Right off the bat, here’s what I’ll tell you: You have GOT to read Uruwashi no Yoi no Tsuki. It’s a must-read for anyone out there who loves shoujo or wants to get into it.
I think the best part about shoujo manga is that it makes you feel hopeful and energetic about life while still being rooted about it. I’ve always loved shoujo manga because it taught me all the positive stuff about life. What good friends can do to your growth as an individual, what a good partner looks like. What it means to laugh from the heart and how much we probably take it for granted. I know there are a lot of shoujo out there that are unfortunately poorly written high school romances, with a toxic relationship at it’s forefront. But we’re not talking about those today.
It’s very sad that shoujo has taken a backseat for the last decade or so. There’s a lot you can learn from the current mainstream anime; they’re all fun and incredible to watch. But I hope people will stop underestimating what shoujo could actually mean to them. And I hope the spotlight will return to the genre. The problem isn’t just the fact that we’re not seeing any decent anime adaptations (or continuations of older ones). But it’s become a bit harder for shoujo manga to rise and be discovered as well. Although I’m not sure what the cause for all this is, I’m just grateful to discover tiny gems like Uruwashi no Yoi no Tsuki at this point.
I picked up Uruwashi no Yoi no Tsuki a long time ago. Maybe around the time it had about 10 chapters out. I’m not sure how I found the manga, but it was the art style that caught my attention. I remember thinking “What even is this title?” but the story had me floored. It was an ongoing series and there were very little chapters to begin with. But then the premise talked about a girl who was pushed into the role of a prince because of how beautiful she was and her manly demeanour piqued my interest on its own. The premise continues to talk about how she bumps into a senpai bearing the same title as her. This is where the story starts. There was no way I could resist and I’m very glad I didn’t.
The story is very simple. Which is probably the best thing about it. We have our two main characters: Takiguchi Yoi and Ichimura Kohaku, both high schoolers and extremely dense ones at that. They have no idea what it means to fall in love; so they stumble and struggle their way into comprehending it and each other. Uruwashi no Yoi no Tsuki does so many things right. The high school romance makes me feel nostalgic about high school crushes I wish I had. The art is so intense that any time I see Yoi blushing, I can feel my own cheeks warming up.
The story also does a wonderful job of portraying, with great accuracy, what teenagers are like.. The playfulness of Ichimura with his friends, Yoi’s friends being so eager about her love life – were all things I loved seeing happen. Apart from making the series so relatable, it also served as an excellent reminder that this is how we all used to be. I mean, 14 was so long ago, and my teenage-self is almost a past life at this point. It’s this self-reflection that readers end up doing that I also enjoyed so much. You might be compelled to say it’s just a typical shoujo manga. But that’s exactly why I love it so much. It does everything right – from the art, to the refreshing, down-to-earth story, to the intriguing characters. I’m just saying. Uruwashi no Yoi no Tsuki might be doing it even better.
Speaking of characters, how could I not talk about our leading girl and boy? Its like I said before – the story is quite literally their character development and I’m so here for it.
Yoi is a tomboyish, beautiful girl, who often gets mistaken for a boy due to her ‘masculine’ traits. She gets labelled a “Prince” because she’s also appealing to women. She’s gentle and kind, straightforward and reliable. Consequently, she isn’t viewed as a woman by her peers. I identified with her character so much. I’m not prince-like in any sense, but her skepticism and her feeling baffled that someone would find her beautiful or love her at all romantically are emotions I related to. You might feel she goes overboard at times, but her trying to be clear about her stance and trying to protect herself are also aspects I related to. She might be your typical shoujo lead that’s timid and “bad with boys” but there’s so much depth to her. Her character is explored from a different angle which I find so lovely.
Ichimura Kohaku is your typical shoujo manga bad boy, but also….he’s not. He’s such a wonderful character despite his issues, insecurities, and lack of understanding concerning romance. I didn’t expect to relate to him at all, but there’s so much going on here. He too is skeptical about everybody and feels they are shallow. He’s incredibly taken aback by his capability of loving somebody that he doesn’t even recognize when it happens. Ichimura is not your typical shoujo manga male lead, because he doesn’t use his “prior experience” to be a dick to the girl in any way. He’s extremely understanding and patient with Yoi which I love. I only recently learned that the right people will put in the effort to meet you all the way, and this is simply true for Ichimura. He’s very self-aware of his lack of awareness, and he’s trying to do better.
In the end…
Both of them are trying to do better and trying to learn and I like how this doesn’t necessarily translate into a Slice of Life thing, and is instead focused entirely on where they are headed. So much is still a mystery, and there’s so much we can learn about ourselves from this. What a fun, FUN read! This blog post was originally scheduled for way earlier in the year, but writing it now gave me the perfect excuse to re-read it and I just felt so re-energised. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did.
Check out the last time I spoke so passionately about a shoujo manga. See you next time~