January 4, 2009

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Marmalade Boy Volume 1

Written by Wataru Yoshizumi
Illustrated by Wataru Yoshizumi
Tokyopop

Marmalade Boy is a comedic manga with some shojo elements to it. However, it's far too funny to be a real shojo--this is more in the style of Love Roma. If you liked Love Roma, and I did, then you should be in for a treat with Marmalade Boy.

Miki is your typical shojo girl with boy trouble, which only gets worse when her parents decide to permanently partner swap with a family they met on vacation. That lands poor, normal-desiring Miki in a house with both sets of parents and one cute but annoying step-brother. He of course transfers to her school and both flirts with and tortures Miki, who also has to deal with the boy who rejected her previously. And, of course, Miki gets a rival for the step-brother she isn't sure she likes.

This is a very light read but a fun one. The idea that no one except Miki finds the whole situation difficult makes for good comedy, and the interplay between her and the step brother is quite well done. I also like that Yoshizumi does try to give the characters a bit of grounding, so that they aren't just there for comic value, since this is not designed to be out-and-out parody ala Ranma.

The art is a bit exaggerated, but the background do compliment the plot rather well. I'm not sure if it's our librarian's bias or my reading bias, but man, I sure read a lot of manga set in high schools. Perhaps this is because I never read teen stuff when *I* was in high school.

I'm not sure how long this can make for a good story, but I'm willing to tag along for the ride, at least for as many as are in the library.