Sadly, I haven’t been reading a lot of manga lately. What I have been dedicating my graphic novel-reading time to has been quality stuff, though.
Nisekoi is a popular anime series, with laugh-out-loud hijinks and a palpable angsty romance. The manga is refreshing in that it isn’t outrageously ridiculous on every page (the anime is a little over the top), and we get inside the protagonist’s head a little more. He’s a sweet, quirky guy with a childhood romance that he just..can’t…quite remember. Of course. The plot is cliche, but the weird characters make it worth reading. The love interests (the forced love, and the girl next door) are strange in their own ways, which are super endearing. They’re very different girls, and they’re also friends, which makes for an interesting dynamic between the trio. I think a couple more girls show up after volume 2, which means Nisekoi starts to go a little harem anime on us, but again, the quirky characters keep it interesting. A definite to-read if you’re into romantic comedy manga.
Whispered Words is something totally different. You know how we all want to see more diversity in the world of YA Literature? Well. Whispered Words fits the bill. I have been wanting more contemporary LGBT romance in my YA Lit, and here it is. The protagonists, Sumika and Ushio, are gay. They only like girls. Ushio has a thing for cute girly-girls, while Sumika is straight up in love with her bff Ushio. Meanwhile, a couple of classmates develop crushes on tall, dark, and athletic Sumika. Ushio harbors multiple crushes for cute girls in her class and that she sees around town. Watching Sumika deal with this is a little heartbreaking, but it is so..just..empowering that their friendship remains strong throughout fights and misunderstandings and unrequited love from all sides. The only thing I wanted more of from volume 1 was emotional intensity. Sometimes the girls seems a little bland, like they weren’t really feeling anything strongly. That could have been the original writing, or it could have sometime to do with the translation. Regardless, I am really looking forward to seeing how the girls’ relationship develops in volume 2. You might like Whispered Words if you enjoy LGBT contemporary romances or original slice-of-life manga.