I grabbed a copy of the Kodocha manga volume one with some christmas money, because I'm a big fan of the anime.
What I'm-a talkin about: "Kodocha" manga volume one!
Released by tokyopop, this manga by Miho Obana was first done in 1994 and has been released in America just this June. It was the basis for an anime series that ran quite long and was very popular in Japan and is very popular with American shojo otaku. The manga is actually only ten volumes, but that's because it's a bit faster paced.
It's the story of Kurata Sana (family name first, given name second), an 11 year-old child actress who stars in the weekly schoolroom comedy show called Kodomo no Omocha, also the name of the actual story. It means "Child's Toy." Sana is a very excitable young girl, often running around and being hyperactive, bursting into cutesy and energetic song.
But Sana has a huge problem, and that's Hayama Akito! He's in her grade 6 class, and he's the boss monkey of all the boys who do nothing but turn the class into a mess and terrorize the teacher. What does Hayama have on the teacher that lets him get away with this?
That's only how the story starts out, if it had stayed on that tact for long it would've gotten annoying, but things move FAST in this book. Sana figures out how to fix Hayama and in the process discovers that he's a very emotionally troubled young boy, with a horrible family life.
That's what Kodocha is about, all these kids have issues, and it really pulls at the heartstrings. Sana tells Akito that she wants to help him and he asks for her to kill him. !!!
There are lots of characters in the series, and most of them are pretty deep or at least portrayed well. You'll like most everybody!
The art is really superb IMO, Obana has a great shojo style and a real sense for fashion (which is very important in shojo manga). Sana's clothes tend to change every few pages, and she has some real cute outfits. ^_^
The differences between the manga and the anime: no Babbit, and I miss him. Also, Zenjirou is not the teacher of Sana's show. As a matter of fact, Sana's show is not as important as it is in the anime, where it seems like she does it every day after school. In the manga it's only on sundays.
There are also some specific ways that some characters phrase things that change. sometimes I like it more or less. Akito comes right out and tells Tsuyoshi that he feels he doesn't deserve Sana's attention. That really hit me.
The first volume of the manga is comparable to the first six episodes of the anime, I think. So that will give you some sense of what's in it if you have seen the show.
A great feature of the manga is that Obana has little columns every few pages where she just talks to you about things. Either stuff that happened in her life that influenced the book or something about a character. It's like director's commentary and it's really great. Obana-san seems like a really nice lady. ^_^
Also, the english adapter, Sarah Dyer, added some nice cultural reference explanations in the book, too, which help sometimes.
Final Score: 92.
I love shojo manga, because I best like things that I connect with emotionally first and foremost. The characters are all endearing and the story is really engaging. If you like shojo, you should definitely read it!
Now I'm gonna go work on reading The Matrix and Philosophy, which is really coming together great. I hope to finish it before too long, though my job search might hinder that. I may end up doing the review of Meeting People is Easy first.