One hit wonders…in America (take two)

One hit wonders…in America (take two)

When I wrote my last list of great shojo manga authors who have only had one work brought to North America, I knew the list was incomplete. So many of my favorite authors have been largely ignored here that I trimmed my list, and thus I’ve decided to take a look at a few other artists whose catalogues remain mostly in Japan.

Yoko Kamio

Cat Street groupI didn’t think it was possible for me to love any series more than Kodocha or Nana until I read Boys Over Flowers. Kamio knows better than anyone how to create melodrama that’s not annoying to read, and most importantly, how to write a damn good love triangle. Many fans of hers would love to see 2004’s Cat Street licensed, a series about an actress who freezes up on stage and ends up enrolling in a school for “stray cats” – people who haven’t found their place or purpose yet. Like Boys Over Flowers before it, Cat Street was adapted into a live-action drama in 2008, proving that Kamio’s popularity is more than just a fad. As for me, I’m personally interested in Kamio’s later series Tora to Ookami, which is about a girl who ends up in a love triangle with two college boys, all while trying to save her family restaurant from ending up in the hands of a rich corporation!  I doubt I’ll find any other couple in manga who I adore as much as Tsukushi and Tsukasa, but if anyone can do it, Kamio can.

Odds of it being licensed: 30 percent. I’ve seen numerous requests for Cat Street to be licensed, but sadly Viz seems to sitting on licenses of shojo series that aren’t fantasies or straight up romantic comedies.

Chie Shinohara

Shinohara’s 28 volume series Red River is a wonderful epic in which a 15-year-old girl gets transported to ancient Anatolia. But so far, Red River is the only work out of Shinohara’s long manga career to make it to American shores. Shinohara is one of few shojo artists to have won the Shogakukan Manga Award more than once – her first win was in 1987 for Yami no Purple Eye, a series about a girl who begins turning into a leopard. Of all her series, however, I’m most interested in Ao no Fuin, a series about a high school girl who finds out she is the reincarnation of the demon queens Seiryu, and is falling in love with reincarnation of Byakko, the white tiger destined to kill her. I’ve really liked the legend of the Four Gods ever since I first encountered it in Fushigi Yugi, and I’m sure a tale of starcrossed lovers would be nothing but heartracing in Shinohara’s very capable hands.

Odds it’ll be licensed: 20 percent. At 11 volumes, Ao no Fuin‘s not ridiculously long, but it is considerably older than the majority of the manga being licensed today (the series started in 1991). And most importantly, Shinohara’s more mature approach to storytelling seems to be largely ignored by North American licensors, which is really a shame.

Kazune Kawahara

I consider High School Debut much better than it really should be. It’s an average romantic-comedy, yet it feels refreshing thanks to fun lead characters and decidely avoiding common shojo tropes. But what surprised me most about High School Debut was finding out that it’s author had been in the manga industry for quite some time. Along with Sensei!, a 20 volume shojo series featuring a student-teacher romance, I’ve heard good things about Aozora Yell, which features a girl who wants to join the baseball team’s band and play bass in the championships despite the fact that she’s no good at music. Kawahara has a way with comedy, and she’s good at writing determined, cheerful girls, which is enough to make me want to read more of her works.

Odds it’ll be licensed: 50 percent. Kawahara’s works are contemporary enough that I’d say they still have a chance at being licensed, especially since High School Debut is a fairly prominent title within the Shojo Beat lineup.

Wataru Yoshizumi

She’s technically a two-hit wonder since both Marmalade Boy and Ultramanic have been licensed in the States, but I still would love to read some of Yoshizumi’s many works that haven’t been brought here. I’ve always been curious about her older series Handsome na Kanojo, which is about a young girl who is aspiring to be an actress meeting and falling for a boy who wants to be a director. But upon researching her works, even her more recent series such as Chitose, Etc., seem very interesting. Chitose follows a girl from Okinawa who meets a boy from Tokyo. They hit it off and he even kisses her, but when she visits him in Tokyo she finds out he has a girlfriend! Yoshizumi is great at creating quintessential shojo drama and intriguing romance even out of clichéd situations, so I know that if more of her works were brought here I’d be in for a good time.

Odds it’ll be licensed: 35 percent. Yoshizumi’s been out of the limelight in America for awhile now, and while the chances of her older series being licensed are fairly slim, I’d still say her contemporary series like the still-running Chitose, Etc. have a shot of being picked up.

I’m sure there are even more authors whose works being unavailable in English makes me (among many others) groan. If there are any works you’d love to see licensed by authors you’re already familiar with, share your thoughts guys!


13 thoughts on “One hit wonders…in America (take two)

  1. I think I might have mentioned this before, but I definitely wish more of Naoko Takeuchi’s work was released here in the states. A lot of the summaries or scanlations I have seen of her older work aside from Sailor Moon were just as good. I wish they had a chance for an American audience to read them too. I agree with your choice of Yoshizumi and Kamio. I would love to read their other stuff since I’m already a fan of the works that did get published here.

    1. I remember when I was first getting into Sailor Moon I wanted to read more from Takeuchi too. Once you’ve enjoyed a series from an author, you want to see how they’ve progressed as a writer and storyteller.

  2. I think since there is also a High School Debut anime coming out in 2013, it might help get more of Ms. Kawahara’s works out in the U.S. if it is popular. I didn’t really like High School Debut, but I really want Aozora Yell out in English ASAP.

    The work I’d like to see most from Ms. Yoshizumi is Mint na Bokura. It is a comedy about twin brother and sister who enroll in the same school but the brother passes himself off as a girl to do so. Plus it is only 6 volumes.


    1. I’m surprised High School Debut wasn’t animated before. And I’ve also heard great things about Mint na Bokura – actually, most of Yoshizumi’s older works seem to be better received than her contemporary stuff. But I’m curious about both.

  3. I’m one of those fans that wants to see Cat Street. I really enjoyed it. I haven’t read Tora to Ookami yet but I’m sure I’ll like it a lot too. :3 I’ve probably said this like a million times, but I would love to see more from Ms.Tamura. She technically has 3 works published in North America, but one of the is a one shot and the other is a two volume series, so I really consider her more of a one hit wonder too. 😦 I liked Ultra Maniac too, just I wouldn’t mind seeing more from Ms.Yoshizumi too. :3

    1. I’ve found that some people who didn’t even like Boys Over Flowers really liked Cat Street, which is a feat in my opinion. And I see what you’re saying about Tamura – I tend to think of authors who have almost all of their very long works unreleased here ‘one-hit wonders.’ Tamura certainly fits that description, and I know many people who would love for 7 Seeds to be brought here. Another author (who has done both shojo and non-shojo manga) who has technically seen a few of his works released here yet we’re still missing most of his biggest series is Mitsuru Adachi – we’ve gotten Cross Game as well as his short stories like Short Program, but I would love to read his older works that made him famous (Touch; Hiatari Ryoko).

  4. That’s odd – most of Yoshizumi Wataru’s works have been translated into German, so why not into English?
    Handsome na Kanojo is quite nice, although it does get a little ridiculous at times. Seriously, the heroine is sitting on a beach of some tropical island wishing her love interest was there, then turns around and … guess what? But I like it nonetheless. Yoshizumi creates pretty likeable heroines, although they tend to act a little annoying at times. Chitose from Chitose etc. is way too naive and innocent, and the need to always have one “cool” girl opposite the heroine gets old after a while. Minto na Bokura is really funny, though, and I know she has also released some stories for older readers, although none of them was as good as Marmelade Boy.

    I pretty much have everything she ever wrote, some series in Japanese, too, and I must say a few of them aren’t worth translating. Kimi Shika Iranai has a terrible plot, and PxP (which was translated into German by a lecturer of my alma mater xD) isn’t very exciting either.

    1. I find it odd too considering the fact that Marmalade Boy was pretty popular back in the day. Well, I guess I would expect ridiculous plot twists from Yoshizumi since Marmalade Boy was full of them. Her protagonists have never been my favorite either (I found Miki to be annoying), but what she is great at is female friendships. Miki and Meiko are still probably my favorite female friends in anime and manga. Another vote for Mint na Bokura! Now I’m even more curious about it than I already was.

  5. Oh gosh, I am reaaaally holding out for more Yoko Kamio/Kazune Kawahara works!! Their manga seems to have been translated in France (and probably other countries) so why not here?? 😦 I guess licensing and stuff has been harder since less people are buying…? It’s a possibility, I suppose. Still though, Boys Over Flowers was ridiculously popular back when, so there’s still hope for Cat’s Street!

    1. Thanks for commenting! You know, I always wondered how well the Boys Over Flowers manga sold in the U.S. It hasn’t been released in a VizBig edition yet like some of Viz’s other successful shojo series have, but at the same time it did well enough that all 37 volumes were released. But since Cat Street is shorter and more contemporary (and doesn’t have rough artwork like the beginning of BOF does), I’d imagine it selling fairly well if it ever came over here.

  6. I liked the beginning of Cat street, because I’m a typical depressed teenager and could relate so well to Keiko, but it ended up falling flat IMO. It all happened too fast. Keiko’s development felt forced. Plus, I thought the romance was completely chemistry-less and I wish more had been done with the rival character. But it was still enjoyable and her art has improved a lot.

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