way she keeps going and solves problems, such as how to afford the Christmas present Shou wants or meeting a friend of her sister’s who might be the baby’s father. The biggest flaw in this series is the way the premise is explained to the reader again every chapter — due to the initial serialization — but overall, it’s quietly heartwarming, and the message, that all you need is family to love you in order to keep going, is reassuring.

In the second book, we learn more about Yuzu’s personality, as her classmates and neighbors try to celebrate her birthday. She rarely thinks of herself, so it surprises her at times that so many people care about her. For instance, her class wants her to be able to join their group camping trip, so they invite Shou, too, even though that’s out of the ordinary. Not everyone’s in love with Shou, though, especially another girl who has her eyes on Seita. Meanwhile, with Tsubaki’s old friend, the question of how to choose between family or career dreams comes up. The final chapter, as the short series concludes, gives a brief look ahead to the future of the characters.

The first book has a bonus romance story, unrelated to the main, called “The Sound You Make Is the Color of Autumn”. In it, a girl with particularly sensitive senses of smell and hearing sets her cap for a brusquely quiet boy. The second book’s bonus, “One-Way Ticket: The Future I Saw Once”, is a short piece about former classmates meeting and looking at what they wanted out of life and where they ended up.

If you’re looking for a quiet, pleasant afternoon’s reading, you can likely find used copies of these two volumes cheap. I’m glad I did.

5 Comments

  1. I’m glad I helped you discover this series! I also think your description—part Aishiteruze Baby, part Stellar Six, etc.—is quite apt.

  2. I like all three of the series you compared this too, so I’ll gladly purchase these two volumes. Also lately with so many other life responsibilities pulling me away from manga I’ve been trying to lean more towards self-contained shorter series. I’m at a point where in order to fully enjoy some of my longer series I should REALLY re-read them from the beginning and I just don’t have time for that anymore. Just last weekend I was unexpectedly surprised by the two volume series Beast Master, it wasn’t something revolutionary but I enjoyed it a lot more than I though I was going to. I was looking for a quick shoujo with characters that I could care about, and that fulfilled that need.

  3. I feel the same way. Sometimes, when I pick up a volume of a long series, even though I’ve been enjoying it, I feel like I need to do my homework (reread) to truly get the benefit of what’s going on and remember who everyone is. A short series makes for a nice temporary escape without too much commitment.

  4. LOL I picked up Vol. 4 of Kobato and didn’t know what was going on for a few pages, I didn’t remember enough of where Vol. 3 left off. And lets face it, that series has a pretty simple/stright forward plot.

    Also not to stray off topic but did you know that The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko ended in Japan and they started a new series featuring those characters and their high school life! Makes me hope the series will look more enticing to another US manga distributor to license.

  5. I would love to see more of that series in the U.S.!

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