June 8, 2012
When Shojo Beat magazine finished, for a long time I had trouble deciding what to read. I began scouring blogs for reviews of shojo manga that had recently been released, trying to find series that appealed to me. When CMX and Tokyopop went out of business, I found out about many shojo series that sounded interesting yet faced just one large problem: they were unfinished. I couldn’t bring myself to start a manga I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish, yet I’m still curious about several series that have been left hanging. Narutaki over at Reverse Thieves also wrote a post about shojo series that have sadly been left incomplete, so I thought I’d share my picks as well.
- Love Attack! This series is about a rebellious girl named Chiemi who’s on the verge of getting expelled unless she can reform the school delinquent, which eventually blossoms into a love story. It’s a refreshing change from the typical ‘bad boy/good girl’ dynamic in most shojo, and I feel like this is a manga I’d really enjoy – I seem to have a thing for male love interests who are reformed delinquents (Kodocha and Boys Over Flowers, anyone?). But since Tokyopop only released the first six volumes of the manga, which is still running in Japan, I’d hate to fall in love with a series I won’t ever be able to finish.
- I Hate You More Than Anyone! This series sounds pretty standard – girl starts to fall for a guy who her best friend also has feelings for – but I’ve never read a manga by Banri Hidaka, and I’d love for this series to be my first. I’ve heard many great things about Hidaka, who knows how to insert silliness into her manga, and the fact that the protagonist’s five siblings play a role in the series sounds fun as well. However, the currently-running manga series, which is up to volume 13 in Japan, was only up to volume nine when CMX shut down.
- Venus in Love. Although the main premise behind this series is a love triangle, Venus in Love seems like it’s pretty different from the rest of the shojo crowd because a). it’s set in college, and b). the female protagonist’s crush can’t decide if he likes guys or girls! So rather than having two guys fighting each other for the attention of the main female character, the heroine in Venus in Love actually has to compete with another guy for her guy’s attention. CMX released eight volumes of this series before they went out of business, leaving the last four volumes hanging. What’s interesting is that completing this series is actually possible – the manga was fully released in Australia by Madman under the title Love for Venus – but is it worth it to try to track down the last four volumes of the series?
- Two Flowers for the Dragon. Even though I tend to go for slice-of-life shojo, I’ve heard nothing but good things about this series. The female protagonist, Shakuya, is the heir to a dragon clan, and prior to the series’ start she is betrothed to a guy who disappears. At the manga’s start, he returns only after it’s been arranged for her to marry someone else. And while I’m a little afraid of the premise of Shakuya turning into an actual dragon, I love that who she will marry is determined by the flower tattoos on her body, which grow larger as her affection for each guy increases. But unfortunately, the last volume had yet to be released when CMX shut down. The last volume.
- Gakuen Alice. This series is undoubtedly one of the most popular that was left hanging in the aftermath of Tokyopop’s demise. I’ve mentioned before that I was reluctant to get into Gakuen Alice because I tend not to be interested in series that have fantasy-elements but are otherwise realistic, but another reason I didn’t want to pursue this series was because I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it. However, I recently read volume one and really enjoyed it, which has only made me sadder that the series won’t be completed in America. At least Tokyopop was able to release sixteen volumes of the (still-running) series, and should any other company consider licensing the series they’d have the opportunity to pick up where Tokyopop left off.
The chances of any of these manga being license-rescued are slim-to-none because most of them were pretty niche in the first place, although I think Gakuen Alice would do well if another company grabbed it (coughVizcough). Even though I think all of these series are interesting, I’m still on the fence about trying any of them out. It’s hard to fall for a series you know you won’t ever be able to (legally) read the end of. Do you guys also refrain from pursuing series you know you won’t be able to finish? Or does being unable to finish a series simply not matter to you?