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.
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.
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.
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.