A good number of the shojo I watch or read tends to feature clueless main characters who don’t realize they in fact like or are in love with the main hero/heroine. I don’t know if there is a trope for this, but it’s a common and very predictable plot device. It becomes really obvious when a character may have more feelings of like/love than they like to believe. I’m going to break down the following characters who fall into this category.
Summertime makes you think of beaches, sun, vacations, and spending more time with friends and family. When I read manga with images of beaches, sun kissed green grass, and summer dresses, I can’t help but let them get me in the summer mood. With that in mind, I’m going to give you some of my favorite manga summer moments.
Here’s another edition of my mini-column of sorts, where I pick out my favorite scenes that best embody dramatic moments suddenly shifting into comedy to lighten the mood. My new pick this time is another manga by Yuu Watase called Imadoki! What can I say? She is the best when it comes to blending comic moments into tense and serious situations.
The basic premise of Imadoki! focuses around Tanpopo Yamazaki, a country girl from Hokkaido who gets her chance to attend a high school in the big city of Tokyo. She’s bubbly, optimistic, and a bit naive when she tries to take on her new school with the intention of making good memories and new friends. When she quite literally crashes into Koki Kugyo during her secret tour to see her new school, she decides he will be her first new friend. Antics, friendship, and love ensue in this high school romantic comedy series.
The scene I’m choosing for this column is when Koki saves Tanpopo from Aoi Kyogoku or “Flippy” as he is later nicknamed in the series. The scene starts off a bit tense. Koki and Tanpopo are stuck in the school elevator thanks to Kyogoku’s amazing tech skills. It’s in this scene where Koki discovers Tanpopo’s fear of dark, tight spaces. When Koki finally gets them out of the elevator, Kyogoku grabs Tanpopo and claims her as his hostage at knife point. Koki fears for Tanpopo’s life, and is willing to do what’s necessary to save her. Even go down on his knees and beg at Kyogoku’s feet. This takes Kyogoku by surprise because he never expects the great Koki Kugyo to put aside his pride to save one girl. Before Kyogoku can react, he gets blindsided by a punch to the face with none other than Koki’s trusty gardening trowel or scoop, as it is referenced in the manga.
I enjoy these particular panels the most because it ends up being rather wacky in the end after all the danger and tension in the last few scenes leading up to this one. Kyogoku’s face is really priceless in the above panel, and his comment is pretty hilarious. There’s also something absurd about seeing Koki standing like a badass with his gardening trowel. Definitely not the normal weapon of choice to save a damsel in distress. But like all of Watase’s mangas, you get the sense of her wanting to not take her own characters too seriously. Even the most serious of characters, like Koki, can have their silly moments. It makes the cool, handsome shojo manga male seem imperfect, despite the appearance he gives off throughout most of the story.
When reading manga, I noticed a common personality trait for a lot of male love interests is the idea of a jerk who treats the main character like crap only to find out later that the guy is truly a kind, caring, and decent person. The male love interest reveals to the reader as well as the character herself that he isn’t as horrible and mean spirited as you first thought. These guys have to hide who they truly are because of circumstances, personal views, bad experiences, and other scenarios you can think of. What makes these men who are seemingly jerks in the beginning end up hiding the side of themselves most girls would want to uncover?