Modern Shojo: Narutaki’s Most Wanted Part 2

Last time, I discussed manga-ka and their libraries of work which I want more of in the U.S., but this time I sticking with individual titles. I’m tackling modern shojo titles that were released in the U.S. but did not get a complete release. It is so sad! I don’t hold out a lot of hope for these to see further release, but they are certainly ones I’d like to own all of in English if it were up to me.

Two Flowers for the Dragon

Now I know I said I’d focus on individual titles, but Nari Kusakawa is one of my favorite manga-ka. Three of her titles were licensed by CMX (oh lord, how I miss them!) and two made it to completion. Recipe for Gertrude and The Palette of 12 Secret Colors are absolutely worth picking up if you can find them.

Anyway, my favorite is Two Flowers for the Dragon and as luck would have it it was not finished. Perhaps more torturous is that it was so close! One book away from the end CMX closed up shop.

Two Flowers is a fantasy about an oasis kingdom ruled by people descendant from dragons. The current heir is bright and mischievous Shakuya who possesses magical abilities and also transforms into a dragon when under emotional strain. We join her in the story when a few things are occurring 1) her presumed-dead-for-five-years betrothed reappears, 2) a conspiracy against her kingdom arises, 3) and secrets about her family begin to emerge. This all leads to a great journey to uncover the truth.

Romance also plays a big role in the series. Shakuya already has a new fiance since her first was presumed dead. Each of her hands sports a flower tattoo symbolizing her betrothals. Because of her dragon blood they bloom based on her feelings and she has one year to figure out which one of her suitors is to be the one.

I desperately wish another publisher would jump on the Kusakawa bandwagon.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #139

I finished the last 4 episodes (9-12) of Sacred Seven today and I feel pretty good about the series. There are some series you watch that make you want to run out and tell everyone how wonderful they are. Then there are series that you enjoy and would recommend but are not that earth shattering. Sacred Seven is distinctly in that second category. But I had a fun time and that is always the most important thing for me. The fights were always vibrant, energetic, and well choreographed. We got a love story, a save my sister in a coma story, and a revenge turned to redemption story. We defeated a bad guy and there were some sad deaths but most everyone made it through. There was even a nice bit of falling action. In refection a bit of the mythology of the Sacred Seven world goes totally unexplained but it is mostly there to set up the story and the fights scenes. It is not like it leaves you with all these unanswered mysteries. It is just that it concentrates more on telling the current story than giving you all the mechanics of how the powers in this world work. With a 12 episode show that is probably for the best. I enjoyed my time with Alma and Ruri and would recommend the show to anyone who wants a bit of light self-contained fun that does not do anything original but does it in an entertaining fashion.

I read one of CMX’s last releases, Stolen Hearts vol. 2, which just made me miss them a lot and lament that this cute series will never be finished. Here we continue the story of Shinobu and Koguma as they further their relationship. Shinobu meets the rest of his family including three handsome brothers with less crazy hair. I really enjoyed her getting to know everyone more and there is a lot of humor thanks to it (the grandmother cracks me up!). I wasn’t crazy about the oldest brother crushing on her and messing with Koguma. But all is made well again when they go on a trip together and experience their first kiss. Stays fun and cute, plus it is nice to see a pair in a relationship.

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Spring is in the air!

I really enjoyed CMX’s recent release Stolen Hearts, a shojo romance that centers around a kimono store. The series also had coloring pages in the back, what a nice and fun surprise! What with the nice weather approaching and the upcoming Sakura Matsuri in Brooklyn, I got into the spirit by coloring a picture. I truly endorse more cute extras like this in manga volumes and suggest everyone check out Stolen Hearts!