Unfinished business

Unfinished business

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?


14 thoughts on “Unfinished business

  1. It matters a lot when it comes to finishing a series. I can’t imagine NOT completing a series. I’m one of those people who really wants a complete collection of a series on my shelf. It’s disheartening that I have the complete Tokyopop manga versions of Sailor Moon, but an incomplete anime set for the same series.

    As for not wanting to start a series because I know I won’t be able to finish it, I’m sure there are series I was interested in picking up, but because Tokyopop and CMX are now gone, I think I am a little reluctant to get into it. Series I wanted to pick up but didn’t get to are Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne and Love is Blind, both published by CMX. I think both these series managed to get all their volumes published and translated here in the U.S. but tracking them down will be hard.

    1. I think a lot of my caution about getting into manga that won’t be fully released comes from being burned with incomplete anime releases like Kodocha (which I’m still sad about). At least if the entire series is released, even if the series is out-of-print it’s still possible to finish, and if it’s a series I really want it’s worth tracking down.

  2. I understand the reluctance to start a series you might never complete. The only thing is that for some of these titles, if another publishers sees a demand/hears about it a lot there is the possibility of them picking it up, however slim that might be. But that is pretty much wishful thinking.

    I also LOVE Gakuen Alice, but I think the problem with it for U.S. is that the main characters are very young.

    I do hope people don’t usually wait until an entire series is released to pick it up though, since of course it needs those early sales to have hopes of finishing up.


    1. I agree that there is hope for series that have partially released to be relicensed, but I have to say the chances for CMX’s stuff to be picked up again seem unlikely since they didn’t have many bestselling series. And in the case of Love Attack, I haven’t seen too many people talk about that series so I’m not sure many fans know about it.

      Even though the main characters in Gakuen Alice are young, like you, the people who have given the series a chance love it, so it does at least have a loyal fanbase, which I can’t say is true for some of the other manga on this list.

      As for waiting to pick up series until they’re fully released, if I do this it’s rarely intentionally. I do usually wait until at least a few volumes of a series I’m interested in have come out to start buying it – not because I’m waiting to see if the series will be cancelled but because I hate the wait between volumes and like to read series in big chunks. There are several series I have gotten into only after they were released, but that was because I was either too busy with other series to add another to my plate, or simply because I had never heard of it until after it had been released.

  3. I can’t start a series that I won’t be able to finish but unfortunately it happens sometimes. Two series that I will be disappointed never to see the end of are Gakuen Alice and V. B. Rose (both published by Tokyopop).
    Hopefully some of the old Tokyopop series will get re-licensed and completed. There is hope, Alice in the Country of Hearts was picked up by Yen Press. But I agree that Viz would do well with Gakuen Alice and I think V. B. Rose is perfect Shojo Beat material.

    1. That’s good news about Alice, and it also gives me hope that other unfinished series have a chance of being completed as well. It’s interesting that Yen Press picked that series up – I tend to look to Viz to relicense series because they are the biggest company in the manga industry, but I think it would be nice if some of the other manga publishers grabbed older titles that have gone out-of-print (not to mention, it may be more likely since Viz hasn’t done much in terms of license-rescuing).

    2. Thank you for telling me this! I wanted to pick up Alice in the Country of Hearts but it being incomplete always deterred me. I need to give Yen more love, they have been licensing some nice stuff and saving stuff more often than other publishers. (Now if someone would bring over the game, I would be in heaven….)

      1. I feel the same, I’ve kind of ignored Yen Press for a while but I’m actually quite impressed with their stuff. They are releasing the entire Alice in the Country of Hearts collection on the 26th June as three omnibus editions. I’m really looking forward to having the whole set ^_^

  4. When I start a series, I have to finish it unless its really bad. I hadn’t read any of the titles you mentioned (but now I’m interested), but there are a couple series’ I really enjoyed and the publisher went out of business.

    One from tokyopop that I would add would be Life. They stopped it around volume 10 (20 total) and its a pretty good series as dark and heartwrenching as it can be. Sweet and Sensitive was an ADV title back in the early 2000s that only saw two volumes get released before the company folded. Its a pretty good series and its a shame another publisher hasn’t picked it up yet.

    1. I’m with you about having to finish a series – I hate having incomplete series on my shelf, which is why I’m so reluctant to give up on series that I like well enough but feel are just average. Life is another manga that looked interesting, but the reason I never pursued the series wasn’t because it was incomplete – it was because I had so many other manga I was interested in that I kept forgetting about it. I actually wasn’t even aware it was unfinished until recently. I’ve never heard of Sweet and Sensitive; I’ll have to look that up.

  5. Those all sound quite interesting. Love Attack! is the one the piqued my interest the most because it sounds like something I would like. A shame it’s not complete. 😦

    I actually have two volume of Tokyopop’s Gakuen Alice so I’m really sad to see no one is coming to its rescue. I thought it was pretty good.

    I actually hate incomplete manga. I’ve got Bride of Deimos a 70s shoujo horror that only has 7 out of the 17 volume released in English (by ComicsOne, which has been defunct for quite some time). I thought it was rather interesting so I’m really sad to see it left unfinished. I can’t even read scans of it because no one seems interested in translating it (or most older shoujo works 😦 ) Swan is another oldie I was meaning to pick up but it’s unfinished as well now. 😦

    1. We have similar tastes. 🙂 Love Attack is the unfinished series that seems the most similar to many other series I’ve really liked.

      I’m definitely sad about Gakuen Alice – even though I haven’t gotten very far into it I definitely can see why everyone loves it. I still have hope for it to be relicensed, though.

      I was going to mention the fact that many of the series that were left unfinished by CMX haven’t been translated online, which means that finishing them is literally impossible unless you can read Japanese, so I’m glad you brought that up!

      1. Yeah, I’ve noticed we do have similar tastes. 🙂

        Yeah, it’s pretty much why I hate incomplete works. I’ve been constantly checking to see if anyone picks up Bride of Deimos and a few other Japan-only works by one of my favourite manga artists, but no luck. I’ve resigned myself to never knowing how it finishes. The one saving grace was that BoD was pretty episodic, so there wasn’t a big cliff-hanger or anything. Still I did want to see how the overall story would end given the set up. 😦 Funny thing is the 1 episode OVA was subbed, so I wonder why no one thought of doing the manga.

  6. Oh man, you should try reading more of Seino Shizuru’s works. Love Attack! wasn’t completed yet but so far, it was so good! The male lead also fell in love with the girl at first punch! (just like HYD, like you said.) And just like the guy, the girl is also a delinquent-type. I gotta say this author really has a knack in humor. I almost fell at my chair laughing in this one.

    And yes, I’m recommending “Girl Got Game” (same author) again cause it was already completed. It was a lighter read than Hana Kimi but it was funnier. The art also gets better when you read. The main couple of Love Attack also made a cameo here so you’ll already know the future the previous manga (even if it’s not completed.)

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