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[MANGA TALK]

MONDEN Akiko (もんでんあきこ 門田晶子)

Monden made her debut with Tokai no Juhyō (都会の樹氷) in 1986. However, she is more widely known for her work in Ryū no Kesshō (竜の結晶) in the late 90’s. Following after the success of  Ryū no Kesshō , Monden started with her new work, Taiyō to tsuki no kakera (太陽と雪のかけら), which was later adapted into the noon-time TV Drama series in Japan.

Unlike many other shoujo mangakas, Monden’s works have been serialised in various manga magazines, which would probably explain the diversity of themes and styles in her stories. Nonetheless, her more popular series, such as Taiyō to tsuki no kakera and ICE AGE, were serialised in Chorus (of Shueisha Inc) which was catered mainly for the more mature female readers.

There is very little information I can find about this mangaka besides those mentioned above. So let’s just start with my very brief “reviews” here instead : )

My recommendations:

Angel no Kodō (エンジェルの鼓動, 1992) ★☆☆

Story: Kairi used to be a midwife nurse working for a large hospital in Tokyo. Being fed up with the hospital’s hierarchy politics, Kairi left and settled down in a small town of Sapporo and worked as a assistant nurse to a local doctor instead. Unknown to anyone, Kairi had been having a same dream every night for a very long time. By now, she was used to wake up in the morning with tears, as she dreamt her lover of pervious life from the Sengoku period died sadly in her embrace…. As she finally met Dr Daidouji, they found their destinies entwined, again.

I rated the series 3 stars out of 5. For more, please visit its [Manga Talk] here.

Ryū no Kesshō (竜の結晶, 1996–1999, Shūeisha) 

Cast: Kouryu (紅竜), Hakuryu (白竜), Elias (エリアス), 千堂寺 (Sendouji), Soryu (蒼竜)

Story: Tomomi (巴) left Hokkaido to stay with her relatives, the  Sendouji (千堂寺) family, during the course of her university study in Tokyo. The Sendouji is renowned locally for its karate dojo that was instructed by the four brothers.

Tomomi remembered  spending her childhood times playing together with the brothers when they were little…. As she met up with the brother again, things were quite different to how she had imagined it to be. For instance, Soryu (蒼竜), the third brother, was forever cold towards her, whilst Kouryu (紅竜), the second brother, always teased her and looked down on her.

Luckily for her, she managed to find comfort in Hakuryu (白竜), the youngest and most gentle brother who had just returned to the family after being away for a long time. But to everyone’s surprise, Hakuryu returned home with a toddler son without his wife. Increasingly, Tomomi found herself being attracted to Hakuryu (白竜), but was heart broken after finding out about his wife, whom died giving birth to their son and whom he still dearly loved until these days.

Meanwhile, Tomomi started practicing karate with the brothers in their dojo kun… She began to find interest and passion for martial arts, which later brought her to national Fighting Championships!

I rated the series 4 stars out of 5. To find out more, please visit its [Manga Talk] here.

Taiyō to tsuki no kakera (太陽と雪のかけら, 2000) 

Story: Told mostly in flashback, this is the tale of Serina, a young girl living in the snow country with her grandfather who discovers an injured young man out in the wilderness and brings him home to recover – and how their lives intertwine after that point… (From Baka-Updates)

More description in Japanese: 雪深い地方で陶芸家の祖父と2人で暮らす高校生の藤吉サリナは、幼い頃に母と死別し、父は誰かわからないと教えられ育ってきた。ある日、東京から祖父に弟子入りしたいという若者・松田涼が訪れ、弟子として住み込むようになり、サリナは涼に恋心を抱く。3年後、涼は突然、サリナの父が危篤なので自分と共に東京へ行ってほしいとサリナに告げる。彼女の父は財閥の高階グループのオーナーで、松田はサリナの様子を報告するよう父に頼まれた高階家の使用人だった。サリナは松田と共に東京に向かうが、わずかに間に合わず父は息をひきとっていた。父の死に実感を持てないまま高階家へと連れて行かれたサリナは、父の第三秘書のに「私の妻になる方」と告げられ唇を奪われる。そして、父方の祖母である高階ウンと会うが、人を見下した高圧的な態度に反発したサリナは涼と共に高階家を出て、サリナの高校時代の友人・メイが男と暮らすアパートに逃げ込む。涼から好きだと打ち明けられ、自分の思いが通じたとサリナは喜ぶが、それは涼が自分では気づかないまま義務として告げたものであり、その背景には高階家と松田の家族との因縁があった。このままではいけないと感じたサリナは、高階家との決着をつけるために、涼とともに再び高階家へと向かう。藤吉 サリナ (ふじよし さりな), 松田 涼 (まつだ りょう), 森崎 メイ (もりさき めい), 境 正克 (さかい まさかつ), 高階 (たかしな), 橋田 今日子 (はしだ きょうこ), 森崎 メイ (もりさき めい).

My say: In short, the story was so good (hence the 5 stars), that it was even adapted into TBS’s noon-time TV broadcast, “Love Theatre” series (愛の劇場) – for more, please visit: 『太陽と雪のかけら』

*NB: I tried to look up the meaning of  “かけら” and I found this: “.. in English word you are looking for may be “infatuation” or “puppy love” We also use the words “summer love” to describe this sort of thing. In a sense, it is cheap and tiny. It is temporary, and does not compare to real, enduring love. But using the words “cheap and tiny” does not mean that the people were somehow bad people, it’s just the quality of the love isn’t as great as when people have known each other for awhile…..

I guess the title can be translated as “Infatuation of Sun and Snow”? or “Memory pieces of the sun and snow”…. the sun and snow refer to the two main characters, Serina and Ryo.

P.D. Agency no hōkoku shō (P.D.エージェンシーの報告書, 2001–2002) ☆☆

Story: Ichinose Kaname, 22 years old and graduating Psychology, makes her brother’s detective agency her preferred career choice. But that’s a world of sly dogs and old troopers. Will the newbie female detective Kaname manage to get her footing in it? And what part will her new supervisor, Uesugi Shinya play? (From Baka-Updates)

My say: Did not like it as much as the others before. Ok to read as pass time. Artwork is great though. Rating 3 stars out of 5 on this one.

Himitsu × Himitsu (秘密×秘密, 2003–2004) 

Story: Definitely not suitable for readers under 18 years, Himitsu x Himitsu is a collection of short stories involving many different kinds of couples… and their sexlife. Their everyday life situations are told in an extremely hilarious way, it’s a fun read. (From Baka-updates)

My say: The best smut josei and crackingly funny! Will definitely do a [Manga Talk] on it when I get the chance to! :))))


Others

– not read them yet, but looks equally interesting! Dying to get my hand on them!

Ange – Jiraigen no tenshi (ANGE 地雷原の, 2001)

ジャンル分けするのであれば、戦争・紛争モノのマンガであり、作者もんでんさんの強い反戦メッセージが込められていま天使す。 掲載されているのは、表題の「ANGE(アンジェ)~地雷原の天使~」と、「KOSOVO(コソボ)~浄化の大地~」の2編。 いずれもヤングアニマル誌にて、1999~2001年にかけて連載されていました。 「ANGE」は、NGOから東南アジアの紛争地域に派遣された、医療スタッフの女医が主人公。 地雷原で少年兵と出あったアンジェは、少年兵の姉から、戦場で赤ん坊を取り上げることになります。 「戦場での出産」というショッキングなシチュエーションは、男性作家にはなかなか思いいたらないものではないでしょうか。 「KOSOVO」は、その題名のとおり、ユーゴ・スラビア間の民族紛争をテーマとした作品です。 主人公は、対立する2つの民族の間で、望まれずに生まれてきた、コソボ解放軍に所属する男。 自らの生い立ちから民族主義に疑問を持つ主人公は、アルバニア人の少女と出会います。 「墓は死者のためじゃなく, 生きてる者のために, あるのかもしれない」――あとがきより抜粋 (AmazonJP)

Ice Age (アイスエイジ, 2003)

Eiji, a former reporter – calm and stoic, immerses himself into another world: from now on, he will teach english in high school! Confronted by unenthusiastic colleagues and unruly students, Eiji does his best to set his students straight.. But what about her feelings for him?! (From Baka-Updates). Sequel – Ice Age II, 2008

____

Edit: Finally got the chance to read her late Sono otoko, taka-blablabla just now. Very disappointed. Too seinen to the point of ecchi for my liking!! Completely my fault as I should have done more research before buying the series! Ehk! don’t like it, complete waste of money! (though I am sure others may argue that its storyline is really not that bad….. but I just can not look at it anymore!). Worse-more, her current style of art no longer appeals to me anymore! Please bring back the handsome dudes from ICE AGE and Taiyo to Tsuki…!!!!

Summary of Works

  • Tokai no Juhyō (都会の樹氷, 1986)
  • Talk to me (トーク・トゥー・ミー, 1987)
  • Masukareedo no Natsu (マスカレ―ドの夏, 1987)
  • Fukigenna otome tachi (不機嫌な乙女たち, 1987)
  • Ikuharu to wakarete… (幾春と別れて・・・, 1988)
  • Nagai kami no ihōjin (長い髪の異邦人, 1988)
  • Tamiko-san no koibito (TAMIKOさんの恋人, 1989)
  • Powder Snow no ie (パウダー・スノーの家, 1990)
  • Jun dramatic (純・ドラマティック, 1991)
  • Angel no Kodō (エンジェルの鼓動, 1992)
  • Jo senshi no matsuei (女戦士の末裔, 1993)
  • Seishun no bansōkō (青春の絆創膏, 1993)
  • DNA wa kunō suru (DNAは苦悩する, 1995–1996)
  • Ryū no Kesshō (竜の結晶, 1996–1999, Shūeisha)
  • Taiyō to tsuki no kakera (太陽と雪のかけら, 2000)
  • Ange – Jiraigen no tenshi (ANGE 地雷原の天使, 2001)
  • P.D. Agency no hōkoku shō (P.D.エージェンシーの報告書, 2001–2002)
  • Love Spartan (ラブスパルタン, 2003)
  • Himitsu × Himitsu (秘密×秘密, 2003–2004)
  • Ice Age (アイスエイジ, 2003)
  • Working Girl H. (ワーキンガールH。, 2004) – Seinen, ecchi, NO!
  • …no you na kigasuru (…のような気がする。, 2005) –  One shot, slice of life
  • Ai ga Nakereba  (愛がなければ, 2009) – One shot, smut
  • Kimi ga sekai no chūshin (君が世界の中心, 2006)
  • Sono otoko, taka katō taka God Finger (その男、タカ かとう たかゴッドフィンガ, 2006) – A manga about love between porn stars. Amidst all the rampant sex and graphic situations, lies a story which depicts the harsh nature of the porn industry. Seinen.
  • Man of 1 Yen | 1-en no Otoko | Akiko Monden, 2010 – A very rude but good looking banker named Ryo Masaki seeks the help of poor detective Keisuke Sanjo. This is the first client that he has seen in a very long time… what could he need? Yaoi.
  • Monden Akiko The Best – Aishi mi, fukaki (もんでんあきこTHE BEST~愛しみ、深き, 2005) – The “best” stories of Monden Akiko.
  • Monden Akiko Best Collection – Angel no Kodō (もんでんあきこベストコレクションエンジェルの鼓動, 2006)
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