Artist: Makino Kazuko 牧野和子/ Writer: Gotou Yukio 後藤ゆきお
Description: Momoko is one of the brightest students at school, but the school is a bit overrun by delinquents from a motorcycle gang. In fact, the person who has the next desk has never come to class. Then one day she gets the upper hand on one of these bikers and they actually strike up a bit of a friendship, with the potential for more. Of course, it turns out that he’s the leader of the bike gang, and the student in the next seat who has been missing this entire year… (From Animeraider)
If you like Grease, don’t mind an 80’s old-school artwork, and are looking for some shoujo to read, then perhaps you would be interested in Highteen Boogie.
Warning: This is going to be a LONG review. Please be warned : )
Sho, the leader of Bōsōzoku, Skeleton, fell in love with Momoko after their first encounter. Momoko was an orphan who lived with her aunt and the two cousins.
Despite Sho’s all efforts in winning her affections, Momoko kept on ignoring him, disliking anything associated with Bōsōzoku. Until one day, in the hope of turning Sho away, Momoko finally “agreed” to go out with him, but not without some terms and conditions – Sho must leave Skeleton, return back to school as a normal high school student, and get rid of that “ridiculous” (Grease-alike) hairstyle!… and so he did, much to Momoko’s surprise ^^
Momoko finally went out with Sho, just as she promised. Meanwhile, Skeleton members were not pleased with their leader being “stolen away” by some ordinary school girl. Miki, Skeleton’s second-in-command who also fancied Sho, orchestrated a gang rape on Momoko.
One day, on her way home from school, Momoko was reflecting on those “silly” moments of Sho and her together. Just as Momoko started to realise her growing feelings for Sho, someone suddenly grabbed her from behind and sedated her…..
It wasalready too late by the time Sho discovered Miki’s plan on Momoko. In that rainy (??? ehhh.. I need to go back and check this one) evening, Sho found Momoko lying unconscious in a warehouse. She was naked in front of the Skeleton gang, one of them Shige Narumi, who was once Sho’s best buddy.
Momoko regained conscious, believing it was Sho who raped her. Sho remained silent as Momoko accused him for the crime he did not commit. Knowing Momoko would be hurt deeply by the truth, Sho decided to protect her away from the truth, forever…
And then….. well, there were twists happened here and there (e.g. Momoko’s cousin tried to rape her, which led to her being driven away from home by her aunt, etc)… Eventually, both Sho and Momoko left school and started living together.
Sho was actually from a rich family. His dad has cut off Sho’s financial-tie, in the hope of forcing Sho to face up to reality, leave Momoko and return home (tsk tsk tsk…. typical typical! and of course we know what would happen – Sho, being so deeply in love with Momoko, would not and could not leave her even by an inch……etc ^^)
By chance, Sho’s talent of being a rock singer was discovered; he started to sing in the bar for living. The pair was living happily “ever after”……….
Until one day, Momoko found out she was pregnant.
Learning of her pregnancy, Sho was in rage and despair. Remembering what happened in that unforgettable night, Sho knew it was the child of Shige and begged Momoko for an abortion. Confused and hurt by Sho’s suggestion, Momoko refused. He then lost his rage, hit her hard on the face, shouted “GET RID OF IT!” and ran away.
Sho was in despair because he could never tell Momoko the truth, that he was not the real father of her child…. and yet, he has already hurt her by what he just did…..
Anyway, Sho did finally manage to confront his demons. Just as Sho and Momoko prepared for the arrival of THEIR child, Shige has also learned of Momoko’s pregnancy….. Unkown to both Sho and Momoko, Shige has been paying a lot of attention to Momoko ever since that night… The raping and her pregnancy has somehow given him a different perspective in life….
The next 10 remaining volumes or so was mainly about Sho’s singing career and ups and downs (and of course not without mentioning Sho’s absolutely crazy-but-very-sweet-&-tender devotion to Momoko ^^). But most of all, would Momoko found out the truth about her child? and what would happen to Shige and Miki in the end? Also, Sho was about to discover Momoko’s background and the tragedy behind the death of her parents……
I LOVE HIGHTEEN BOOGIE!
This is a great 80’s shoujo manga but without the usual cliche shoujo storyline, if you know what I mean. Its mangaka, Makino Kazuko is married to Gotou Yukio, who is also the writer of this and many other of her work – a fantastic partnership that came up with a great combination of storyline and artwork : )
There were elements of romance and sweetness in Highteen Boogie, which I absolutely adore. Yes, it was Sho’s absolute devotion to Momoko that has drawn me so deeply into this manga; his reactions to Momoko sometimes comedic, sometimes heartbreaking but always heartwarming. His deep devotion was especially shown in the last chapter after [spoiler] the Momoko’s sudden death… He took their child with him, and left Japan. His singing career took off and continued to be successful, especially after he made his music based on the memory of Momoko. The author expressed her hope for Sho in the last sentence of the chapter, which reads, “(the author) hope that someday, Sho will be able to find someone who would love him as much as Momoko did…. I would like to hope for the best for Sho too. But hey, afterall, this is a shoujo manga ^^. So, in a perfect-shoujo-kind-of-way, I imagine Sho would continue dedicating his life, his soul, to music, as he turned his love for Momoko into music. There could have been someone else who would love him as much as, or may be even more than Momoko did. But for Sho, Momoko was the only one…..
Highteen Boogie could have been “just a piece of shoujo” with mushy-romance all over. But instead, it has a capturing storyline beyond the shoujo-romance; it was a story that dealt with romance, friendship, rape, betrayal, dreams vs reality, parenthood, death, love, and etc….altogether. All in all, the 26 volumes of Highteen Boogie contain a full pack of “seishun” elements, which I could loudly say, I love Highteen Boogie! I wish I could read a a translated copy so that I could appreciate each line of it even more for what it is deserved! It is altogether 26 volumes… and I could hardly refrain myself from not wanting to read it all in one go, and again… and again!
NB. Shige’s character grew stronger and stronger after each volume – wish there were more of him in Highteen Boogie ^^
On a minor note…
Just like any typical (80’s) shoujo, there were some “miracles” (aka exaggerations!) in Highteen Boogie too. Enter a scene where Momoko stood in a quiet remote corner at the harbour to see him off. The cruise ship already sailed off but of course as expected, Sho would “miraculously” spotted Momoko from afar, jumped off and swam to Momoko…. (ehem. yeah right!).
Highteen Boogie has been chosen by the editors in Japan as one of the best shoujo under the seishun category. (*based on the Editors Preview(?) 編集会議, April 2003… note the question mark.) It was so popular that a movie version was made in 1982 – Sho was casted by Machi (or Masahiko Kondo) and Shiege, Toshihiko Tahara, i.e. the two biggest heart throbs in Asia at THAT time.
ハイティーン・ブギ ★Highteen Boogie (cover)
Kondo Masahiko – Momoko