I got the first volume of this for two bucks, but I had to order this one off the internet as I could only find it for full price around Chicago (I paid 4 for the second volume). It was worth the extra internet inconvenience though, because it is really different. Honest.
In this volume, the two girls have their friendship tested when they start dating… boys. The main girl also has to go through an extra trial when her chosen boy wants to go study in America and persue his dreams instead of love. Oh! The old-style shoujo angst! I love it.
You’re not going to find a really deep, meaningful resolution to the series here, but the characters continue to get depth, and the story continues to be fairly engrossing. I can’t say too much more than that, because, really, it is a slice-of-life series and there’s not too much to critique about it because not too much happens, but I still like it a lot. It’s quite wonderful, and definitely worth tracking down both volumes. I got my whole… six bucks out of the series.
I think I’ve waxed poetic about Tomoko Taniguchi before, but seriously, if you can get ahold of any of her books, do it. She’s good if you like shoujo, and her stories read a lot differently than most of the contemporary, drama-tastic stuff I usually read.
Take “Just a Girl,” for instance. It was written in the early 90s, and admittedly, it kind of shows. I don’t know if this is just her style or the style of the story at the time, but it’s like a breath of fresh air to see a shoujo heroine’s life uncomplicated by massive backstabbing and huge romantic triangles. We get small tastes of these things, but it’s on such an innocent and small scale, it reads as really adorable and good for kids. I liked it a lot.
Basically, the heroine’s family moved away so she now has to stay at the dorms at the high school she chose. She brings along a posse of stuffed animals that she talks to and makes her the subject of ridicule by some of the other girls. Through a great deal of effort on her part, she makes friends with a girl who seems to snub everyone else and is an outcast amongst all the other girls at school. Most of the first volume deals with these two settling in at school, learning about each other, and making friends with some of the other students.
And that’s it. It’s kind of like an earlier version of Fumi Yoshinaga, except there’s slightly more plot and it’s slightly more mundane than a Yoshinaga series. But I still liked it quite a bit. The characters all come off as pretty genuine (if a bit dopey, sometimes) and the problems also all seem legitimate and not like something that would never happen in a million years, like, being turned into a sex slave by a neighbor or something like that. None of that here.
And there’s a second volume where things get even deeper.