Manga! Manga! (Kare Kano 3, Kitchen Princess)


Before, I didn’t really read manga, because the multiple book format makes it hard to collect. I like reading series books in order and from start to finish, and with manga, it’s hard to complete a set because they’re expensive to buy brand new and at full price, and difficult to find at bargain stores or on BookMooch.

But recently I’ve been drawn to some titles based on their storyline, and I really enjoy comical manga humor, so I’ve started to read them in the past couple of years or so, hunting down bargain copies at National Book Store and scouring the manga selection at Book Sale and on BookMooch.

The upside is that if you really can’t wait to find out what happens next, and if the series you’re reading isn’t a brand new release, you can usually read it online, on websites such as 9Panels, or onemanga.

Some manga series are adapted to Western book formats, but most use the authentic manga format,  read top to bottom and right to left. It’s interesting, because having been raised and educated in a Westernized Asian country such as the  Philippines, I  automatically read from left to right. I  initially had trouble reading manga panels, but I believe I’ve been getting the hang of it now, although every once in a while I tend to lapse into left to right reading when I get caught up in the story.

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Kare Kano Marathon

I like reading manga series when I can read them from the first volume. Luckily, I was able to mooch books 1, 2, and 4 of Kare Kano: His and Her Circumstances by Masami Tsuda from local moocher Cizi (books # 77-79 of 2009) and I’ve got book 3 on its way from the Netherlands.
Kare Kano is a romantic comedy featuring the seemingly perfect Yukino Miyazawa and her school rival Soichiro Arima. 

Yukino is the #1 student in her high school, and is admired for her beauty, talent, and intelligence. But beneath the perfect façade, Yukino is a control freak playing a part, as she is a brat and a slob at home, studying obsessively to keep up her grades.

When she enters high school, the new student Soichiro shows up and gives her a run for her money. The perfect façade cracks, and Yukino plots to take him down and regain the attention of her peers, but she didn’t plan on falling in love with him in the process.

Yukino has more in common with Soichiro than she thinks, because Soichiro is keeping up the perfect façade to prove to himself and his adoptive parents that he did not get his birth parents’ bad genes.

As Yukino and Soichiro get to know each other and their relationship blossoms, they both learn to loosen up and be true to themselves.

Kare Kano is a he said – she said story, with chapters alternating between Yukino and Soichiro. It is one of the first series released by Tokyopop, an English-language manga publishing company that is fast becoming a favorite of mine.It has also been adapted into an anime series, although I have yet to watch it.

I like the character of Yukino, specifically because she reminds me a lot of myself back in school. Back then, I was always in the honors class, and I understand her need to keep up appearances to live up to other people’s expectations.

I also like the character of Soichiro, because I am such a sucker for overachievers and I really don’t blame Yukino for falling for him.

The chemistry between them is good, and the story gets pretty funny, especially when new characters, like the hunky Hideaki (book 2) and little Tsubasa (book 4) are introduced. There are also nice little moments like Yukino working up the courage to tell Soichiro she loves him, the first time they hold hands, the first date, the first hug, the first kiss. It’s a bit nostalgic for me, because I remember one particular person in my life, but hehe, that’s another story.

I also like the little notes in the margins left behind by Masami Tsuda, as well as the Tsuda diary section at the back of the book because it gives great insight into her creative process, and gives a better understanding of the context of some cultural nuances, like Japanese school uniforms, or references to Japanese novels.

I can’t wait to read more of this series. Hopefully they’ll turn up on BookMooch.

My copy: Books 1, 2, and 4 in paperback, local mooch

My rating: Book 1, 2, and 4: 4/5 stars