I have read many, many manga this year, but here are some of the safe-for-work-safe-for-everyone manga that have piqued interest. For reference, josei are manga targeted towards an older female audience; this can include rather explicit male homosexual relationships, but all of the following manga I listed are rather light romances. A bit of warning– I am doing the summaries by memory, so I do not really name any of the characters.
Cousin, Ikuemi Ryou, as of 6 Jan. 2012, so far scanlated: 1 volume, 10 chapters
Concerning a rather chubby person who just graduated from high school and is now working a part-time job, with her full-time job being a ‘loafer’– off her parents, that is. Like all shoujo girls, she is rather naive in love, and she finally falls in love with this old bartender (I get the feeling he is around mid-thirties). She has an extremely pretty cousin, who is an ‘idol’– this cousin is what the title refers to, and this cousin has actually never appeared in the manga so far, but moves the story along at some points. This manga may have been dropped, because honestly, it is ‘slice-of-life’ and very boring when you compare it to other fiercely sexy joseis. However, for this reason, I really like it. It is boring, it shows someone who is not secretly gorgeous. It is not quite realistic, but in manga, you have to wait quite a while before you find a realistic one. Read
Mishounen Produce, Ichinose Kaoru, 3 volumes, 13 chapters
This would actually fit more under shoujo– light romance mangas targeted towards a young female audience. Mishounen Produce is one of the cliched shoujos, but thoroughly enjoyable because I am a manga-art-snob. The bishonen in this manga are drawn impeccably, reminding me of Perfect Girl Evolution‘s latest chapters where especially Kyohei is drawn to perfection. The plot centers around two childhood friends from the country, who go to an urban school, and get made fun of for their country habits. Therefore, the girl in the pair decides to ‘produce’ the boy, so they will not make fun of him anymore. She does so with great results, and the boy turns out to be a total ladykiller. But it is so obvious he only wants to be ladykiller towards one lady (I wonder who). Overall, Mishounen Produce is a fun, youthful romp through the shoujo wood of pleasure, that I think anyone in the target josei audience would appreciate. Read
Dokuhime, Mihara Mitsukazu, 3 volumes, 19 chapters
*I don’t quite remember the details, but this manga has a bit of sex mentioned, a few suggestive pictures, and is a tad violent, so I would avoid if you are under the age of 16.
Poison Princesses are girls brought up since inception with poison, drinking milk with poison laced in it, surrounded by gardens of poisonous plants, etc. When they grow up, their own bodies are lethal weapons, and even kisses can render a man immobile, and yes, sex will result in death (of the male). They are sent out by their devious queen to topple various kingdoms. The latest story arc is rather gripping, let us just say I am secretly hoping for the Poison Princess to lose her ‘poison’ because after she was sent out from the kingdom, she has not been surrounded by poison. If she can gradually lose her poison, she can love! Love this totally hot bishonen! Of course. Read
Hotaru no Hikari, Hiura Satoru, 4 volumes, 31 chapters
The girl has a fashionable job at an interior design firm but she is secretly a total slob on the inside, does not care about relationships, and loves drinking beer (a lot of it!). One day, a man comes into her home; apparently the landlord’s son, who had thought the house was empty, and thus he thought he could live there. This older man also happens to be the girl’s finicky, precise boss. What do you know? They end up living together. The man is absolutely cute, so cute. I would not say the art is something to swoon over, but their interactions are funny and makes you yearn for something solidly romantic to actually happen between them. Read