One hit wonders…in America

One hit wonders…in America

CLAMP. Yuu Watase. Arina Tanemura. These are the most well-known shojo authors in the American market, and each of them have had several of their series licensed in the U.S. However, there are several shojo authors whose talents we’ve gotten taste of because one of their series has managed to make its way stateside yet the majority of their work is stuck in Japan. Here are my favorite prolific shojo authors who I feel don’t deserve to be one-hit wonders in America anymore.

Kaoru Tada

I’m a huge fan of Itazura na Kiss, so it makes sense that I’d love to read another work by the late Kaoru Tada. Of all her other manga, Tada’s most memorable series is probably Aishite Knight, a seven volume manga about a girl named Yakko Mitamura who meets the lead singer of an aspiring rock band. I have a lot of respect for Tada’s ability to infuse her series with charming addictiveness, and I tend to like series that involve show business (Nana, Skip Beat!), so I’m definitely intrigued by this manga. 

Odds of it being licensed: 10 percent. It’s an 80s shojo series, so it’s not likely to become a bestseller. The only company that was willing to take a chance on older shojo series was CMX, which went out of business a few years ago, so I’d say Aishite Knight‘s chances of coming to the U.S seem pretty slim.

Yoshiki Nakamura

I really like Skip Beat!, and I always hear praise for its author Yoshiki Nakamura, whose other works haven’t been made available in America. Aside from Skip Beat!, Nakamura’s most famous series is Tokyo Crazy Paradise, a 19-volume series which started in 1996. Tokyo Crazy Paradise isn’t exactly the type of manga I normally read – the series is about Tsukasa, a girl who was raised to be a boy and gets assigned to be the bodyguard of a mafia leader, and the story takes place in the year 2020. However, Nakamura knows how to simultaneously extract drama and craziness from unordinary situations, and the premise of a girl who comes from a family of policeman being tied to a mob boss sounds intriguing.

Odds of it being licensed: 40 percent. At 19 volumes it’s pretty long, not to mention by most fans’ standards it’s not exactly ‘contemporary.’ But since Skip Beat! seems to be selling decently in the states, I’d say Tokyo Crazy Paradise still has a fighting chance of being licensed.

Ai Yazawa

Okay, so she’s technically a two-hit wonder since two of her works (Nana and Paradise Kiss) have come stateside. But still, Yazawa’s works are still largely underrepresented in the American market. And although I’d be happy to read anything from her, I’m especially interested in the eight-volume series Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai, Yazawa’s first major work. Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai sounds like a pretty straightforward shojo series: Midori Saezima falls in love at first sight with fellow student council member Akira Sudo. But I’d actually love to read Yazawa’s take on a traditional love story – I’m sure she’s got some twist in store, and even if she doesn’t, Yazawa always creates multifaceted characters who are fun to read about. 

Odds of it being licensed: 60 percent. Paradise Kiss just recently got a license rescue, so maybe if it sells well Vertical will consider licensing some of Yazawa’s older works.


12 thoughts on “One hit wonders…in America

  1. I saw a few shots of Tokyo Crazy Paradise floating around the Internet a long time ago. This is a series that intrigued me with its plot. I remember trying to see if it was released stateside and was diappointed to find out that it wasn’t. I really would love to read this series if it ever got licensed.

    1. Yup, I’m definitely curious about the series as well. What’s funny is that the U.S releases of Skip Beat! mention that the series is from the same author as Tokyo Crazy Paradise, which isn’t much of a selling point considering the series hasn’t come here yet.

  2. I really like very cute, sweet, bubblegum shojo manga that graces the pages of Ribon/etc. I feel like they don’t see a ton of stateside releases.

    I’d really like more of Nana Haruta’s titles, the only one released has been Catcus’s Secret. And I also really like Yoko Maki but the only release we’ve gotten has been Aishiteruze Baby. But she’s also done a little more mature stories, too.

    I definitely second your request for Ai Yazawa titles. She is my favorite manga-ka. I’d really like Kagen no Tsuki to see an release, it is a short series! And of course I would like Gokinjo Monogatari to be released.


    1. Thanks so much for commenting!

      There are many Ribon series that haven’t made there way to the states that haven’t been brought over here, even though the magazine is published by Shueisha, which owns Viz. For some reason, Ribon titles have that ‘quintessential’ shojo look that just draws me to them. I also feel like there are many Margaret manga that look interesting but haven’t come yet (Yoko Kamio’s works besides Boys Over Flowers, Parfait Tic!).

      I know I’m not alone in wishing more of Yazawa’s works were licensed, because she’s definitely my favorite manga author as well.

  3. Interesting post ^_^ Ai Yazawa is without a doubt my favourite mangaka and Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai is one of my favourite series. It is very traditional for Yazawa but highly stylised and the characters are fantastic. I have it in Spanish in four ultimate editions and the books are gorgeous. I’ll post a review on my blog soon ^_~

    1. I really liked Paradise Kiss, and Nana is one of my favorite manga so I’m sure her other series would be great. I know the American manga market is far beyond many other parts of the world but I still get jealous of the selection some countries have (especially France since they have a very different shojo selection than we do)! But even if I did take a chance on getting manga in another language, it’d probably cost a lot.

      1. France definitely have more shojo than the English market, Spain and Italy also have a great manga industry and get some of the big titles that you think would be available in English. Germany are really lucky because Tokyopop still publishes there.
        I find the prices on amazon to be quite good but maybe that’s because I’m in Europe and the shipping isn’t so much compared to non EU rates.

    2. I’m definitely jealous of France. They not only have a bigger selection but they have a lot of old school shoujo too. It is times like these I wish I could read French. ;__;

  4. I feel so silly. I love Skip Beat and I’ve been intrigued by Tokyo Crazy Paradise for a while as well yet I never noticed it was written by the same author. D: Well this new revelation makes me want to read it even more! Although I fear what will happen if I start reading the scans. I just know I’ll get addicted again. u__u

    And thanks for the heads up about the Vertical re-release of Parakiss. I read it in the library before and I was planning on tracking down the TP editions, but if it’s getting a reprint by Vertical (which usually has pretty nice quality volumes), I’ll take those instead. 😀

    1. The more I learn about Tokyo Crazy Paradise, the more interesting it sounds, so hopefully someone (coughVizcough) will license it.

      I’m really glad Paradise Kiss is getting a re-release – I’ve watched the anime but I haven’t read the manga yet, so it’s nice to know that if I choose to I won’t have to search for high and low for out of print copies.

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