Pearl Pink Volume 1

Meca Tanaka, Author
Meca Tanaka, Author . Tokyopop $9.99 (200p) ISBN 978-1-59816-775-7
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Love and sex are always complicated in manga, especially for teenage characters, but personal charm and naïve sincerity rejuvenate tired subject matter in this serialized YA romantic comedy. The story's prologue, set 10 years ago, shows how seven-year-old Kanji promised four-year-old Tamako that he'd marry her when they grew up, if she'd be strong and brave. Consequently, Tamako acts like a skinny, pre-pubescent ninja when she reappears in the present, only to discover that Kanji has forgotten all about her. After she becomes a houseguest of Kanji and his irresponsible father, and especially after she watches Kanji cooking and doing the other housewifely chores for the family, Tamako begins to wonder what she has to offer him as a woman—while Kanji begins to notice how nice it feels to have her snuggling against him. This kind of relationship could get nastily kinky very easily, but Tanaka's art is loose and airy enough to keep the mood light. Moreover, the two young people do seem to be learning to care about each other as they watch the antics of crazy adults around them, become curious about their own futures and begin wondering what it really means to be a woman or a man. (Jan.)

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