Kimi ni Todoke Vol.3 by Karuho Shiina: review

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Volume 3Kimi ni Todoke Vol.3 by Karuho Shiina

Series: Kimi ni Todoke #3

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Shojo, Slice-Of-Life, Romance

Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

Release Date: February 2nd 2010

Synopsis: (from Goodreads) Will the curse of Sadako leave her friendless for life? R to L (Japanese Style). Sadako’s dreams come true when she finally becomes friends with her classmates, instead of scaring them off. She even gets friendly with the cutest girl in school, Kurumi. But will this innocent friendship with Kurumi make Sadako realize that her feelings for Kazehaya are more than just friendly? Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie. With her jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, she’s often mistaken for Sadako, the haunting movie character. Unbeknownst to but a few, behind her scary faÇade is a very misunderstood teenager. Shy and pure of heart, she just wants to make friends. But when Kazehaya, the most popular boy in class, befriends her, she’s sure to make more than just that—she’s about to make some enemies too!

My Thoughts:

Volume three is another great addition to a great series! Kimi ni Todoke is starting to become my favorite shojo manga series, and for some good reasons. It’s fun, meaningful, and shows what it’s like to develop friendships with the people around you. It also doesn’t hurt that Sawako is absolutely adorable… Even though she does have some really, really scary faces.

But seriously… Sawako is adorable 90% of the time. 😛

This volume focuses more on Sawako’s developing feelings toward Kazehaya and if Kazehaya feels the same way. It is pretty obvious that they both like each other, but they are just to shy and afraid to take that next step. Sawako isn’t to bothered by this since she is just happy to have friends. That is, until Sawako creates a friendship with a girl called Kurumi who is pretty, popular, nice to all, and just happens to have a seemingly good relationship with Kazehaya.

Sawako is happy and flattered that Kurumi decided to become friends with her, but this new friendship causes her to doubt her relationship is Kazehaya since she notices that she can’t initiate the easy conversations with Kazehaya that Kurumi is able to do.

Now this might seem like a story that is used a lot in shojo manga, but the mangaka executes in such a refreshing way that I never got bored! I didn’t even roll my eyes when Kurumi showed some hints of becoming the “mean girl” that is oh so common in the shojo genre.

Shiina is amazing at showing Sawako’s feelings about what is happening and I love the fact that this mangaka seems to know what she’s doing when it comes to developing relationships-even if it means that there must be the awkward, not-very-desirable phase that is very common when two people want to become more than friends.

And let us not forget the ultra witty dialogue that this volume contains. I giggled many times during reading this and I am sure you will, too. Unless I have a very bad sense of humor, but whatever.

I would have never guessed how the volume ended. It is impressive and it made me very excited for my next trip to the bookstore to see what happens next. It will be a long time until I tire of this series–if i even do tire of it.

 

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Kimi ni Todoke Vol.2 by Karuho Shiina: review

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Volume 2 Kimi ni Todoke Vol.2 by Karuho Shiina

Series: Kimi ni Todoke #2

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Shojo, Slice-Of-Life, Romance

Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

Release Date: October 6th 2009

Synopsis: Will the curse of Sadako leave her friendless for life? R to L (Japanese Style). Sadako’s chance to become friends with Yano and Yoshida is about to go down the drain when rumors start flying that Yano’s been around the block and Yoshida’s a former gang member. And the source of all this tattle? Sadako herself! Will Sadako retreat to her former life as a loner because of a simple misunderstanding?! Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie. With her jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, she’s often mistaken for Sadako, the haunting movie character. Unbeknownst to but a few, behind her scary façade is a very misunderstood teenager. Shy and pure of heart, she just wants to make friends. But when Kazehaya, the most popular boy in class, befriends her, she’s sure to make more than just that—she’s about to make some enemies too!

My Thoughts: 

I don’t know how many times my eyes watered, but I do know that they watered a lot–from both sadness and happiness. I have learned that the Kimi ni Todoke series has a heartwarming story about first love and friendships and knowing about what you want. This is a series that will make you smile…and sometimes it will have your heart shattering into a million pieces from emotion.

So much happens in this volume but all of it focuses on one thing: the importance of friendship. This is why I like this manga. It not only has a bit of sweet romance but it also has friendship in it. You don’t see that in a lot of shojo manga.

Sawako’s friendship with Yano and Yoshida is challenged by a lot in this volume. The rumors, Sawako’s low self-esteem, and her tendency to not care what she wants as a person are all things that get in the way with that. I read this volume without stopping because I wanted to see what happened to Sawako and her friendship with Yano and Yoshida.

There were a lot of sad moments in this one little volume which surprised me greatly. Some moments had my eyes watering so much that they started forming into droplets of tears! I just felt so sad for Sawako and the situation she was in. I am starting to feel like Sawako is a best friend of mine. This only made reading this all the more painful. But there are some really inspiration moments. And then there are some moments that were just plain funny.

Sawako develops a lot as a character volume two. She promises herself to think more about herself and I am proud of her for that. She is also starting to stand up against people when they are being mean to her friends. Sure, she is still a sweet girl who makes study notes for everyone in her class but she is becoming a stronger person.

All in all, this manga is still going strong. It is heartwarming and I can’t get enough of it! I also want to spend more time with Sawako 🙂

Nineteen, Twenty-One by Hye Jin Kim, Na Che, Han Yu: review

Nineteen, Twenty-One by Hye Jin Kim (Art), Na Che (Art), Han Yu (Story)

Standalone

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Romance, Slice-of-Life, Shojo

Release Date: 2010

Synopsis: Yun-lee is a girl who is carrying a huge emotional scar in her heart. Due to an accident, she lost 2 precious years of her life, the time period between 19 and 21 years old. Her life is empty. She is miserable, but still attending a preparatory school in an attempt to catch up with all the time she has lost. Suddenly, one day on her way to feed some stray cats, she comes across a young man who seems to have what she has lost… the period between 19 and 21 years old.

My thoughts: Nineteen, Twenty-One is a beautiful story. This was my first manhwa (a Korean comic) and I am glad that I had such a great introduction to manhwa. Nineteen, Twenty-One is not licensed in english yet but you can still read fan translations here. With a sweet story by “John” and the gorgeous art by “Jenny” this manhwa is most certainly worth the read. Everyone will be able to find something they like in Nineteen, Twenty-One.

Yun-lee is a girl who has experienced a terrible car crash, leaving her in a coma for a year. She is almost twenty-one now and she has lost a whole year of life. She has missed out on the days where one can be a child and carefree. Now she is an adult. People her age are unfamiliar to her and she can’t connect with them. Yun-lee is absolutely miserable. But there is something that she finds solace in. Cats. She loves them. She uses the money she needs to buy lunch in order to feed them cat food everyday.

One day Yun-lee comes meets a nineteen year-old boy named Ju Dong-hwi who also has a love for cats. Yun-lee thinks he is a bit weird but becomes good friends with him. Dong-hwi helps her feel like she is living the year that she has missed.

Nineteen, Twenty-One is not just a love story but a story about two people finding their places and what they want in life. This manhwa is full of meaning and even the cats are a metaphor. That isn’t to say that Nineteen, Twenty-One is not a cute love story though. The interactions between Yun-lee (a.k.a. Nuna) and Dong-hwi were always sweet and rather humourous at times. Their different personalities contrast greatly. Yun-lee is very quiet and a little bit shy awhile Dong-hwi is loud and childish but this only enhances my enjoyment of their interactions. A lot of them made me smile and some of them just made me LOL.

There are also many lessons in this story. Try to understanding your enemies, have compassion for others, help out when you are needed, and other important things. The messages aren’t blatantly thrown at you but rather told in a very subtle way. This manhwa requires the reader to pay attention to the way the characters act in order to see the messages.

I will also say that I think that this manhwa would be perfect for cat lovers or just regular pet lovers. There are a lot of cats. And even though they are a metaphor in this story they are still really, really, really cute.

I really loved Nineteen, Twenty-One and I believe it would be loved not just by pet-lovers but by many other people. It’s a really fun, cute read and I can’t recommend this enough!

Kimi ni Todoke Vol.1 by Karuho Shiina: review

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Volume 1 Kimi ni Todoke Vol.1 by Karuho Shiina

Series: Kimi ni Todoke #1

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Romance, Slice-of-Life, Shojo

Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

Release Date: August 4th 2009

Synopsis: Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie. With her jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, she’s often mistaken for Sadako, the haunting character from Ringu. Unbeknownst to but a few, behind her scary façade is a very misunderstood teenager. Shy and pure of heart, she just wants to make friends. But when Kazehaya, the most popular boy in class, befriends her, she’s sure to make more than just that–she’s about to make some enemies too!

My thoughts: I really didn’t know what to expect when going into this manga. I have heard a little about the main focus of the story but not much else. I would say that the first volume has left me impressed!

Sawako is a girl who has trouble interacting with others. Despite this, however, she is a very sweet girl and is eager to help out. If only her classmates would ignore the fact that she looks like a girl in a horror movie. Her appearance strikes fear into the hearts of her classamates. This causes her to become a social outcast. One day the popular Kazehaya becomes Sawako’s friend. Because of this, Sawako is finally able to open up to others.

My heart went out to Sawako. Her self-esteem has been horribly damaged by the bullying she has been through. Sawako is afraid to afraid to open up to others as she is under the belief that everybody hates her. As the reader of the story, I was able to see that Sawako is really just a shy but sweet girl who has been through a lot. I found her to be a painfully realistic character and she had a lot of depth to her.

Kazehaya could have easily been one of those characters that are as flat as cardboard but he wasn’t. He was realistic and very likeable. He is a very popular kid but he still gets embarrassed and shy. He is a very positive influence on Sawako and helps her reach out to others and make friends.

I loved reading about Sawako and Kazehaya’s friendship. It was realistic with all the awkward moments, fun times, and the positive feelings that friends should be able to give each other. Kazehaya does have a crush on Sawako but Sawako sees him as more of an older brother. This will probably change as the series progresses.

Kimi ni Todoke is a refreshing manga that focuses on the power of friendship and I enjoyed it immensely. I would recommend it this anyone who wants a realistic but also cute read.

Kitchen Princess Vol. 2 by Natsumi Ando, Miyuki Kobayashi: review

Kitchen Princess, Volume 2Kitchen Princess Vol. 2 by Natsumi Ando, Miyuki Kobayashi

Series: Kitchen Princess #2

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Shojo, Slice-of-Life, Romance

Publisher: Del Ray

Synopsis: Najika has a special gift. She’s a marvelous cook whose food awakens people’s fondest memories and feelings of affection. Now she’s attending the prestigious Seika Academy, where she hopes to find her “prince,” the boy who saved her when she was a little girl. One big problem: It seems that nobody wants her at the college–except two cute brothers, Sora and Daichi, who befriend her right away. But the super-popular teen model Akane will do anything to drive Najika out of the school, even if it means staging a cooking contest with an award-winning chef as Najika’s opponent. Will Najika’s magical food warm Akane’s cold heart?

*Beware of spoilers

My thoughts: I was very surprised with this volume. Although the volume is still pretty cute it is revealed that Akane the mean girl has an eating disorder. I  think that it was handled well. Najika is able to help the girl by making her eat a food that she has a strong emotional attachment to. I don’t think that it was very realistic but it fits in with the manga’s theme: something made lovingly is good for the soul. Seeing as this manga is about cooking I think that putting in pictures and gifs of food in this review will be very fitting.

chichiwho:My kind of cookie

I thought that it was really nice that the authors of the manga decided to give Akane some personality and depth to her character. Although she is not being completely nice to Najika she is at least being civil towards her now. I believe that if Akane puts aside her jealousy of Najika that the two girls would become good friends.

I really like Akane’s ability. She has an absolute sense of taste which means that she can tell how a food was made by the taste of it and never forget the taste. I thought it was really clever and was a refreshing trait after reading about all those girls who are either “average” or have a strong superpower in manga and books.

There is a cooking contest involved in this volume and I enjoyed reading about the event. It was not what I would call suspensful as it is obvious who is going to win but it was fun.

I still love the cute art. I expecially love how Akane and Sora are drawn. The second volume of this manga is great and I am still loving the Kitchen Princess series. Seeing as Najika means rainbow I think a picture of a rainbow cake will be very fitting for the ending of this review.

stars-:sws, them, kellin

Kitchen Princess by Natsumi Ando, Miyuki Kobayashi: review

Kitchen Princess, Volume 1Kitchen Princess by Natsumi Ando(manga), Miyuki Kobayashi(story)

Series: Kitchen Princess #1

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Shojo, Slice-of-Life, Romance

Publisher: Del Ray

Synopsis: Najika is a great cook and likes to make meals for the people she loves. But something is missing from her life. When she was a child, she met a boy who touched her heart–and now Najika is determined to find him. The only clue she has is a silver spoon that leads her to the prestigious Seika Academy.

Attending Seika will be a challenge. Every kid at the school has a special talent, and the girls in Najika’s class think she doesn’t deserve to be there. But Sora and Daichi, two popular brothers who barely speak to each other, recognize Najika’s cooking for what it is–magical. Is either boy Najika’s mysterious prince

My thoughts: This manga was so cute! I love how the manga includes cooking. I got this manga because the cover seemed so cute and the synopsis made the story seem pretty cute also. This manga just screams out cuteness! There are also recipes at the end of every volume of the foods that Najika makes!

I loved Najika! She reminded me a lot of Tohru Honda from the manga, Fruits Basket. She shares almost the exact same personality. She is sweet, always wants to help, selfless, and never gives up. She does have her moments where you can tell that things are tough for her. Her passion for cooking is very admirable. Sora and Daichi are the two boys that Najika thinks might be her prince. I can’t guess which one it is. Both of the boys have their redeeming qualities although I am leaning towards Sora. I wonder what made the two brothers dislike each other so much. There is a mean girl, named Akane in this manga but I think there is something we don’t know about her.

The story is very sweet and simple. Najika goes to a special academy to find her prince. There is a whole lot of cooking involved to! This story is about all the characters and I do like it so far. All the characters are likeable…well except for Akane and her two annoying and hateful followers(another similarity to Fruits Basket).

The art is really pretty and cute! I loved the all the characters were drawn and the backgrounds were good to. I absolutely hate it when a manga has next to no backgrounds. I always drop manga like that. The art is good to look at and I flipped through the pages after reading it just to stare at the pretty pictures.

Kitchen Princess is a really cute story and I enjoyed it a lot! I found the story to be a very sweet one and I will definitely read the next volume.

Kobato Vol.2 by CLAMP: review

 Kobato, Volume 2Volume 2 by CLAMP

Series: Kobato #2

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Shojo, Fantasy, Humour

Publisher: Yen Press(english)

Synopsis: Now that cheerful, clumsy, and often clueless Kobato has her magic bottle, all she has to do is fill it up with the sorrows of wounded hearts to realize her one greatest wish. The only problem is Kobato doesn’t have any idea how to cure one wounded heart, let alone a whole bottleful! Still learning about the world under Ioryogi-san’s instruction (read: browbeating), Kobato starts out by offering a helping hand to Sayaka-sensei, the director of a kindergarten that’s fallen on hard times. Can Kobato’s limitless cheer break through the dark shadows that surround the fate of the center? And at the end of the day, will she be any closer to filling up the magic bottle?

My thoughts: This volume had a little more substance then the last one now that Kobato has her “bottle”. Kobato volunteers to work at the Yomogi kindergarten which is owned by Sayaka Okiura.  Fujimoto, a man Kobato meets in the first volume also happens to work there. They do not get along very well. All seems well and happy until a loan shark tells Kobato that Sayaka better pay up the money she owes.

I really liked this volume because Kobato is able to fill up the bottle a bit making her closer in getting her wish. There was also more plot in this volume. Instead of Kobato wandering around town trying to help people out there is a big problem in volume two. Kobato must help Sayaka pay her debt so the kindergarten will be able to stay in business.

There is some character development in Fujimoto. At first he seems like a bit of a jerk but it is slowly revealed that he really cares for Sayaka and the kindergarten and wants to help out. Although Kobato and him don’t get along very well she does mention that she thinks that he has “a scar on his heart”. I want to learn more about him. Sayaka seems like a really nice woman and I do hope that everything will go well for her. It is mentioned that someone had hurt her in the past so I am curious about that. The loan shark is always smiling…and smoking.

The art is still beautiful and bubbly. I really love all of Kobato’s outfits. They are a bit weird but they are pretty nevertheless.

I don’t think this is a five-star manga yet although I am familiar with CLAMP’s other works and they are all amazing so I have high hopes for this series.

Kobato Vol.1 by CLAMP: review

Kobato, Volume 1

Kobato Vol.1by CLAMP

Series: Kobato #1

Genre: Shojo, Fantasy, Humour

Publishers: Yen Press(english)

Synopsis: Meet Kobato Hanato, a sweet and rather simple young girl on a quest to have her single, dearest wish granted. But first, she must learn the ways of the world from Ioryogi-san, a gruff blue dog whose bark is just as bad as his bite! Under his “tutelage” (read: constant verbal abuse), Kobato puts her efforts into passing various trials of common sense so that she may obtain the key to getting her wish-a magic bottle which must be filled with the suffering of wounded hearts that Kobato herself has healed. But with Kobato’s common sense sorely lacking, she keeps flunking Ioryogi-san’s trials left and right! It looks like the road that lies ahead of Kobato will be a long one indeed!

I have read some of CLAMP’s works and I loved them all so when I found about Kobato I immediately went out to buy it. Kobato did make me smile and laugh but I was expecting a bit more from it.

Kobato and Ioryogi were both very quirky and loveable characters. Kobato was…dumb and silly but still very loveable. She is like a really stupid kitty-stupid but really cute and loveable. She is very kind-hearted and always wants to help people in need…although sometimes she just makes more trouble. The manga is mostly centered around Kobato learning more about the world around her(we do not know her origin) and trying to help people in order to obtain and fill up the “bottle”. She wants to fill this bottle so her wish will be granted. Ioryogi has a very hot temper. Literally. He breathes fire. Even though he does verbally abuse Kobato you can tell he still cares for her. I guess he is the tough love kind of person. There is no romance between the two, just to let you know. Kobato and Ioryogi’s relationship is one of two friends…kind of.

Ioryogi-san

The story is pretty peaceful for the most part. Kobato is a very cute character that put a smile on my face. Her adventures with Ioryogi around town were very funny. I really want to know more about Kobato’s origins because she is surely not from Earth. I also want to learn more about Ioryogi and what awful thing he did in order to deserve such a punishment: being turned into a plush doll and sent to Earth.

I could describe the art in this manga with four words: simply and utterly beautiful. CLAMP’s artwork is detailed, pretty, cute, and fun all at the same time. Kobato and all the other characters are beautifully drawn. Sometimes I would stare at just one panel for a little while because the art was just so darn good. If you are familiar with CLAMP’s other works you will spot some characters that look very similar with the characters from them.

Kobato was a very cute and silly read and I look forward to the future volumes but I do think there could had been more story to it…

I give Kobato 3.5 out of 5 Bottles