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My favourite (old-school) shoujo couples 2

Here comes my second installment of “my favourite (old-school) shoujo couples”.

Presumably, the following characters (and their stories) must have hold a special place in my heart, the fact that they appeared immediately first in my mind in making this post!

If these couples still manage to capture my fading memories after all those years …. it must have been “L-O-V-E“! 🙂

Starts off with very touching love stories:

Boku no Chikyuu wo Mamotte (Please Save My Earth), ぼくの地球を守って – Mokuren x Shion

There are two scenes which I remembered most of this series: the rape and the death of Mokuren.

Everyone (and possibly including the readers initially) was enraged at Shion’s perceived rape act and sympathetic for Mokuren who was distraught after the incident.

However, as it is shown later in Mokuren’s point of view, she was distraught not because she was raped as everyone perceived, but realising the fact that Shion purposely used the sex act (and his earlier “confession of love” to her) as a mean to avenge Gyokuran which she had wanted to avoid the most.

For me, Mokuren’s death which drove Shion insane remains to be one of the most heartbreaking scenes I have found in shoujo manga.

In the end, Shion’s growing devoted yet apologetic feelings for Mokuren, his fear for her death and the void of loneliness thereafter which would eventually led him to despair and insanity….. All those added up to make Shion one of the most sympathetic antagonist hero in shoujo manga! (sob~)

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Kaze Hikaru, 風光る – Sei x Okita Soji

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I made my first manga review here on Kaze Hikaru, and to which I even created and dedicated with a separate blog!…. it just all goes to show how much I have loved this series and especially the pair!

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Only You – Tobenai Tsubasa, Only You―翔べない翼 – Kokoro x Kunimi

By the same author of Chihayafuru,Yuki Suegutsu, Only You is a love story between Kokoro who was two years elder than the rest in her class, and Kunimi with psychic power. Their relationship developed quickly in the series – it took only half of the first volume for the pair to admit their attractions to each other!

Initially, Kunimi was struggling to accept and control his ESP ability; he was distressed further more since his ESP ability has also affected Kokoro. The story shows how Kunimi character has grown stronger as he dealt with his separation with Kokoro, then learned to accept and control his ability such that it became strong enough to protect also Kokoro and other characters who have suffered from the otherness just as he has.

Only You is a great love story in the sense that it shows how the two protagonists learned to deal with their problems together and support each other along the way in a mature manner.

There is a particular kind of shoujo manga of which the stories are just very sweet and subtle, sometimes fluffy, almost like the otometic ones identified since the late 70’s; this is somewhat recognised as the “healing” type of shoujo manga.

Typically, under this “sub-genre”, the arts show softness and the stories are often heartwarming, though sometimes heart rending, to evoke tender emotions of the readers. Also, the characters are always kept realistic in terms of their true feelings about love, relationship, friendship, family, and most of all, the awakening of their self-consciousness; their problems or struggles with growth issues are convincing and close to those of the readers who can easily identify and empathise with them.

Characters of this type of narratives, most often female leads, are quick to adapt to new situations, showing their positive attitudes to life despite of difficulties. Sometimes this would generate a comedic effect as the characters respond to the incongruities with a cheerful or a happy-go-lucky attitude.

Ichikyo and Chisa-hime series 一清&千沙姫シリーズ – Ichikyo x Chisahime
A sweet romantic story set in the Sengoku period. Chisa was the princess of Kaga betrothed to Ichikyo of Azumi State. Wanting to learn more about her future husband, Chisa decided to venture to Azumi to meet Ichiko prior to their wedding. During her adventure, Chisa was captured by Kaga’s enemy but was lucky to be rescued by a stranger, who *just happened to be* Ichikyo.

IMG_1816-0The series continues as Chisa finally reached Azuimi, then learned something new day by day about Ichiko and his people in Azumi. But on the other hand, in the eyes of Azumi public, Chisa was an odd-ball princess who did not behave with etiquette as she dared to challenge others and persisted on her beliefs! What’s more, she was the princess from Kaga, an ally by marriage on the surface but in fact an extremely dangerous enemy potentially.

img_1818-e1489928557136.jpgInterestingly, instead of beating herself up to do things just to please the others, Chisa was simply just being herself (I even doubt the notion of pleasing others has ever occurred in her mind!). After serious of events, she eventually earned the love from the people of Azumi as well as her husband.

Ichiko was shown to be a smart commander with great military skills, but at the sametime a down to earth character who enjoyed spending time playing with the children in Azumi. He reluctantly became the ruler of Azumi after his parents and beloved elder brother was killed after the enemy’s attack. As tension with Kaga built up, his ability as the ruler of Azumi and his relationship with Chisa were put to test.

Harutsuge Komachi 春告小町 – Oharu x Shonosuke

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Story (description from Bakaupdates): “Oharu works at her father’s tea parlor. Pretty and sprightly as she is, she has never had leisure time and so her widowed father and the curious neighbors are anxious about her becoming a spinster. One day, a poor, masterless samurai named Sho-no-suke moves in Haru’s small terraced house. Haru’s father and the neighbors count on the new-comer bachelor as Haru’s future husband.”

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….. but alas! Have they forotten that Oharu actually despises samurai and above all, anyone who dares to show any signs of laziness, i.e. exactly how Sho-no-suke is! The story starts off as a light romantic screwball comedy, but the ambience quickly turns as Sho-no-suke’s dark secrets are revealed.

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Somewhat similar to Only You above (as well as Kyouko HIKAWA’s Kanata Kara) but in a more comedic/ slightly less dramatic way, the narrative of Harutsuge Komachi is also about relationship between the struggling male protagonist and others – his underlying journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and finally his ability to resist and battle against the otherness (in the guise of evil power of the sword spirit) within himself…. but not without the help of the heroine through their romantic relationship of course! 🙂

Tokyo no Casanova 東京のカサノバ– Tamiko x Akira

By the same author of Tennen Kokkeko, Fusako KURAMOCHI has the reputation for her cool and attractive male protagonists, particularly in Tokyo no Casanova.

Story (Summary by Oceansportrait): “TAMIKO lives with her two brothers, her mom, and her grandmom. It’s your typical family, or so she thought. But one day, she finds out AKIRA, her older brother, is not her brother at all, but the illegitimate child of famous actress HANYUU KAORI. To make things even more confusing, Akira’s feelings towards her isn’t the kind towards a sibling, and with his persistence, she finds herself falling in love with him as well. The plot becomes even more complicated when YUKARI, Tamiko’s friend from school falls for Akira. Yukari though, has a connection with Akira that shocks everyone, including herself…”

Romantic/ screwball Comedies:

Itazura na Kiss, イタズラなKiss – Kotoko x Naoki

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This pair, of completely opposite personalities, definitely makes one of the cutest couples of all times in shoujo manga history!

… and ought I go any further to explain how much I adore this masterpiece because its narrative and plots were greatly executed; the gags, the chemistry, the dialogues, all were just simply and greatly put together…..!

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M to N no Shouzou, MとNの肖像 – Mitsuru x Natsuhiko

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Toraware no Minoue, とらわれの身の上 – Megumi x Suzuka

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I put these two titles together for their similarities, as both are somewhat the “Hyde-&-Jekyll” form of romantic (slapstick) comedies – love them! 🙂

a659948085710bf8291181838bfa8af2e6747bdd_hqIn M to N no Shouzou, Mitsuru a masochist and Natsuhiko a narcissist, who discovered Mitsuru’s secret on their first day of school. But things only became hilarious as both of them trying desperately to avoid their weird behaviors being exposed!

imagesIn Toraware no Minoue: Carefree Megumi Kuroishi was living a life of luxury until the day a girl named Suzuka Kogami walked into his life. All of a sudden, Megumi finds himself kneeling at Suzuka’s feet and prostrating himself like a servant! What Megumi doesn’t know (until that very moment anyway) is that his family is cursed to follow the orders of the Kogami family. (From Viz)

KISS, キス – Kae x Goshima

images (3)Untitled-5In Kiss, blank space was used in many occasions to create a sense of lightness and tranquility which gives the narrative a chic and relaxing ambience. This approach was fresh in the eyes for me, having been eye-washed by floods of melodramatic shoujo manga at the time. It was something different – non dramatic and with light humour using deadpan characters.

Kiss (Story description from Perpetual Dreams): Through piano lessons a love slowly grows between the cool adult, Goshima-sensei, and one of his students, a high-school girl named Kae. The most popular stylish love romance.

Koharu Biyori, 小春びより – Koharu x Tamaki Yahagi

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Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu, 春・夏・秋・冬download

Musume Biyori/ Potato Biyori, 娘びより/ ぽてとびより
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download (4).jpgBy the same author of T.E. Lawrence and Aoi no Maharaja, Koharu Biyori tells the story of Koharu (小春), the daughter of a rice merchant in the late Meiji period and her elopement with Tamaki Yahagi (矢萩環) who, albeit being the son of an aristocrat family, was determined to become a doctor (even if it meant to forego his wealth and status)!

Living in poverty and hardships, Koharu and Tamaki managed their ways “reluctantly” and humorously with the help of their friends, e.g. Koharu’s friendship with Wakatsuki (若月青年) who fell in love with her at first sight, and Binako (比奈子) who enjoyed flirting with Tamaki at Koharu’s greatest annoyance! 🙂

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IMG_1842Koharu Biyori was first serialised in shoujo magazine, “Hana to Yume” and then “ASUKA” for its sequels, where the story continues in the Yahagi household during Taisho period. Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu shows the daily lives of the triplet children of Yahagi who are as energetic and playful (aka naughty!) as their mother Koharu used to be, bringing in a lot of headaches and joy to the family and readers. 🙂

In Musume Biyori and Potato Biyori, the triplet sisters have grown up! Now they have become the ordinary school girls and found their romantic interests in unordinary ways!

IMG_1843The Koharu Biyori series is one of the sweetest and most endearing story for me. I love the couple (and their daughters) in the series – Koharu the clumsy but full-of-energy heroine not afraid to show off her love for Tamaki, Tamaki a gentle husband to his “trouble-maker” wife and and the father of his “problematic” triplet daughters… and then of course the identical triplet of each showing unique personality, hence their stories are told in three different ways in Musume Biyori / Potato Biyori. 🙂

Lady Guinevere, レディ・ギネヴィア – Guinevere x Rianda

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More details about the story can be found here.

Reading this manga over and over again does make me wonder: why, out of any other series, do I enjoy this romantic gag comedy so much in particular?

Could it be for the fact that the male lead, in a male privilege society, has been “humiliated” and “reduced” to become an occasionally silly and a love-struck husband besotted to his wife?
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Hmmm……..

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, となりの怪物くん – Mizutani x Haru

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Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (2008) is not an “old-school” manga normally featured in my blog. But for some reason, the manga couple, Mizutani and Haru, has always managed to stay in my memory.

Although the storyline carries the usual vibe of a romantic school drama commonly found in contemporary shoujo manga these days, its ending was executed in a rather unusual way, to my pleasant surprise. Without giving too much details away, let’s just say I like Mizutan’s views and her ways in handling the “separation” with Haru.

Otoko no Isshou, 娚の一生Tsugumi x Kaida

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Another unusually attractive manga couple of a contemporary (non “old-school”) shoujo manga…. I just want to add them here anyway 🙂

There is actually a lot more of other manga couples I have intended to add in here, e.g. BL manga couples, couples from my “guilty-pleasure” type of shoujo manga (*ehem*), or even those tragic manga couples…. the list can go on and on~~~~

Let’s leave it to the next and the 3rd installment! 🙂

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