Off-topic post: Manga reviews and discussion (second post)

Once again I will be talking about the manga which interests me. Like the previous post, I will be limiting my discussion to Manga Time Kirara manga. In the time between that post and now, two additional manga will be receiving anime adaptations, although it is not yet known when the anime will air.

To refresh everyone’s memories, I will again list the Manga Time Kirara manga which have received or will receive broadcast anime adaptations (with additions).

Manga Time Kirara:

  • Dōjin Work by Hiroyuki (Summer 2007)
  • K-On! by Kakifly (Spring 2009, Spring-Summer 2010, movie on 2011-12-03)
  • Place to Place by Ishiki (Spring 2012)
  • Yuyushiki by Komata Mikami (Spring 2013)
  • Three Leaves, Three Colors by Cherry Arai (Spring 2016)

Manga Time Kirara Carat:

  • Hidamari Sketch by Ume Aoki (Winter 2007, Summer 2008, Winter 2010, Autumn/Fall 2012)
  • GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class by Satoko Kiyuduki (Summer 2009)
  • A-Channel by Kuroda bb (Spring 2011)
  • Kill Me Baby by Kaduho (Winter 2012)
  • New Game! by Shōtarō Tokunō (Summer 2016, second season release TBA)
  • Blend S by Miyuki Nakayama (release TBA)

Manga Time Kirara MAX:

  • Kanamemo by Shōko Iwami (Summer 2009)
  • Kiniro Mosaic by Yui Hara (Summer 2013, Spring 2015)
  • Is the Order a Rabbit? by Koi (Spring 2014, Autumn/Fall 2015)
  • Magic of Stella by cloba.U (Autumn/Fall 2016)

Manga Time Kirara Forward:

  • Dream Eater Merry by Yoshitaka Ushiki (Winter 2011)
  • Hanayamata by Sō Hamayumiba (Summer 2014)
  • School-Live! by Norimitsu Kaihō and Sadoru Chiba (Summer 2015)
  • Anne Happy by Cotoji (Spring 2016)
  • Yurucamp by Afro (release TBA)

Manga Time Kirara Miracle!:

  • Sakura Trick by Tachi (Winter 2014)
  • Gourmet Girl Graffiti by Makoto Kawai (Winter 2015)
  • Castle Town Dandelion by Ayumu Kasuga (Summer 2015)
  • Urara Meirochō by Harikamo (Winter 2017)

If you compare the above lists to the ones in the previous post, you’ll notice that I’ve made some changes. First, I’ve added the season when Urara Meirochō is aired, as this information wasn’t available at the end of July last year. Two additional manga have also had anime adaptations announced, and I’ve listed them in their respective lists. Finally, only a few hours ago, it has been announced that New Game! will be receiving a second season.

Anyway, to the manga themselves. This time, I will only be reviewing one manga. Instead, I will discuss some other manga which I have yet to read, but which have interested me.

The manga I will be reviewing is Tomekichi’s Swap⇔Swap, serialised in Manga Time Kirara Carat. It follows two girls, Haruko Ichinose and Natsuko Nikaidō, who are almost entirely different from each other (the former being a top student with a rather small chest and the latter being a large-breasted “dumb blonde”). When, one morning, they accidentally bump into each other, they inadvertently kiss, and find themselves in each other’s bodies.
Needless to say, this is a yuri series with emphasis on kissing. In this manga, whenever two specific girls kiss each other, they swap bodies, which is what sets this manga apart from other manga in its genre such as Sakura Trick. It also deals with some of the potential issues of, well, needing to be someone else. At the beginning, only Haruko and Natsuko are shown to be able to switch, and only with each other, but as the manga progresses, we are introduced to another couple (Akiho Mishima and Fuyumi Shikata) with this same quirk. One thing I liked is how, given that Haruko is jealous of Natsuko’s breasts, she fondles them almost immediately after swapping bodies the first time. Other things include a specific student’s fluctuation in grades, as well as “Natsuko” being exceptionally good at video games, then suddenly becoming a lot worse after switching.
I’d give this manga a B+ at the moment. I find that this manga relies on its gimmick a fair bit, with the other parts being standard schoolgirl series material. But it does quite well, by showing how the fact that the girls need to kiss to switch can lead to others interpreting it as, well, the girls being in love with each other. Indeed, in the latest chapter I’ve read, a girl who is in love with Haruko challenges Natsuko after seeing them repeatedly kiss.
A bit of trivia, though. Tomekichi was originally a BL (yaoi) and otokonoko (crossdressing boys) author/illustrator. I don’t know why the author switched to yuri, but Swap⇔Swap is Tomekichi’s first yuri work. The names of the girls who can switch are themed; their given names each represent a season (haru = spring, natsu = summer, aki = autumn, fuyu = winter) while their family names are numbered (ichi = one, ni = two, mi = three, shi = four).

There are a number of other Manga Time Kirara manga which have taken my interest. While some of these manga are additional manga by artists whose previous works have received anime adaptations, such as Sō Hamayumiba’s Dropout Idol Fruit Tart (about, you guessed it, dropout idols, serialised in Kirara Carat), Shōko Iwami’s In the Head of S-G-S Children (about three quirky elementary schoolgirls, serialised in Kirara MAX), and many of Cherry Arai’s manga (much of which forms a single continuity with Three Leaves, Three Colors), as well as Makoto Kawai’s upcoming manga Amaetai Hi wa Soba ni Ite, some are by artists who have yet to establish themselves within the Kirara label.
Some of these manga include Fūro Fuzuki’s Olive! Believe, “Olive”? (about a magic club… with actual magic and another world, serialised in Kirara), Izumo Itō’s Machikado Mazoku (a child of a demonic being vs. a magical girl… and they go to the same school?, serialised in Kirara Carat), and Hiroki Haruse’s The Life After Retirement of Magical Girls (a magical girl is shocked to find that her new roommates, former magical girls, are former magical girls not doing anything productive, serialised in Kirara MAX). You may have realised it, but these may have taken my interest by having, well, fantasy elements.
Interestingly, Olive has a fully voiced commercial, but with a little-known voice actress (Manami Honda) voicing the lead, Suzu Tsukinomiya (if this does receive an anime, I wonder if she’ll reprise the role, or will they go for a better-known voice).

I could discuss these manga in detail, but my understanding of Japanese kanji and vocabulary is limited, and to fully translate the Japanese Wikipedia entries, I need hours, mostly for looking up kanji with my dictionary. So, instead, I’ll just link to Wikipedia:
Manga Time Kirara: English, Japanese
In the Japanese Wikipedia, the following currently running manga have their own articles:

  • Three Leaves, Three Colors by Cherry Arai
  • Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro by Satoko Kiyuduki
  • Place to Place by Ishiki
  • Yuyushiki by Komata Mikami
  • Hakoiri Drops by Yū Tsurusaki
  • Slow Start by Yuiko Tokumi
  • Shimekiri Gohan by Aki Konishi
  • Olive! Believe, “Olive”? by Fūro Fuzuki

Manga Time Kirara Carat: English, Japanese
In the Japanese Wikipedia, the following currently running manga have their own articles:

  • Hidamari Sketch by Ume Aoki
  • Harumination by Daioki
  • Kill Me Baby by Kaduho
  • A Channel by Kuroda bb
  • New Game! by Shōtarō Tokunō
  • Blend S by Miyuki Nakayama
  • Machikado Mazoku by Izumo Itō
  • Swap⇔Swap by Tomekichi
  • Dropout Idol Fruit Tart by Sō Hamayumiba

Manga Time Kirara MAX: English, Japanese
In the Japanese Wikipedia, the following currently running manga have their own articles:

  • Kiniro Mosaic by Yui Hara
  • Is the Order a Rabbit? by Koi
  • (A) Strawberry in Soda Water by Cherry Arai
  • Magic of Stella by cloba.U
  • Comic Girls by Kaori Hanzawa
  • Hand Stand! by Arima
  • School Resort! by Ragho no Erika
  • The Life After Retirement of Magical Girls by Hiroki Haruse

Manga Time Kirara Forward: English, Japanese
In the Japanese Wikipedia, the following currently running manga have their own articles:

  • Dream Eater Merry by Yoshitaka Ushiki
  • Hanayamata by Sō Hamayumiba
  • School-Live! by Norimitsu Kaihō and illustrated by Sadoru Chiba
  • Anne Happy by Cotoji
  • Yurucamp by Afro

Manga Time Kirara Miracle: Japanese
In the Japanese Wikipedia, the following currently running manga have their own articles:

  • Sakura Trick by Tachi
  • Castle Town Dandelion by Ayumu Kasuga
  • Urara Meirochō by Harikamo
  • Vivid Monsters Chronicle by Kiki

I would list the finished manga, but it would make the lists too long.

Author trivia:

  • Cherry Arai and Yui Hara have the rather rare distinction of having two of their manga adapted into anime. Hara is the only Kirara artist to have two Kirara manga (Kiniro Mosaic and Wakaba*Girl) adapted into anime (Arai only has one, with the other, Engaged to the Unidentified, being a Manga 4koma Palette manga published by Ichijinsha).
  • Yuiko Tokumi has drawn a lot of Saki fanart.
  • Cherry Arai and Aki Konishi have been drawing manga for Manga Time Kirara since 2003.
  • Shōtarō Tokunō originally worked in the video game industry.
  • Sō Hamayumiba’s original pen name was “Sō”, and had published manga in Manga Time Kirara Forward under this name.
  • cloba.U is also a developer of Flash games and a yuri artist, and some of cloba.U’s inspriations include Namori (author of YuruYuri; it is possible that Namori’s Reset! was the inspiration for Magic of Stella).
  • Kaori Hanzawa was originally a shōjo manga artist, with two manga published in Shueisha’s Ribon magazine.
  • “Ragho” is the circle name, “Erika” is the name of the individual in question.
  • Afro is also the author of Puella Magi Homura Tamura, a humourous take on (redacted because of spoilers for Puella Magi Madoka Magica).

Work trivia:

  • Three Leaves, Three Colors is Manga Time Kirara‘s longest running manga, and has its own side stories, including Seinaru Megumi and (A) Strawberry in Soda Water. Hidamari Sketch is the second longest running manga.
  • Manga Time Kirara MAX is nearly six years older than it’s oldest currently-running manga, Kiniro Mosaic. The previous oldest manga in the magazine, kashmir’s Maru Hon no Jūnin, was only six months newer than the magazine.
  • Conversely, Sakura Trick is the only currently-running manga which began in its magazine’s first issue.
  • (A) Strawberry in Soda Water has the indefinite article in the title in the serialised manga pages, but the volumes omit the indefinite article.
  • Kiniro Mosaic and Is the Order a Rabbit? are often the subject of crossovers due to their somewhat similar themes.

Other trivia:

  • Ai Kayano has had roles in no less than seven Manga Time Kirara adaptations: Isana Tachibana in Dream Eater Merry, Chiho Aikawa in Yuyushiki, Megumi Sakura in School-Live!, Aoi Sakurada in Castle Town Dandelion, Mocha Hoto in Is the Order a Rabbit?, Rin Tōyama in New Game! and Nina Natsume in Urara Meirochō.
  • So far, only five anime adaptations of Manga Time Kirara manga have had second seasons: Hidamari Sketch (+ 2 more seasons & OVAs), K-On! (2-cour second season + movie), Kiniro Mosaic (+ feature-length episode), Is the Order a Rabbit? (+ standalone episode) and New Game!.

That will be it for now.