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Sep 14, 2021
Preliminary
I'm personally of two minds about Skip Beat. On one hand, I adore the protagonist, Kyoko, who's very vibrant, entertaining, and pretty unique. I love the initial set up of her becoming a rage beast and seeking (a mostly harmless) revenge on her sort-of-ex, Sho, for his having used her to be a maid that also provides free room and board. Revenge manga can easily be screwed up by making the protagonist too much of a bad person, but the author generally strikes just the right balance of providing good reason for Kyoko's righteous rage without it being too awful, and making sure Kyoko read more
May 13, 2021
Preliminary
I found 31 Ai Dream to be rather disappointing. I've seen these types of middle aged person re-living their youth fantasies before, and often I find them awkward because they don't hold up from the standpoint of an older person, often because they feature a romance between the secretly older protagonist and an unwitting teen. Because let's face it, as the author herself admitted, to a 31-year-old a 15-year-old seems like a child. At first I came away with the impression that this one wasn't going to be like that, as despite what any of the other characters might feel, she didn't seem romantically interested read more
May 3, 2021
Preliminary
You've probably already pieced together that Takane no Ran-San is yet another sweet, sugary shoujo romance set in high school. I think this one is better than the average, primarily on merit of its characters, which are fleshed out and unique enough that they don't completely disappear into the crowd of the hundreds of manga that come before it. Though there's really isn't any story beyond the romance, and the other characters aren't very well developed, as is generally par for the course, but Saeki and Ran's interactions were sweet and interesting enough to keep me engaged.

There's a trend now in shoujo that instead of read more
Mar 30, 2021
Night of the Beasts is about a spunky girl named Aria who meets a guy named Sakura who is possessed a demon. Aria gets caught up in his plight, and is eventually forced to fight the demon in order to save him. Though this is shoujo, this is very much in the action genre, with a dark fantasy/supernatural type of plot and quite a lot of blood and violence. If you're familiar, this manga feels to me like it's trying to be in the style of X/1999 by CLAMP.

I found the story interesting enough, though for the type of story it was trying read more
Mar 21, 2021
Preliminary
Only read Akuma to Love Song if you like over-the-top melodrama.

On the positive side, it starts off pretty strong by daring to be different. Rather than the typical nice but insecure protagonist, Maria Kawai is so blunt and abrasive she's described as having an "acid tongue." Rather than the usual romance, the first half mostly focuses on Maria's interactions with her class. Of course she ends up making a lot of people mad at her, but eventually she manages to make them understand her in her own way. It gets pretty melodramatic at times, especially with its depiction of their teacher who's beyond read more
Mar 6, 2021
Preliminary
It has nice art, but the writing is very unoriginal and tropey. The set up is yet another shoujo protagonist is made homeless due to a sudden emergency, so she ends up living secretly in some place where she comes in frequent contact with hot boys she wouldn't normally interact with.

The hot boys in question are frequently used character types too. One is the "sadist" in the Japanese sense of the word -- that is he likes being a little mean and ordering the protagonist around just to see her squirm. The other is the mothering type -- the protagonist is so incapable that he read more
Mar 5, 2021
Preliminary
I love stories about going back in time to fix your past mistakes, and I love shoujo, so I was thrilled to discover Katayoku no Labyrinth (also transliterated as "Henyoku no Labyrinth" as the Kanji out can be read either way.) But honestly I found this one a little disappointing.
Admittedly, it could be because I'm comparing it to other media of this type that I found really great such as Steins;Gate, Again!!!, and Orange. But I also feel like it's a legitimate criticism that with Katayoku no Labyrinth, the writing just lacks that something that could make it truly great.

It's hard to read more
Mar 4, 2021
Preliminary
Based on a light novel, set in a fantasy world vaguely based on British nobility (as is super common these days), once again with a stupidly long title explaining the whole premise. This time it's that the protagonist named Viola is from a noble family saddled with debt, so she instantly agrees with Cersis's proposition to get married as part of a trade: her family gets bailed out, and she serves as cover for him to dally with his mistress unimpeded.

A lot of these types of manga just feel really bland and same-y, but I really enjoyed this one for character of Viola, and the read more
Feb 28, 2021
Preliminary
I've read a TON of shoujo by now, so I think it's safe to say Anagura Amélie is pretty unique. The basic story is familiar (unpopular high school girl starts dating the most popular boy in school) but the characters and the writing make it really fresh. I'm surprised this manga seems so undiscovered when it's legitimately unique and funny. The protagonist, Amélie, in particular is a character I don't think I've ever seen in shoujo, in many ways the complete opposite of a shoujo protagonist, but not in any of the usual ways that I've seen authors try to be different. She wears read more
Feb 26, 2021
Preliminary
Abe-kun's Got Me Now is about the titular Abe, a high school karate champion who's of course ripped, and his aggressive pursuit of his classmate Akari. This is the type of shoujo where the story is ultra thin and flimsy excuse for the fanservice du jour, which in this case seems to be abdominal muscles, and aggressive unwanted seduction.

Why is Abe so into Akari? Because they interacted all of one time. It's that ridiculously flimsy. When it comes to shoujo cliches, it has all the usual suspects lined up too: protecting her from harassers, kabe-don, hiding together in a futon. Even Akari's childhood friend read more