reading list // Ao Haru Ride + Donten ni Warau

March 24, 2012

I get a lot of questions on my Tumblr asking about what manga I like or which manga series I'm reading at the moment. I like a lot of manga, mostly shoujo and josei and historical and horror (strange choices, I know). Most nights when I have nothing better to do I stay up really late until early in the morning just reading manga. It's a bad habit, but I just can't help myself. What usually happens is I tell myself to stop after this number of chapters and I end up reading til the very last one ;;

But even so, I tend to forget titles a lot. The ones I do remember are the ones that I'm currently hooked on. And since a lot of my followers seem to be curious as to what I'm currently reading, I decided to make posts about them from now on. But because there are a lot, I'll only share the ones that I really, really like. For the very first post in this new series in my blog, I've decided to share with you my two absolute favorite manga as of the moment: Ao Haru Ride and Donten ni Warau.

Ao Haru Ride [Aoharaido ; Blue Spring Ride]
Yoshioka Futaba has a few reasons why she wants to "reset" her image and life as a new high-school student. Because she's cute, she was ostracized by her female friends in junior high, and because of a misunderstanding, she couldn't get her feeling across to the one boy she has always liked, Tanaka-kun. Now in high school, she is determined to be as unladylike as possible so that her friends won't be jealous of her. While living her life this way contentedly, she meets Tanaka-kun again, but he now goes under the name of Mabuchi Kou. He tells her that he felt the same way as she did when they were younger, but now things can never be the same again. Will Futaba be able to continue her love that never even started from three years ago?

The latest work by mangaka Sakisaka Io [咲坂伊緒]. This is, hands down, my absolute-favorite shoujo manga to date. Though I very rarely remember titles of school life shoujo manga that I've read (they're all pretty much the same to me;; that's why I prefer josei), this one stuck the moment I read the first chapter. After Chapter 0 (the prologue) I was already tearing up, wtf. And that rarely happens. The only ever time that I've cried while reading a shoujo manga was while reading Yazawa Ai's Kagen no Tsuki, and that was a looong time ago. I don't know why, but it seems like I'm more into stories of unrequited love more than anything else. But this is just something else. Taking away the main character's first love, leaving her love unrequited, then throwing said love back in the mix completely changed. Insaaane. Unlike most shoujo manga where a lot of things are pretty exaggerated at some points, this one is nicely-paced and hits you in all the right places. Sakisaka-sensei is amazing. That's all I can say. Read it, read it! Ongoing. Currently at 15 chapters scanlated; a new chapter is released every 13th of the month.

** The lovely cover you see here is a cover from one of the issues of Betsuma, the magazine Aoharaido is serialized in. Sakisaka-sensei's work usually have very pretty tankobon covers and colored inserts, so that's another thing you have to watch out for. The ones in Aoharaido are exceptionally sweet. Check out Strobe Edge as well!

Donten ni Warau [Laughing in a Cloudy Sky]
In the eleventh year of the Meiji era, the carrying of swords has been forbidden by the Japanese government and those known as samurai were slowly fading away. However there were plenty that didn't like the changes taking place in Japan and inevitably the crime rates have increased. Japan's only resolve against criminals was an inescapable lake prison. Since the prison can only be accessed through water, the 3 brothers of the Kumo family were assigned to transport the criminals to their new “home”. Although it seems that that wasn't the only thing they were doing...

One of two 2011 releases from one my new favorite mangaka, Karakara Kemuri [唐々煙]. I chanced upon this manga while looking through Mangafox's latest releases. The cover art immediately caught my eye. And because it belonged to my two favorite genres (that is, Historical and Shoujo), I just had to give it a try. I tried reading a couple of chapters and ended up being hooked. Despite being action-packed and appears to be shounen at first glance, this manga seems to be directed towards the female audience. Kind of like D.Gray-man, in a way. I was actually quite surprised to know that the mangaka was actually a girl, as a lot of the scenes in this manga look like something a guy would make composition-wise. (The things I learn from watching Aian work, haha!) But really, it is overall a nice manga with great art and a great story. Still ongoing; currently at 7 chapters.

** For those reading it the first time: the first chapter is the main storyline, and the next two chapters covers an event that happened before the main story. After that it's back to the present. Just a little hint so as you don't get confused (like I did). Also, the image on the left is not one of the tankobon covers. Each one of those feature an illustration of one character from the series. I really like those because it has a very Japanesque feel. (Illustrations like those are my weakness.) Also, you can see more of Karakara-sensei's illustrations (and doodles) on her blog.

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Wow, this post turned out to be pretty long, huh? While this is in no means a review of the two manga (because really, everything was so subjective and biased and pretty much just me going on a fangirling spiel!), I hope some of you find them interesting and start reading them as well. I'll also be making more of these manga reading list posts (hopefully) in the future, so let me know what you think of this one! Also, manga suggestions are always welcome :)

© oh my little girl Maira Gall.