The Best Shoujo Manga

I used to think of Shoujo manga as something of a guilty pleasure. Then I started to wonder why. After all, it’s not like I’m ashamed to read it. I enjoy it and it’s fun, so who cares.

Anyway, today I’m going to share with you by favorite Shoujo manga.

I think Vampire Knight has got to be my favorite of them all. Years ago, when this first came out and the anime was being released I really wanted stuff to do with vampires. Like any kind of media involving vampires. Lo and behold, I found the anime online, watched it and then started collecting the manga. It satisfied that craving and then some. I love both Zero and Kaname!

Fruits Basket is a very close second to Vampire Knight. If I remember correctly, I saw a couple episodes of the anime at Animethon one year and loved it. I bought the anime and have watched it several times. Of course, the anime didn’t cover the whole of the manga so I had to buy that too to get the whole story. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster. This one is just GOOD!

I don’t entirely remember how I came across Black Bird. I think I found it randomly in the bookstore. To my knowledge, there isn’t an anime adaptation of it. This one pushes things in a bit of a more x rated direction but it’s still meant for teenage girls so it doesn’t go too far.

This one was recommended to be by a bookstore employee while I was browsing around. Honestly, I can’t remember all that much about it other than really liking it.

Alice in the Country of Hearts is, of course, an Alice in Wonderland type story, just a lot more violent. I mean, the Mad Hatter is actually a mafia boss. It is weird and crazy and a lot of fun.

I think Kamisama Kiss might be another one that I saw a few episodes of at Animethon. Once again, the anime adaptation didn’t cover all of the manga so I collected all of that as well. Such a good story, though I don’t totally know how I feel about the ending, even now.

Bride of the Water God is actually Korean not Japanese, but I think it belongs here anyway. The artwork in this one is pretty amazing. Sadly, it looks unlikely that the last volumes will be published in English.

Ouran High School Host Club is another that I saw the anime first and bought the manga to know the rest of the story. It is very funny and a fun read.

Say I Love You is yet another one that I saw the anime first and needed the manga to get the rest of the story. The manga and the anime differ a fair amount, with the manga leaning more towards sex related stuff. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it was a bit of a shock to me after watching the anime.

I’m rounding this off with Inu x Boku. It’s a bit hard to say that I liked this one, which is why it’s at the end. The relationship between the two main characters is NOT healthy and sometimes a little disturbing in the “obsession” kind of way.

Well, those are my favorite Shoujo manga that I have read so far in my life. Have you read any of these? Which are your favorite? Recommend me some of your favs in the comments.

And as always, thanks for reading!

Unpopular Book Opinion Tag – Monster by Naoki Urasawa

A bit of a disclaimer to start. It has been many years since I’ve read this manga or watched the adapted anime so if I get any details wrong, I apologize in advance.

Not too long ago, I saw a post on Reddit asking if it was worth finishing Monster. I can’t remember how far along in the story the poster was, but I gave them my honest advice based on my opinion of both the manga and anime. I was then shit upon by another Redditor for having a poor opinion of what is generally a well received and highly praised work. Apparently not agreeing with the majority is no longer allowed.

It all starts out really well. Dr. Tenma is a Japanese brain surgeon working in a hospital in Germany. He is praised as a brilliant doctor and is engaged to the daughter of the head of the hospital. His life seems to be going only in the right direction when a young boy comes into the hospital with a bullet wound to the head. At the same time, prominent figure (I think it was the mayor) is brought in ( I think he had a heart attack). The head of the hospital orders Tenma to operate on the Mayor, but Tenma has a moral problem. The child is clearly in more danger of dying than the mayor and he is the better doctor to treat the boy. Ultimately, Tenma chooses to operate on the child, saving his life.

This doesn’t sit well with the other employees in the hospital. The mayor dies and Tenma is blamed since he didn’t treat the mayor. Tenma loses his job and his finance leaves him. Before he departs the hospital, he sits by the child’s side and confesses out loud his frustrations with the other doctors and their behavior to the unconscious boy. Not long after, the boy wakes up, disappears from the hospital and the doctors who Tenma complained about are found dead. It doesn’t take long before it becomes obvious that the boy, Johan, is responsible for the deaths of the doctors. It’s at this point that Tenma realizes that by saving the child and confessing what he did that he is responsible for the deaths of the other doctors.

This is an amazing premise and I was absolutely hooked. This was just one volume of the manga after all and there are 18 volumes.

The narrative skips ahead several years. Tenma is trying to locate Johan in an attempt to correct the mistake he made in the past. Throughout most of the story, Tenma is intent on finding Johan and killing him. My interest was held mostly throughout the whole story. I really wanted to know how it was all going to end, but at some point suspense can just become boredom. The author, Naoki Urasawa is considered to be a master of suspense, but if all your story is is on going suspense, it loses it’s appeal. It takes so long for anything to actually be revealed that it got into eye rolling moments when the reader thinks something really important is going to finally be revealed and then – NO. Instead, there’s too many side characters, most of which I can’t even remember. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure the outcome of the entire series would have been the same whether or not those side characters were even there.

During Tenma’s search, any time he heard of a blonde young man doing something even slightly sinister, it had to be Johan. Like, it couldn’t possibly be any other blonde young man – in Germany. Really? Johan is supposed to be some kind of evil genius but his motivations don’t make any sense. Why did he do any of the stuff he did? I can’t remember.

I did stick it out to the end, but there are times I wish I’d just asked the internet what the ending was and not wasted my time. I hated the ending too.

So there’s my unpopular opinion of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster. It starts out absolutely amazing and just goes down into eye rolling boredom. I wish it was better. I really do. It could have been so much better.

Anyway, thanks for reading and please let me know what you thought of this series!



Who isn’t fascinated with vampires, at least on some level? And why wouldn’t we be? Vampires are often portrayed as mysterious and sexy, immortal beings  who have lived for centuries, seen and experienced things we can only dream of.

A Bit of History

For centuries, humanity has been both afraid and curious about things they don’t understand, things that hide in the dark and snatch children from their beds. For as long as there have been people, there have been monsters to haunt them. There are myths and legends all around the world that have some type of vampire-like creature. One thing they all have in common is that they drink blood.

In ancient Greece, the Libyan Princess, Lamia, became the object of Hera’s wrath after having an affair with the goddess’s husband, Zeus. In her rage, Hera killed all of Lamia’s god-spawned children. Grief-stricken and unable to take vengeance on the gods, Lamia turned on humanity and sucked the life from mortal babies. Over the years, lamia  evolved into a legion of unearthly beings with the upper body of women and the tails of serpents.

With the rise of Christianity, the idea of vampirism became more wide spread. Still-born and unbaptized babies, those who led lives of sin or were born on holy days were often believed to become vampires or vampire-like creatures after death. The Bosnian lampir was considered the harbinger of disease and would crawl from its grave, a rotting corpse, for the sole purpose of spreading an epidemic. Vampires were blamed for the spread of disease or plagues. If the family of a recently deceased person suddenly became ill, the blame for it would fall on the deceased person. The corpse would be dug up, a stake driven through the heart and the head removed. In some places the mouth would be filled with garlic or a brick placed between the jaws. Sometimes, the dead were buried face down so that if they did come back to life, they would be unable to dig themselves out of the grave.

In the Media

10606275_514100418725105_1104752617004082635_nBram Stoker’s Dracula, published in 1897, is probably the most famous vampire novel of all time, but it was not actually the first. The Vampyre: A Tale was published in 1819 and broke away from traditional folklore. The vampire character, Lord Ruthven, was a handsome, self-possessed, evil aristocrat. This novel and the character of Lord Ruthven may very well have inspired Bram Stoker and influenced the character of Count Dracula.

In 1872, the mother of female vampires was “born.” Carmilla was the first vampire novel to have a female vampire character, one who preyed on young women and was intensely beautiful. This novel also set the idea of lesbian vampires.

The silent film Nosferatu in 1922, was the first unofficial (and unauthorized) adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Florence Stoker (Bram’s wife) filed a lawsuit against the film which drew huge public interest and within a decade Dracula would be the standard by which future horror would be measured.

To this day, the influence of Dracula  and the man he is believed to be based on, Vlad Dracula, or Vlad Tepes, known as Vlad the Impaler, can still be seen in a wide variety of popular media. Novels such as the Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance is influenced by the history of Vlad the Impaler using his older brother Mircea II as inspiration for the antihero character of Mircea. Even the popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer  had an episode with the infamous Dracula.

The name draculaVan Helsing has become synonymous with “vampire hunter,” inspiring movies like Van Helsing,  a recent TV show of the same name based on a graphic novel series published by Zenescope Entertainment, and an anime/manga, Helsing.


Nearly every year since the invention of film, there has been a vampire movie released for the public’s viewing pleasure. Many are based on the most famous vampire novel and have the name Dracula in the title, while others have tried to go in a new, often comedic direction, with vampires from outer space or other unusual origins.  There seems to be 3 usual types of vampires. The evil, grotesque monster that is repulsive and rotting, the “drawing room vampire” that is suave and sophisticated but evil and sadistic on the inside, and the “tortured vampire” like Louis in Interview with the Vampire. This type hates what they are, feeling that they are monsters who shouldn’t exist, who fight their nature and then wallow in guilt when they lose that fight and consume blood.

I think this may be the most popular type of vampire so far, as they still retain much of their humanity.


In Literature

Literature likely has the most variety when it comes to vampires. They appear is various genres, such as Horror, Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. Each author puts their own twist on the vampire legends and makes their vampire their own. In L.J. Smith’s Night Word Series, vampires who are born, age and can reproduce are called lamia. In Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy Series, vampires who are evil and “undead” are called strigoi.  In Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, vampires cannot reproduce or even have sex, and burned by sunlight. In some novels, like Patrica’s Briggs’ Mercy Thompson Series vampires are the undead and during the day when they sleep they become corpse like, not breathing and with no heart beat.

Over the years, vampires have become more and more popular in the Romance genre. Portrayed as strong, sexy alpha males who come along and sweep a mortal woman off her feet. The idea of “soulmates” or life partners of some type or another is predominant in these types of stories. Some even claiming that “only a vampire can love you forever.”                                                                             34203abb6e611cc32121535451622d05

North America isn’t the only place fascinated by vampires.  Japanese anime and manga featuring vampires have become extremely popular, not just in Japan but also in the US and Canada.

My Favorites


 The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith

The NightWorld Series by L.J. Smith

Although as an adult, I don’t read as much YA novels, my favorite vampire novels are still the YA novels I read when i was in junior high. At that time, there weren’t nearly as many supernatural YA novels out there as there are now and the ones mentioned above were right up my alley!

Favorite Movies:


Strangely, there aren’t a lot of vampire movies I really like. Perhaps because they are so often portrayed as soulless monsters that are always evil and therefore never “win.” Underworld’s vampires are much more real and likable, even if some of the characters as jerks lol. I’m putting Blood the Last Vampire here because, although it is anime, it is technically a movie. There was a live action adaptation as well, but it’s not nearly as good as the original.

Favorite Anime & Manga:

I love both the manga and anime adaptations of Hellsing and Vampire Knight The stories for these two anime/manga are vastly different. Hellsing is about an organization in England that hunts down and destroys rogue vampires, with the help of the ancient and incredibly powerful vampire, Alucard. Vampire Knight couldn’t be more different. It takes place in a high school where both humans and vampire attend. Though it may be a “teen girl” anime/manga, I still enjoy the mystery and the vampires themselves in this story.

blood+I truly love the anime of Blood+, the manga not so much. The manga is quite different from the anime and is condensed to 5 volumes versus the 90 episodes of the anime. Saya (in the anime) is an interesting character. She has no memory of her life before one year ago and is still struggling to be “normal” when a monster attacks her at school and a mysterious man with a bandaged hand comes to her rescue. Over the span of 90 episodes, Saya really has a chance to grow into her own as she learns that she is the only person who can defeat the vampire-like creatures that are roaming the streets.


I’ve only read the manga for Rosario Vampire, not watched the anime. Although it is a harem manga geared towards teenage boys, I really enjoyed the manga. Once all the characters were introduced and it shed some of its silliness, the plot was very enjoyable.

Interested in any of the products I’ve mentioned? They can all be found on Amazon.

Rant – Anime/Manga being “Americanized”

I’m not sure how other people feel about it, but I think American movie company should leave Anime and Manga alone. I really don’t think any Anime fan has ever been watching an anime and thought “Hm, this would be so much better in live action with a bunch of white actors.” (Being a white person, it’s ok for me to say that :p)

Today, as I was scrolling through my facebook feed, I saw a trailer for a new Netflix produced live action movie of Death Note. (here) As I’m watching this short trailer, all i can think is “no, no, no, this is not right.” I’m not a die hard fan of Death Note but I did enjoy the anime enough that I own it. To be honest, it really annoys me when an anime or manga gets an American version. Like, do American movie produces just not have any of their own ideas any more, they have to steal from Anime and Manga? And they don’t even do a good job of it! They change too many things from the original so that it no longer does the original material justice.

What do you think of this new Death Note? Was there an anime you love that was turned into a terrible American adaptation?

TokyoPop – I Still Hate You

As I’m sure every person who reads manga in English knows, TokyoPop, who was a huge published of Manga in North America, shut down it’s North American office and stopped publishing manga in English. All the manga that they published had their licenses returned to the original owner and could be sold to other publishers, but how many of your favorites have actually been picked up by a new publisher? I know know several of mine have not and now if i want to read them, I have to find fan translated copies on the internet. My collection of the volumes may never be complete and if, by chance, a new publisher does pick up and publish my favorites, will the covers be the same? Will they match previous volumes or will I (most likely) feel the need to re-buy all volumes so that they match?

If any manga publishers are actually reading this (highly unlikely) here’s a few series you should pick up and publish in English:

Dazzle, Fate/Stay Night, Shinobi Life, and Togainu No Chi.

What do you think? What were some series you loved that were never finished due to TokyoPop closing?

Inu x Boku SS Volumes 9 & 10


inu x boku 9Summary (from Goodreads): At first, the residents of Ayakashi Hall are baffled by the discovery of a time capsule containing letters in their own handwriting, apparently from their future selves. But Natsume’s ability to see beyond confirms the truth, and he is overwhelmed by the future he glimpses. The others aren’t sure they want to know the full extent of what is to come when it has so obviously rattled Natsume and their later selves. Even with that knowledge, what can they do differently to face the Night Parade of a Hundred Demons?!

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In volume 9, we return to the past of 23 years ago. It begins with a few little episodes, including a Christmas one where Nobara and Sorinozuka meet a mermaid throwback, as well as a glimpse into Zange’s past.

About half way through the volume, the story returns to the day that the residents of Maison de Ayakashi made the time capsule for their future selves and they discover the letters sent back through time. This discovery changes how things originally went, causing Soushi and Ririchiyo not to have the moment in the park where they confess their feelings to one another.

Forewarned about the Night Parade, the group prepares to battle Mokoto Inugami on the day Carta would have been attacked. But, there is no attack and Mokoto doesn’t show himself.

Everything has changed and there’s no telling what is going to come next.

inu x boku 10Summary (from Goodreads):  The threat of the Night Parade of a Hundred Demons has driven the residents of Ayakashi Hall to take refuge at their family homes–whether they’d like to or not. But when they’re apart, the situation seems even more hopeless, and one by one the group reassembles at the place that brought them together. Whatever the future holds, they will face it with a united front!

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The Night Parade has attacked Ayakashi Halls in other areas, and the families of the group we’ve come to know and love force them to return to their old homes. While most go somewhat willingly, Soushi is taken by force and returned to the confinement her endured throughout his childhood.

One by one, the throwbacks decide that they should hall be together to form a united front against their enemy, and they gather back at Ayakashi Hall. Once they learn of Soushi’s confinement, there is no question about whether or not they will rescue him.

No one has seen Kagerou since the attacks began and an ally may not be as much of an ally as they all believed.


Inu x Boku SS Volumes 7 & 8


inu x boku 7Summary (from Goodreads): Ririchiyo has decided to make a fresh start, removing the blinders from her eyes and releasing Soushi from his contract. From now on, she has resolved to treat this incarnation of Soushi as his own person and to mourn the loss of the man she loved in a previous life. The change has given Ririchiyo a clear perspective, but Soushi’s heart remains clouded. Playing the part of his former self for Ririchiyo’s sake was an act–what will happen when Soushi’s true feelings come to light…?

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At the end of volume 6, Ririchiyo chose to release Soushi from the contract that makes him her bodyguard. She wants to see him for who he is currently, but then doesn’t have much of any interaction with him. Distraught, Soushi goes looking for the time capsule that they all buried in their previous lives. What follows is a look into the current Soushi’s past and how he grew up this time and why he loves Ririchiyo now.

This volume contains the usual silliness with a welcome party being thrown for Nobara where Ririchiyo, Carta, Zange, Kagerou and Watanuki dress up in various outfits to Nobar’s taste. Although, she doesn’t really care for Zange or Kagerou’s cross dressing.

Unknown to the rest of the group, Watanuki has made friends with Mikoto Inugami, the genetic throwback who lead the Night Parade and was responsible for nearly all of their deaths. The second act of the story is coming to a close and moving toward the conclusion.

Summary (from Goodreadsinu x boku 8): Mikoto Inugami’s friendship with Watanuki has alerted Zange to the fox’s plot to repeat the Night Parade, which claimed so many supernatural lives over twenty years ago. The residents of Ayakashi Hall rush to confront their enemy, but time is not on their side. Inugami’s plan is not to initiate the Parade in this incarnation-but to revisit the past!

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After enlisting Zange’s help to find Watanuki’s missing friend, the entire group learns of his friendship with Mikoto Inugami. They rush off to confront him but are already too late. Mikoto has traveled to the past, to 23 years ago when everything went horribly wrong. A brief argument ensues about who will follow into the past to stop him. Finally, Watanuki suggest sending letters to their past-selves into the past.

This volume was quite exciting. There was lots of action and the plot is moving forward like a freight train. What will happen next?

Inu x Boku SS Volumes 3 & 4


Summainu x boku 3ry (from Goodreads): The residents of Ayakashi Hall decide to make a time capsule and bury it on the grounds, so everyone writes letters to their “future selves” to be included within. As Ririchiyo composes her letter, she reflects on her time with Soushi, realizing how much she has grown with the fox at her side. But when those heartfelt feelings are accidentally delivered not to her future self but to Soushi, Ririchiyo’s budding social skills will be put to the test! Is she ready for a face-to-face confession of her true feelings?!

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Volume 3 begins with the residents of Ayakashi Hall starting a time capsule. Ririchiyo, trying to be more social, decides to participate, but accidentally mixes up her letter to her future self with one meant for Soushi. Since this letter reveals that Ririchiyo wants “to remain by his side” she immediately freaks out when she learns that he has read it and disappears to hide in a park. Of course, Soushi finds her and the two share a very romantic moment when their feelings for one another are revealed. This was my favorite scene in this series so far. When Ririchiyo comes out of her hiding place and tells Soushi that she loves him, the look on his face is almost heartbreaking. Likely that was the first time he’d ever heard anyone say that to him. The moment they share is lovely, but also funny and a bit awkward as a few kids at the park see them share their first kiss.

The rest of the volume is somewhat silly. Kagerou shows up from time to time, bringing people inappropriate souvenirs from wherever he has been and playing pranks on the residents in the form of signs posted around the building telling them to do this like speaking in a confrontational manner to one another.

This volume isn’t all fun and games though. There are moments when we get a hint of darker things to come.

inu x boku 4Summary: When Ririchiyo returns home for the New Year’s festivities, she is hesitant to admit to her family that her bodyguard is also her boyfriend. Over the past several months, the other supernatural boarders at Ayakashi Hall have become more like a real family to her than any she has ever known. Never have these bonds been more evident than when danger threatens one of her new friends…

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New Year’s has arrived, the yearly cleaning has been completed and Ririchiyo is visiting her family, along with Soushi, when she is summoned by Shimon Satorigahara, a sort of elder for the community of supernatural throwbacks. While still away from Maison de Ayakashi, Ririchiyo is notified that Carta has been attached by another supernatural creature. After being in a coma for several months, Carta suddenly wakes up and wanders off to a park, where she transforms and can’t change back. A battle soon begins with Mikoto Inugami and his Night Parade!

The ending of this volume was very confusing. It seems to have come full circle and thus ended the prologue of the story, or so says the end of the volume.

Well, onto volume 5 to figure out what is going on.

Manga Review – Inu x Boku SS – Volumes 1 & 2

inu x boku 1Summary (from Goodreads): The elite and beautiful Ririchiyo Shirakiin has a bad habit–she can’t help but lash out at people with her vicious tongue, all while hiding behind a mask of haughty cool. This attitude has a lot to do with people minding her business because of the Shirakiin family name, but it troubles Ririchiyo to no end. In search of independence and solitude, she moves to the Maison de Ayakashi, an apartment building full of wealthy tenants and with its own Secret Service. Ririchiyo is eager to be alone, but upon her arrival, she is greeted by Soushi, an SS agent arranged for her by her parents. Ririchiyo tries to turn Soushi away, but Soushi’s dogged devotion to his new mistress will not be deterred. The threat against the residents of the Maison de Ayakashi are not to be taken lightly, after all. And despite his puppy-like demeanor, Soushi is not to be trifled with either…

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Maison de Ayakashi is the home of a certain type of people. Everyone who lives and works there is a genetic throwback of an Ayakashi (or demon) ancestor. Because of this, they are raised very differently than any other children. Often not even knowing their own parents. As a result, Ririchiyo Shirakiin has a “bad habit.” She often lashes out and says hurtful things while hiding being a haughty mask. Ririchiyo is not actually this kind of person and feels terrible after saying hurtful things. She moves to Maison de Ayakashi in order to be alone until she can fix this bad habit. Enter Soushi Miketsukami, a Secret Service agent who professes utter devotion to Ririchiyo and claims that his only reason for living is to protect and care for her. Though she tries to dismiss him from her service, it soon become apparent that Soushi is very good at manipulation and continues to stay by Ririchiyo’s side.

In volume 1 we are introduced to some of the other residents of Maison de Ayakashi, including a former neighbor of Ririchiyo’s, Renshou Sorinozuka, his SS agent, Nobara Yukinokouji, and other resident and SS agent Karuta Roromiya. Near the end of the volume we are also introduced to Banri Watanuki and his SS agent, Zange Natsume.

As far as first volumes go, I think this was a good start to a series. The mangaka knew the series would continue so this doesn’t feel like a manga where possible continuation was up in the air. Ririchiyo is an interesting character with a world of potential for growth. We don’t find out too much about other characters in this volume, but trying to cram much more into this volume would have been too much anyway. This manga is really about Ririchiyo, her relationship with Soushi and how she grows as a person and learns to truly be herself with others.

inu x boku 2Volume 2 

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Volume 2 begins with Ririchiyo, Watanuki and Roromiya back in school. We get to see more of Roromiya and her strange behavior as well as Watanuki acting like a self professed delinquent.  Despite her continued bad habit, Ririchiyo is draw into a little circle of friends by Roromiya and experiences for the first time what it is like to have actual friends.

A bit later in the volume, we are introduced to Kagerou Shoukiin, Ririchiyo’s finace (as arranged by their families) and Soushi’s former “master.” Kagerou is my least favorite character. He divides everyone and everything into S & M (Sadist and masochist) and treats people like they are his slaves.

As the volume progresses, we learn all about Soushi’s past and why he is so devoted to Ririchiyo.

I give each volume 3/5 stars.

Have you read this series? What do you think of it? Share in the comments!