Sometimes ending a story isn’t always what we want. Characters grow on us, and we don’t want to see them go. However, it’s best for some stories to come to an end when it’s appropriate; milking the story out can often times make us lose interest. In terms of shoujo manga, or all types of manga, the “Completed” status can be a dreadful sight but it can also be a satisfactory one. This status is labeled on most shoujo manga rather than shounen, which are known to have hundreds of chapters and could still be ongoing as we speak. You’ve stuck with the manga from beginning to end and that in itself shows how the manga accomplished retaining its loyal readers. So, are you ready to commit to a new series? For this compiled list, it will consist of shoujo manga with a focus on school life that have been released (translation-wise) in 2015.
1. Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare
Does the artwork resemble another popular shoujo manga you’ve probably read and watched? If you thought of Ao Haru Ride, then you’re absolutely correct. Io Sakisaka has started a new series after finishing her two longest works — Ao Haru Ride and Strobe Edge. What’s interesting to note about Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare (besides the long title) is that there are two protagonists rather than one leading female protagonist. Yuna, the girl on the left, believes in finding her true love or her “prince.” She’s got quite the fantasy going on in her head whereas Akari, the girl on the right, is more realistic about her romantic endeavors. The girls are the opposite of each other with Yuna being the quiet and nervous type while Akari is confident and outgoing. The story focuses on the characters’ outlook on love and friendship, which sounds like an Io Sakisaka story. Sakisaka implements real-life problems in her stories so that they’re relatable to the reader rather than the cliche shoujo manga story: unpopular girl suddenly gets the attention of the hottest guy in school and BAM! A power couple is born. Though there’s nothing wrong with reading those cliched stories, it’s always refreshing to read something unexpected or relatable to the real world, very much like Sakisaka’s manga. If you’ve read her previous works and enjoyed them thoroughly, then you’re guaranteed to fall in love all over again with her new cast of characters.
2. Kuchibiru ni Kimi no Iro
Aside from the beautiful artwork, Kuchibiru ni Kimi no Iro tells a touching story about a girl named Aya Kakurai who aims to be “transparent” because of the gossip that goes around school involving her incident in the past. She’s a painter, but after what happened, she finds the world a colorless place. Then one day a transfer student shows up in her class and he restores all the colors to her world. There are a lot of metaphors surrounding the use of colors, which is a creative take on describing how Aya feels. At times it can be boring to read dull or obvious descriptions that the protagonists say, so if you’re looking for a more creative narrative then this manga is just for you. There are only two chapters released so far, as the updates are slow, but if you’re willing to keep an eye out for this manga because of its beautiful artwork and narration, then the wait will be worth it.
3. Hapira Hajimaru
Now in a way, Hapira Hajimaru‘s artwork is reminiscent to Sakisaka’s but she’s not the author of this manga. If any of you are K-Pop listeners or EXO lovers, then Hyougo Kurono may look like someone you know. Hayuru Fukasawa used Tao from EXO as her model for Hyougo and we can see that with his hair, piercings, and puffy eye bags. There is also a reference to pandas, which Tao is known to be nicknamed as due to his dark circles. If you all need a picture for comparison, here’s a picture of Tao (it’s even the same outfit):
What Fukasawa did was genius because not only does this attract K-Pop fans but it brings the world of K-Pop into manga — two different platforms and languages together into one. It’s most likely that Fukasawa is a fan of EXO herself, especially Tao-biased, which is why she replicates the picture of Tao above to draw her character. With that said, the story goes like this: Sachi Asai becomes the class president out of bad luck and she meets Hyougo, who looks like a delinquent and has horrible rumors floating around him. Sachi finds out that he lives alone and accidentally reveals it, resulting in a homeless Hyougo because he is a minor. Believing it was her bad luck, Sachi takes responsibility and asks her father, who is a realtor, for help and he allows Hyougo to live in their unused detached house. There’s more to the bad boy Hyougo, and Sachi begins to make her way past this image and toward the softer side of him. Anyone who’s a sucker for bad boy/delinquents with a soft heart and EXO, Hapira Hajimaru just might be the ultimate shoujo manga for you.
4. Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet
Before you say it, this is not Hirunaka no Ryuusei (HnR). Though it is by the same author and the characters almost look exactly like the characters from the aforementioned, it’s an entirely new story. Fumi Ohno has to make ends meet due to her father’s debts so she finds a housekeeping job for a writer named Akatsuki Kibikino. She addresses him as “Sensei,” which makes you raise your eyebrow. Not to mention that there is a character named Isshin Aioi who bears a striking resemblance to Daiki Mamura from HnR. The mechanics of the story seem to go in the same direction as HnR, as there is speculation whether the author is writing the sensei-student versus student-student relationships in order to make an alternate ending to HnR. For those who have read HnR, you might understand what that means. Those who haven’t, this post will avoid spoilers. However, the manga is still in its early stages so there’s room for more development and unexpected plot twists. In this aspect, “Sensei” is not a teacher in school but someone older who has literary expertise and therefore seen as a respectable, older person. The updates are fairly consistent and those who are fans of HnR will find Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet nostalgic but also new at the same time.
5. Boku to Kimi no Taisetsu na Hanashi
This manga is probably the newest on this list with only one chapter released. One thing that makes this manga stand out is the male protagonist who seems to have that “studious” image with his glasses and a book in his hand. Most times shoujo manga male protagonists/love interests are handsome or popular at school and the studious-looking characters are usually the supporting roles. However, with Boku to Kimi no Taisetsu na Hanashi (another long title), it appears that a boy with glasses, Shirou Azuma, ends up getting an admirer, Nozomi Aizawa. The English title/translation is “An Important Talk Between You and Me” and that’s what the story is so far. The two are at a train station and Nozomi strikes up a conversation with Shirou, though the content of their conversation is not your standard conversation between an unaware interest and an admirer. Before anything else, this manga is a romantic comedy and it supposedly goes against all characteristics of a shoujo manga by being realistic in a humorous way. That realism is conveyed through Shirou, who appears to have a serious demeanor. Toward the end of the chapter, Nozomi notices something about Shirou and that deters her from talking to him at school. There isn’t much else to know about since there’s only one chapter, but from that chapter alone we can tell that Shirou and Nozomi are going to be a unique couple compared to the others in their respective genre.
*NOTE: The names of the characters may be floppy because they’re usually addressed by last name but for this post their first names were used.