Alphabetical Index of Viz Manga Reviews

Tokyo Boys & Girls Volume 1

Author Miki Aihara created the first manga I got involved with, Hot Gimmick, so I was a guaranteed customer for her next project, Tokyo Boys & Girls. This series doesn’t have the flair or uniqueness of that one, but it’s a decent read. Mimori is a cute fifteen-year-old entering high school and wishing for her first boyfriend. She’s spunky, standing up to teachers and trying to do the right thing regardless of what people think. She quickly becomes friends with […]

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Hot Gimmick Volumes 1-12

Hot Gimmick by Miki Aihara is the manga that made me a devoted proponent of the format. At the time, it was exactly what I was looking for — a girl-centered story that emphasizes emotion and character development, with fascinating plot twists and clear, expressive art. Unfortunately, the treatment of the characters and the end of the series are so disappointing as to erase the enjoyment of the beginning, and now I recommend people avoid it. The protagonist, Hatsumi, is […]

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Hana-Kimi

This modern comedy of gender roles by Hisaya Nakajo, subtitled For You in Full Blossom, is populated with androgynously cute teenagers sporting beautiful faces framed with sprays of bangs. Mizuki has returned to Japan to pursue her dreams, even if it means pretending to be a boy. She’d been living in America, but after seeing Izumi Sano compete in the high jump, she developed a crush on him. Now she’s attending the same boys’ school he does. Her outspoken, “foreign” […]

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Imadoki!

Yû Watase is best known for her two fantasy series, Fushigi Yûgi and Ceres: Celestial Legend. Although it takes place in a more normal school setting, Imadoki! (Nowadays) still has quite a fairy tale air about it. Tanpopo is so eager to check out her new Tokyo school that she jumps her bike over the gate, crash-landing into a boy tending a dandelion. In contrast to her outgoing energy, he’s reserved but caring, bandaging her injury the same way he […]

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Sensual Phrase

I’ve read manga aimed at more mature female audiences before, women (josei) instead of girls (shôjo), but none of it hit me quite this passionately. Sensual Phrase by Mayu Shinjo combines the things I like best about both shôjo (stories about love, searching for meaning in life’s choices, and figuring out what kind of person you’re going to grow into) and josei (real-world conflicts, like not being taken seriously at your work because of your appearance and balancing work demands […]

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Maison Ikkoku

Maison Ikkoku is a classic romantic comedy. Rumiko Takahashi presents a motley group of housemates in a funny farce, complete with frequently slamming doors and mistaken identities. The inhabitants include Godai, a failing student; Akemi, a brazen barmaid who wanders around in her negligee; and Mrs. Ichinose, a tipsy gossip. When the new manager, an attractive young woman named Kyoko, shows up, Godai quickly develops a crush on her. The others tease him unmercifully, preventing their relationship from developing, when […]

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Kare First Love Volume 1

Kare First Love, a manga romance series by Kaho Miyasaka, is a Harlequin-like fairy tale for teenagers. The geeky Karin is considered ugly because she wears glasses. On her morning bus ride, the attractive and popular Kiriya notices her and wants to take her picture. Even though his friends tease him and insult her, he pursues her, even though she pushes him away out of fear. Karin’s a confused young girl who always jumps to the wrong conclusion. If a […]

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Crimson Hero Volume 1

Sampling works. I never would have expected to enjoy this sports manga about a teen tomboy, but I read the first chapter of Crimson Hero in Shojo Beat magazine, and it had immediate appeal, based on the single-minded dedication of the heroine. At the age of 15, Nobara has come to an acceptance that she’s never going to be a proper young woman. As the oldest daughter, she’s supposed to become the old-fashioned hostess of the family restaurant, but her […]

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