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Old 2012-01-30, 23:03   Link #1
DonQuigleone
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Age: 25
Looking for good Romance/Drama Manga

Looking for some good romance/drama manga as the title says. Some caveats though. I don't want:
* Anything too depressing. I don't mind a bit of tragedy, or even a bad ending, but I don't want something that's continuously about how utterly terrible life is.
* Clichéd, I've read a fair amount of Romantic/Drama/Shojo manga already, I'd like something that doesn't follow the same old same old formula.
* Set at a school. I'm not completely barring School life manga, but they tend to be clichéd in my experience. If it's really unique I won't mind so much.
* Mainstream Shojo, I don't want to read yet another story about a girl crushing on some jerk-ass rich guy. If it's shojo, it has to be way above average.

What I do want:

* Older characters, I've gotten tired of teen angst.
* Short, I don't want a manga that goes on forever without resolving anything. 3-7 volumes seems a good length.
* Deep Characterisation, I'd like to know how the characters tick. I don't mind leads who are a bit dysfunctional either, so long as they're not self obsessed and emo.
* Finished being translated, not a hard requirement, but I prefer if possible for the manga to be finished.
* Unpredictable, I like being surprised, and I don't mind is it's not a typical "happy ending". But I don't want to feel like I've already read the story before. There needs to be tension! Suspense!

Obviously, it goes without saying that I want something where I can get attached to the characters, see them grow and get to feel nice and fuzzy inside. Romance isn't an absolute precondition ( I'll settle for building friendships, or familial bonds).

Some Manga\Anime with Romance\Drama elements I've particularly liked:
* Usagi Drop
* Kuragehime
* Nodame Cantabile
* Honey and Clover
* Otoyomegatari
* Onani Master Kurosawa
* The Tatami Galaxy
* Kemono no Souja Erin
* 5 cm per second

That's not the limit of the Drama or Romance manga I've already read, but it was what I liked best. I've read/watched a lot of Shojo, but the only one I remotely liked was Ouran High School Host club (mostly for it's bizarre comedic sense), hence my pessimism for Shojo romance manga. I'd be happy to have that view corrected though.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by DonQuigleone; 2012-01-30 at 23:14.
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Old 2012-01-31, 00:17   Link #2
Obelisk ze Tormentor
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Have you read a Shoujo manga called Little House with an Orange Roof? It’s about two divorced families who are forced to live together under one roof after they got scammed. It’s pretty light but not without substance, its main characters are mature single parents, not in school setting and not about a girl who has a crush on some jerk rich boy. It’s already ended and done translated and also not too long imo. Another minus for this manga is maybe it won’t provide you with enough suspense like what you’re looking for, but it’s still there (more or less). The overall story is mature SoL.

Sorry if you've already read this.
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Old 2012-01-31, 00:33   Link #3
jedinat
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Help!!
Miman Renai
Emma
Jinbe
Koi Kaze
Miriam
Kakumei no Hi
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Old 2012-01-31, 02:07   Link #4
Bonta Kun
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Hmm would be nice to have a full list of what you've read but let me have a whack at this anyway.

First off You're My Girlfriend(), this is great little short that I will always make a point of being my all time favorite shoujo.
It is high school themed but it's short, it's sweet and it's bloody hilarious!

Koukou Debut, now actually thinking back on it I'm not actually sure I can say whether or not it's cliched to a degree tbh but since I consider it one of my top favs I'll give it a shout anyway.
Title gives it away but yea also highschool themed.

NG Life, this one is also quite hard to sum up thinking back on it so I'll just give a small summary.
A shoujo with male lead guy that remember's his past life and the people in it, with most of them being reincarnated as friends or famliy in present day Japan during highschool. Don't let that put you off tho, this is very very good and I found it a blast to read.
Also a top fav of mine(been trying to get the manga for quite some time but proving difficult to get the first few volumes)
Note: Some I guess you can say gender swapping going on here.

Akagami no Shirayukihime, a kinda historical story thats abit of aslow bruner in regards to the romance, it's only really taken flight now at the around the 30 chapter mark but this is great little story.
Art is top notch here.
Note: Not finished.

Thats about all I can think of for shoujo stuff.

Some other stuff

Yasashii Sekai no Tsukurikata, tricky one to recommend as it's very very very slow going being a quarterly series(one big reason why I hate this series actually) and at only 5 chapters so far but 5 great chapters at that I may add.
Genius young man(19 I think it was) that ends up as a teacher at a all girls school and as you'd expect ends up getting "involved" with the students(I know sounds rather cliche don't it?) but at only 5 chapters should worth a look.
Also I really like the art here so thats a plus in my eyes
Another top fav of mine.
Note: Not finished.

Kanojo wa Kanno Shosetsuka, groovy seinen that deals with a erotic novel writer and her new editor(note that the guy in this does suffering from the nosebleed syndrome but that shouldn't really get in the way of enjoying this well it didn't for me anyway)
Another fav!
Note: Not finished(is a completed series but not finished scantlated)


I will 2nd Little House with an Orange Roof altho I do believe it's Seinen.
Odd sense of realism to this seires tho, it's like it feels kinda grounded but at times just floats off somewhere, rather fluffy I guess.
Great stuff none the less.

Pretty sure I'm missing a few obvious choices as usual.
Well hope you check em out and enjoy em and if you've already read them then great but if you didn't enjoy them then that makes me a sad puppy(I gotta big up my favorites whenever I can!)
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Old 2012-01-31, 08:15   Link #5
DonQuigleone
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Age: 25
@ Little house with the orange roof: read it previously, it's okay, but not a top pick for me.

@ Emma, I've always considered it, but then, if I wanted victorian Romance, I'd read Austen. But maybe i should give it a try after all.

@Miman Renai: seems interesting

@Yasashii Sekai no Tsukurikata: Read already, that one was pretty good, pity more of it hasn't been translated.

@Kanojo wa Kanno Shosetsuka: Read, Not bad

@The shojo suggested: I'm pessimistic, but I'll give them all a 2 chapter test and report back.

I got work to do for the next few hours, but keep the suggestions coming. I'll try them all out this evening.

@Bonta-kun: I would have given everything I read previously, but it would be very long, and it would have taken me an ungainly amount of time to Figure out. Also there's a lot of stuff I've read a chapter or 2 of, but not the whole thing.

Last edited by DonQuigleone; 2012-01-31 at 08:30.
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Old 2012-01-31, 12:26   Link #6
jedinat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
@ Emma, I've always considered it, but then, if I wanted victorian Romance, I'd read Austen. But maybe i should give it a try after all.
Emma is great and bears little resemblance to Austen's work which doesn't pay much attention to the lower class (well I've only read P&P and S&S)... Anyways you should like it if you like Otoyomegatari. Both are among my favorite manga.
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Old 2012-01-31, 16:33   Link #7
Shingai-san
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Join Date: May 2010
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Yume De Aetera The story focuses upon a salaryman who is basically a sap. Anyways, meets woman, woman is reluctant.
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Old 2012-01-31, 22:10   Link #8
DonQuigleone
Knight Errant
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Age: 25
Here's some first impressions:

Yume de Aetara: Okay, but feels a bit too much like wish fulfillment, and is a bit overly long. Maybe

You're my Girlfriend: I really enjoyed that. Quirky, will continue. Good leads.

Koukou Debut: Not so much, it is a bit clichéd, particularly the negative jerk "popular with girls" male lead. I've never found the "thawing the male lead" thing appealing. Maybe cause I'm a guy.

NG Life: I was skeptical of the premise, but the first chapter was surprisingly good, and the setup is ... unique. I'll give it another few chapters and see how it goes.

Akagami no Shirayukihime: This was decent, I'll give it a few more chapters see how it goes, I'm not keen on princes and rescuing, but it's not too bad here. Female lead is smart too, which helps.

Yasashii Sekai no Tsukurikata: Have read already, it's good, but the slow releases are indeed a drag.

Kanojo wa Kanno Shosetsuka: Have read already, a bit too H for what I'm looking for though.

Help!!: On the fence, but I might read the whole thing anyway given it's short length. Main girl a bit too innocent.

Miman Renai: On the fence, I'll give it a few more chapters to see how it develops. It could go either way depending on it's execution. Main girl a bit too innocent again.

Emma: I was probably going to read that at some point anyway.

Jinbe: A bit slow, I'll pass on this one.

Koi Kaze: The first chapter was fairly good, but the Bakaupdates page says incest...

Miriam: Not really in the mood for a western.

Kakumei no Hi: I've read it already.

Thanks for the suggestions guys, these should keep me going for a few weeks. The shojo titles are particularly good because I find it difficult to look for good shojo, mostly because of the male leads which I find difficult to empathise with (I'd want to deck them in real life...).
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Old 2012-02-01, 00:25   Link #9
MeoTwister5
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Where I can learn to be lonely.
Age: 29
Would you mind longi-ish mangas (100+ chapters) but already finished?
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Old 2012-02-01, 01:25   Link #10
Irenicus
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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I was going to second everything Bonta said, and then I note how the Don is quick with his trigger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Yume de Aetara: Okay, but feels a bit too much like wish fulfillment, and is a bit overly long. Maybe
Same author as Little House. The author is cheesy. Old school soap opera cheesy, no question about it.

Good-hearted old school cheesiness is a craving from time to time, but I think you probably aren't in the mood for her works going by your OP request.

Quote:
You're my Girlfriend: I really enjoyed that. Quirky, will continue. Good leads.
She's the author behind the longer shoujo works, Special A and Seiyuu Ka~. If you like the quirkiness, you might enjoy them. I think Special A dragged around too much though, and it's most certainly shoujo manga through and through.

Quote:
NG Life: I was skeptical of the premise, but the first chapter was surprisingly good, and the setup is ... unique. I'll give it another few chapters and see how it goes.
It's really fun. Do continue on. Irenicus seal of approval.

Quote:
Akagami no Shirayukihime: This was decent, I'll give it a few more chapters see how it goes, I'm not keen on princes and rescuing, but it's not too bad here. Female lead is smart too, which helps.
She'll keep being smart, and being proactive and a strong person in her own right. Because of that, it remains at least as good as it starts off, which is more than can be said than many romance manga, and it probably gets even better over time as you get into it.

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After going through MU for a bit to refresh my memory:

Oh, and finished unless I say otherwise.

Shoujo x Josei
  • Cat Street, from the author of the super popular Hana Yori Dango, but different, shorter, more mature, much less jerkassery to go around, thank the gods.
  • Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (His and Her Circumstances), is really long, shoujo and school life and drama. Why am I recommending it? It's a, well, a seminal work.
    If you can't take it all at once, sample her style in the later, and much shorter (also not as amazing IMO) Eensy-Weensy Monster.
  • Kimi wa Petto, Josei fun. A working woman, a scruffy pretty boy who wants to be her pet, and their life together. Unlike many josei works, which seem to have a propensity for the universal code that Mature means Life Sucks, You Suck, You Worthless Mediocrity, this one actually has a heart and a sense of humour.
  • Tonari no Kaibutsu Kun, one of those really good, heartful shoujo that are just better than the premise permits. The characters are lovable, and I think that's probably your most important criteria is it not? Ongoing.
  • W Juliet, famous for being good. A bit of acting, a bit of gender bender, a lot of heart. Twice as long as your requested length. XP
  • Michibata no Tenshi, if you like W Juliet. Same author as the above, but much shorter and with a fantasy setting. It has a lovely main character bonding with lovely people. Finished, but scanlation isn't.
  • Karakuri Odette, there's some romance here (and shipping with pretty boys~), but the chief charm of this manga is how its childlike robot protagonist learns to become human, making good friends and discovering her own heart. I'm partial to all the author's works, but this early work is by far her most heartfelt.
  • Sarashi Asobi, a little work about a Shinigami who falls in love with a human. Short and sweet.

Other
  • Orange Marmalade, go crazy over romance drama between an icy vampire girl and a handsome young man! In case you're in the mood for fanboying on something better than Twilight. Full color and very pretty art. Webtoon. Ongoing. Slowly. Prepare your heart. XP
  • Golden Days, semi-historical manga about a young man sent in time back to early Showa Japan and gets mistaken as his grandfather. BL, but not explicit (subtle and sweet in fact). I recommend this because it simply is just that good. Really, really, really good. Finished at 8 volumes, scanlation ongoing.
  • Ashita Dorobou, the best love triangle ever made (how do you get out of that?) in an exciting manga when an alien comes to Tokyo. Quirky, fun, entertaining. May want to wait a bit with it though, finished but scanlation is still ongoing.
  • Solanin, you might have heard of Asano Inio, one of Japan's best seinen mangaka. I'm not a fan of his works -- they're good, really good, but they subscribe firmly to the Life Sucks model of storytelling. But I cannot let my personal bias to deny you from trying him. Solanin is his least harsh work by far, a short two volume slice of life story where nothing much is happening but somehow it's full of things to say.
    His masterwork is Oyasumi Punpun, but I don't think you're in the mood for that.
  • Brothers, from 1990 (in case you feel retro). It's about two brothers in love with their sister (aka, incest) but it's really more of a charming slice-of-life look into the three characters. Don't expect conclusions, it's literally just a slice of life. The author is actually a lot more famous for other things.
  • Sekine-kun no Koi, it's really just starting out but -- ahahaha -- if you want a tragicomedic take on the problem of being too popular, and an amusingly broken protagonist, there it is. Seinen, ongoing. And he's really broken to the core, the poor thing.
  • Love Allergen, so sparkly people think it's shoujo! A very pretty boy with an allergy who's trying to hide himself, an innocent local princess who has her own allergy, her level-headed friend, and a girl who's in love with the boy since long ago, in a rural setting and a dash of the supernatural. Light-hearted, warm-hearted, and lovable, but you may have a bit of a problem with the youth of the characters, especially since he's really dense. Ongoing, scanlation caught up.

There's plenty more I did not recall, but I guess this is quite a number to start with, no?
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Old 2012-02-01, 10:18   Link #11
DonQuigleone
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
Same author as Little House. The author is cheesy. Old school soap opera cheesy, no question about it.

Good-hearted old school cheesiness is a craving from time to time, but I think you probably aren't in the mood for her works going by your OP request.
It is a bit cheesy all right. You're right that it's not quite what I'm looking for.

Quote:
She's the author behind the longer shoujo works, Special A and Seiyuu Ka~. If you like the quirkiness, you might enjoy them. I think Special A dragged around too much though, and it's most certainly shoujo manga through and through.
I might try those at some point in future.

Quote:
It's really fun. Do continue on. Irenicus seal of approval.
I was really quite surprised. Shoujo Manga about reincarnated Pompeiians sounds so bad in principle, in execution it's quite amusing though. Good leads too.

Quote:
She'll keep being smart, and being proactive and a strong person in her own right. Because of that, it remains at least as good as it starts off, which is more than can be said than many romance manga, and it probably gets even better over time as you get into it.
Well as long as she doesn't devolve into damsel in distress syndrome I could see myself continuing to read it.

@ Manga suggestions: Will go through these at a later date. I've got enough for now, Thanks!
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Old 2012-02-01, 11:36   Link #12
Paranoid Android
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Not a fan of romance manga (can't stand fanservice/moe/harem), but I like your preferences (usagi,honey&clover and 5cm). I'm gonna also steal a few of those titles I haven't heard of from your thread here. ^^

Really liking that You're my Girlfriend.

I wish I knew which of these titles punch a hole in the reader's chest. D: Particularly the realistic ones that makes the reader think about something personal they don't want to.
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Old 2012-02-01, 16:33   Link #13
Bonta Kun
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Resides within the depths of Ned infested Glasgow
Ahh totally forgot about Cat Street and Tonari no Kaibutsu Kun, those 2 are def a good read, worth your time they are.

And also same with Orange Marmalade, very amusing title.

On the note about few others, I will point out that Special A as Irenicus says does drag a bit at times but Seiyuu Ka~ is pretty good.

Also about Akagami no Shirayukihime I guess I should point out she does fall into a damsel in distress moment at a later point altho given the circumstances it can't really be helped, it's something she can do very little about tbh compared to other shoujo where it's damsel in distress at every turn concerning even small stuff.
Don't let that put you off until you read it tho, it's actually pretty good stuff and surprisly good character building.

Few others I remember, you could give Toshiue no Hito a whirl, it's of a mature nature but pretty good stuff all around, same author as Nana to Kaoru.
Kimi no Sei, about a guy falling in love at first sight with a girl that happens to be someone he bullied during his elementary school days, he doesn't remember but she does.
Scanlations aren't done and not sure we'll see em anytime soon but it's already a finished series.
Pretty good read from what I recall, think I'll have to read it again tho, been a while.
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