Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
And you thought your family was strange? Miki's world gets turned upside down when her parents swap spouses with another couple and all decide to live together under one roof. It only gets weirder when Miki falls in love with her new stepbrother Like a dysfunctional version of the Brady Bunch, Marmalade Boy will hook readers with its odd premise and wacky relationships.
I just recently bought about three different manga, two complete sets and several books of another, online for cheap, and this was one of them. I’d wanted to read this for a while, and I think I might have read volume one before, or watched the anime, if there is an anime? I don’t really remember. I do know, though, that I’d wanted to read the full series. Not seriously enough, though, I guess, to try to find all of the books. When I saw this one online, though, I knew I wanted it. And after reading the first book, I’m glad I got it.
This book was full of general, cliché-like, shojo. And I really enjoyed every bit of it.
In the first chapter of Marmalade Boy, we meet Miki, whose parents are switching partners with another couple. She’s got a crush on one boy, Ginta, although he turned her down and they’re still very close friends, but ends up being stuck with her new step-brother, Yuu, who is obviously going to be the main love interest. Within the first book, we see Miki overreact about her parents and how weird they are (even though they didn't seem all that strange, aside from the switching partners thing), that Ginta still likes her, and that she’s starting to get feelings for her step-brother, although he’s always teasing her, and she meets his old girlfriend. Miki pretends to be asleep at one point and Yuu kisses her, we find out that the rejection, which included a love letter, between her and Ginta was a misunderstanding and he confesses his love to her at the end of the volume. The confession was actually pretty funny, with how abruptly he kisses her, and then they continue yelling at each other before he blurts out that he loves her. I thought it was fun, at least. It’s full of very typical, shojo material, but I enjoyed it fully.
Miki is an alright character. I hope to grow fonder of her later, but right now she’s not too bad. She tends to exaggerate and overreact to everything, which her friends and family are used to. But she’s not too bad so far. I like her best friend, Meiko. She’s a bit more calm, straight-faced, and protective, and I’m looking forward to her storyline, which I’m hoping there will be one. I do like Ginta, he seems sweet and nice, but I have suspicions that he’ll end up with someone else in the series. I also like Yuu. He’s obviously got feelings for Miki growing as well, and I’m just looking forward to watching them grow. I even like their parents, who are all enjoying living in the same house and being with different partners, and who tease and care about and trust their children.
While being a typical shojo, this is a very cute, sweet, endearing read so far. For me, there isn’t quite as much of the more physical romance parts that I would like (at least, I’m assuming there aren’t,) but I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy it nonetheless. I’ve got all eight books, and am really looking forward to reading them. I’m hoping to get through them, but reviewing them will probably slow me down a little.
Now, on to volume two…
Sidenote: Throughout the volume, I noticed in some of the side panels that there were messages from Tokyopop. One mentioning how the book was right-to-left instead of left-to-right like American books, and another about how the school systems are different... I just thought those were interesting, as I hadn't seen them before. Was that common, when Tokyopop first started? And, my main question, did that take away some of the panels the authors wrote, or did they have to make extra space to put them in?
Oh, another thing I noticed that Tokyopop used to do, or sometimes did, maybe when they felt like it: the 'In the next issue/volume of:'. I always kind of enjoyed those, and just thought it was neat seeing one again. Although, I mean, sometimes we never saw another volume, or I already had it, or there just wasn't one of those. It always bothered me that some volumes had it while other didn't.