Genre: Shoujo / Romance
1994 Ayumi Yoshizumi
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Koshikawa Miki's life takes a sudden turn when her parents announce that they are going to switch partners with a couple they met in Hawaii. Though the fact remains that both of her parents still love each other as friends, Miki is freaked out. What's more, her parents have decided not to live separately. Instead, for the sake of Miki's upbringing, they've chosen to all live in the same house with the Matsuura couple...and their handsome son, Yuu. When Miki learns of this boy who is just about her age, she thought she has found herself an ally. But to her dismay, Yuu takes the current situation with calm and acceptance. And to make matters worse than it already is, she even seems to be falling for Matsuura Yuu...
Sorta Balanced Shoujo. >>> by skysenshi
Okay, it's mush. It's a high school dramedy, after all. The last parts, especially, made me think that maybe the lead characters' romance could use a little more development and a little less saccharine. Miki and Yuu are just suddenly in love and there's very little explanation as to how this phenomenon happened-almost overnight. Despite this, however, Marmalade Boy is one of the most sort of balanced shoujo I've ever read. It isn't as narcissistic as the rest of 'em. I mean, come on, has anyone ever noticed that everyone seems to fall in love with leads like SailorMoon, Miaka (Fushigi Yuugi), Makino Tsukushi (Hana Yori Dango) to that point that you find it disgusting that the supporting characters don't ever get their own lives at all? Sure, there's still the Yuu-Miki-Ginta triangle but this one has so many love polygons that you wouldn't have to worry about supporting characters being merely wall attachments.
Not to say that Marmalade Boy is perfect. Far from it. Though the beginning volumes are the most fun to read-I played ping-pong with my preferences: Yuu, Ginta, Yuu Ginta, Yuu, Ginta-the last few volumes slipped a few notches off the scale. Like the typical shoujo, it has a lot of clichés, most of them concentrating on the personalities of protagonists Miki and Yuu. Also, how some of the love pairings got resolved, particularly Ginta's case, seemed a little too convenient. Thank goodness for weird circumstances like their messed-up families-not that I'm saying everyone should divorce so they could get happy lives (ick)-and buddies that have less-than-typical attitudes.
The most interesting characters to note here are best friends Meiko (to Miki) and Miwa Satoshi (to Yuu). In fact, they could easily have been the leads, the ones who put balance into Marmalade Boy amidst the army of love squares. Meiko has an unusual relationship; what that is, I won't spoil. Satoshi, on the other hand, is someone who is funny as he is cute.and he doesn't have a typical shoujo ending.
I would recommend this for the WAFF* lovers and tennis enthusiasts. Oops, I forgot to mention that the author is a tennis fanatic, which is why her characters are, too. But if you're not, I advise to touch this only with a ten-foot pole.
Individual Rating: Art 7; Story 7; Characters 8