George Asakura – Del Rey – 2005 – 2 volumes

This volume was HUGE and also good. My favorite story by far was the one where the girl took swimming lessons from the guy and the love letter was a very simple thing. That entire story was understated and very sweet. The one with the obnoxious dead older brother who wrote a love letter to a masseuse almost had me in tears, but I disagreed with it fundamentally since the younger brother hated the older one so much. Sadder still. There was the notebook-exchange one, and I liked that one a lot too since it had a pretty involved love letter, as did the fax one at the beginning… oh, they were all good. Buy this series if you like shoujo manga. It doesn’t have great art, but I’m fond of this style now and the stories are quite good. They’re varied enough so that it doesn’t rely on the convention I mentioned last time where the lover is a secret… really that only pops up in the very first story in the first volume and maybe one or two other times throughout the ten/eleven stories. They’re all so good, though.

George Asakura – Del Rey – 2005 – 2 volumes

I was actually quite excited about this series when it first came out, because short story collections are few and far between. It took me awhile to read it though, because my roommate got to it first and told me it was terrible. I remembered it again after stumbling across it on another website that called it a josei series, so I went ahead and took on both volumes at once.

It’s actually not a josei series. Not at all. It stars junior high and high school students. But it gets points for having ugly art like a josei series. It looses them again for having really predictable stories. Because there’s only one boy and one girl in every series, when the letter sender is a mystery student, it’s not hard to figure out that it’s the one male character we know the name of, no matter how unlikely the match (the very first story was guilty of this). But the stories are good and enjoyable all the same. Some almost drove me to tears with their purity. My favorite was about a girl who sent a love letter unsigned and didn’t think the boy would know who it was from. He did, and he begins to intervene in her very troubled life. The last one is also very good, it’s about a love affair between a mailman and a blind cellist. They’re all pretty good. I read both volumes together, so like I said, I can’t quite remember all of what was in this volume, I just remember it was good.

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