EDIT: THEBETTERCUP AND I HAVE REPLACED HANASAKU IROHA WITH KURAGEHIME. READ ABOUT IT HERE: www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/kuragehime-by-akiko-higashimura/
Also I replaced Taiyou no Ie with Haru x Kiyo which you can read about here: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/romance-manga-review/
And also I am adding Ao Haru Ride, whose manga was one of the best ever, this will make the list round out to ten instead of nine. I talked about the anime here: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/three-anime-review-day-2/
Also Horimiya is replaced by Kengai Princess read here: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/kengai-princess-by-aida-natsumi/
TheBetterCup and I are saps for romantic type manga. Even though we may not have the exact same tastes in manga, we can wholeheartedly agree on at least a small list of our very favorite ones. We basically agree on all of these (except one that TheBetterCup has yet to read that I recommend, and one that I have yet to read that she recommends. But we told each other the plot and agreed that we liked them. Besides she loved hers too much not to include it, and I respect that). Anyways so now we will present our top favorite romance manga.
Reading this manga not only made me laugh my buns off, but it also made me cry like a baby when I reached the end. Kaichou wa Maid-sama! is about Misaki Ayuzawa, the first female student council president of a once all boys school called Seika. The rowdy male population of the student body is not exactly accepting of its new co-ed standards, and the female minority suffer and cower from the reckless majority. Misaki decides to take matters into her own hands, and tries to reform the school into a safe environment (Who am I kidding. Shes trying to make it into an actual school).
Kaichou wa Maid-sama!
Misaki trains long, studies hard, and does a dang good job as the student council president, and this has brought her the reputation of an “uptight boy-hating demon dictator” among the guys and hope for the girls. Here’s the best part though, to support her family she takes a part time job, which she is embarrassed would ruin her tough-as-nails image. She works in a maid cafe. She tries everything to keep this a secret, but one day the most popular boy at school, Takumi Usui, discovers her secret. Usui is smart, athletic, and has a cool demeanor, but as the story progresses Misaki finds out that his life isn’t perfect and that he hides a couple of skeletons in his closet.
Overall this is a wonderful manga and definitely worth reading. There is a whole cast of awkward, colorful, and confused characters, that just like Misaki and Usui struggle to accept themselves. A warning though. This manga is one giant ridiculous cliche. Its sappy as heck and predictable at times (but I loved it so much!)
Taiyou no Ie
Taiyo no ie focuses on the story of Motomiya Mao and her childhood friend, Nakamura Hiro. Mao is a high school student whose relationship with her parents have never been good. As her family broke apart when she was young, her father has kept himself distant with her and started a new family instead. Through unhappy circumstances, Mao as lost her place in the home. She starts to live with her childhood friend, 23 year old Hiro, whose household and family have always felt like home to her. She helps Hiro to accomplish his goal that one day his brother, sister, and Mao would once more live together.
Taiyou no ie is slice of life, romance, and shoujo manga. Mao is a stubborn character that bottles up her emotions and thoughts. She is always tough and childlike (but not a whiny baby or an idiot), she becomes pleased when she finds out she has a home to go to where someone will be waiting for her. Hiro, on the other hand, is very motherly. He takes care of the home and of the people he cares for. Slowly they have a budding romance that is not weighed down by angst.
Ok, it seems that most of the manga I pick center around a character who is misunderstood or struggling with their identity, and I will tell you right now that this manga falls into that category. The story of Kimi ni Todoke focuses on a girl, Kuronuma Sawako, nicknamed Sadako by her classmates, because she looks like the yuurei from “The Ring” (what makes it worse was it started in elementary school. What the heck!?).
Kimi ni Todoke
In reality, Sawako is a timid, sweet girl who longs to be liked by others. Since everyone fears her (and spreads rumors that she has powers and sees ghosts) she is always alone, and this causes her to admire a popular boy in her class, Kazehaya-kun. He is “100% refreshing,” meaning his personality is liked by everyone. Once Kazehaya starts talking to her, however, she begins to open up to her class and even make true, long-lasting friends (her friends are very weird, just like her, and also struggle with acceptance; however, they are wonderful people and very supportive). Eventually, Kazehaya and Sawako find out they “like” each other, and the two of them face “high school” obstacles like bullies, love drama, and finding out what they want to do with their lives after high school.
The part that gets me is that the entire time she thanks Kazehaya for all the changes in her life, but in reality its all because of how awesome she is that all she needed was for others to see that.
Hanasaku Iroha centers around a sixteen year old girl names Matsumae Ohana. One day, her mother decides to elope with her boyfriend and run away from debtors. So, she sends Ohana to live with her estranged grandmother. Ohana moves from Tokyo to the countryside. While there, her grandmother makes her work at their hot springs inn, and Ohana makes it her goal to become the perfect hostess.
Hanasaku Iroha is a coming of age, slice of life, and romance manga. The romance is not a main focal point in this one, but both Ohana and her friend have love stories blooming. Ohana is an optimistic heroine who is strong willed and realistic. Her best friend, Koichi, confesses to her in the beginning, but she does not realize her feelings till after she left Tokyo and him. While working in the hot springs inn, her new coworker, and friend, Minko has her own love story going on as well which Ohana accidentally gets mixed in to.
So this story is a little different because it revolves around a male high school student, Ryuuji Takasu. He has a gentle personality (like a puppy), but because of his eyes everyone thinks he is some intimidating delinquent (so he has almost no friends). In his second year of high school he is put into the same class as his best and only friend, Yuusaku Kitamura, his hidden crush, Minori Kushieda, and Minori’s best friend, Taiga Aisaka.
But Taiga has an infamous reputation as the school’s “Palmtop Tiger”. Her delicate, child-like appearance contrasts with her brutal personality, and when Ryuuji accidentally bumps into her she takes an instant dislike towards him. Eventually, Ryuuji learns that Taiga is his neighbor (he lives in a dinky apartment with his mother, but Taiga lives all alone in a huge, brand new apartment building). He also learns that Taiga likes Yuusaku, so they agree to help each other get closer to their love interests. Taiga takes advantage of Ryuuji, getting him to do her chores and feed her (but she was just very lonely). They spend a lot of time together, and they see sides of each other no one else sees (but they do try to help each other with how others see them). Eventually Ryūji and Taiga confess their true feelings of love towards each other.
Okay, so all of the manga I talk about I love equally, but if I have to sell one of them to ya’ll, this would be the one I would be shoving down your throat. Why this one? Well each of them have their flaws, but I just loved Taiga and Ryuuji. Ones gentle with a brutal exterior, and the other is the exact opposite. Even though I prefer the magical world of Kamisama Kiss or the very strong character of Misaki, I find that this manga reaches a nice place where the pros balance out the cons.
Horimiya is one of the nicest manga I have read. It is about a young girl named Kyoko Hori who acts differently at home then she does at school. Her parents are always working, so she ends up doing all the housework and taking care of her younger brother. So she does not have a normal social life. One day she meets a young boy from her class, Izumi Miyamura, that also seems different at school and outside of it. Miyamura goes from being quiet and bookish to being a friendly boy with tattoos and piercings whose grades suck. Together they learn each other’s secrets and share a part of their lives that no one else knows.
Horimiya is a comedy, slice of life, and shonen romance (I had no idea, it reads like a shoujo). Hori is a popular, energetic, and hardworking girl. She is strong and really independent. She falls in love with Miyamura who is laid back, shy, and awkward. He is covered in tattoos and piercings that he has to keep covered up. He has a hard time making friends and tends to space out easily, but he would do anything for Hori. The story goes through their relationship and how it helps them be themselves outside of their homes.
OK, so this story is also about a high school girl (not surprising) named Nanami, but it has a little more magic in it then the other manga I picked. This is kind of like the girly, modern day version of Inuyasha with a human girl finding herself in a world of yokai, yada yada yada she falls in love and what not. So, one day Nanami’s butt face father runs away because of his gambling debts, and Nanami (all alone because her mom is dead, and she has no relatives) is evicted and left to wander the streets.
As she, a shelter-less orphan, walks aimlessly she meets this man named Mikage, who is afraid of dogs (he was in a tree and she rescues him from a puppy). In thanks he gives her his house (she is homeless so of course she accepts it, but it is still a little off putting if someone just GIVES you an entire house). Fast forward a bus ride, and she finds its not any house but a shrine. She is greeted by Onikiri and Kotetsu the keepers of the shrine and Tomoe, Mikage’s familiar. But get this, they are all demons (bam! did not expect that now did ya?!). Anyways, turns out Mikage was the Earth deity of the shrine, but when he kissed her forehead (oh did I not mention that?), he bestowed his mark, which presto change-o makes her the first and only human deity. At first she rejects the entirety of the situation, but as she lives with the Tomoe, Onikiri, and Kotetsu, she begins to work hard as a Deity. Nanami eventually falls in love with Tomoe, the fox demon with a “give no sheez” attitude, but he rejects (a lot) because human yokai relationships are forbidden. As the story progresses Nanami struggles with school life, prejudice and jealousy from other deities, and an evil antagonist connected to Tomoe’s bloody past; however, she also makes many new friends, helps yokai and people, and even wins the heart of Tomoe.
The story is full of humor, because Nanami is a girl who just jumps into a situation without even thinking. She gets herself in a lot of stuff, but it always works out because she has so many people willing to help her.
Say I Love You
Say I love you is my all time favorite romance manga. The story is beautiful and easy to relate to. It focuses on a sixteen year old girl called Mei Tachibana who has never made friends. One day she injures a popular boy in school, Yamato Kurosawa, because of a misunderstanding. Their meeting was brief but it left him interested to get to know her. Through their friendship and blossoming relationship, Mei begins to branch out and befriend others. The story has a lot of darker points that focus on real problems of teens, like bullies, low self esteem, friendship vs fitting in, anorexia, and sex.
Say I Love You is romance, comedy, slice of life, and ecchi shoujo. It is an ecchi because it does have suggestions of sex (but not in a perverted type way. It usually has to do with the pressures of society for people to have sex and what it means to people). Anyways, Mei is anti-social, honest young girl who does not make friends. She falls in love with Yamato, a caring young man that is popular due to his nature of looking out for others. Together they go through the ups and downs of having a relationship and what it means to be in love.
If I can get you to leave this blog wanting to read at least one manga, I hope it is this one. This is truly a well written story. Yeah it focuses on high school, just like all the other stories, but the difference is how realistic this one is. There are no silly dramatic twists and the humor is very natural. It feels like reading someone’s daily life in manga form. Yet because you care for Mei, and you see her thoughts, you get just involved in her choices as much as she does. I loved the manga (anime was so-so in comparison), and it is drawn so beautifully. I HIGHLY recommend it.
So this romantic comedy is about a girl, Shizuku Mizutani, who has no interest except to dedicate the majority of her attention and time to focus on her academics, and a boy, Haru Yoshida, who a delinquent classmate who never actually shows up. One day she is given the task to deliver the class printouts to Haru (What teacher does this? Whenever I missed school I had to go ask for the printouts the day I came back. It was every man for himself), and Haru immediately greets her as a friend. Mizutani has a distant, passive demeanor, but Haru, despite being a trouble maker, is passionate and willing to help others. The two are never on the same page when it comes to their relationship, and they each confess and reject the other through out the story.
Tonari no Kaibutsukun
Now Mizutani struggles with experiencing emotions, making friends, and out growing her selfish tendencies. I want to point out that she is not selfish in a mean way, but that she does not really function in society and tends not to notice its effects on others immediately, but as she makes new friends and hangs out with Haru she begins change her world. Haru also does not function properly in society. He is very emotional, and even when he tries to protect Mizutani, he often hurts her. He wants to help and protect others (he’s like a superhero), but most people fear him as a delinquent. They are scared because he has a tendency to glare menacingly, but he glares because he is equally afraid of them (and their rejection of him) and he does not know how to react or behave. They also fear him because he gets into a lot of fights. Every time he fights, it is to protect someone from bullies, violence, and maltreatment, but his classmates only see him beating people mercilessly (missing the part where he is protecting the victim). But Haru and Mizutani end up helping each other understand how to properly behave in society. She helps him to better control his emotions and let people see how kind he is. He on the other hand, helps her to feel emotions for others, to focus on other people, and not to only care about school work to the point that it makes her distant to everyone. The two of them are actually perfect for each other.
You can find all these at Mangahere.com
Two New Favorites, Check Them Out: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/cute-new-favorites-romance-edition/
If you succeed at reading all these romance manga, you too can become a love expert like Renge here.