Warning: Recommended readers: 18+. Most of this deals with the sexual tension between the two mains.
English: Kare First Love
Synonyms: 彼 first love, Kiriya at 13 (Spring)
Published: Aug 20, 2002 to 2004
Genres: Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo, Slice of Life
Authors: Miyasaka, Kaho (Story & Art)
Serialization: Shoujo Comic
This manga may seem as though it's one of the typical makeover stories but it's not; sure enough, the protagonist wears glasses and turns out to be a really attractive girl, but issues such as family, first time sex experiences, and other issues such as first love experiences all occur in this manga.
I have seen people who either love or hate this manga. I am one who loves it. Yes is cliched, yes it is predictable. But it is adorable and the artwork is amazing.
I wouldn't call it a short series or long one, but just about readable! I thoroughly enjoyed it. This manga was sentimental, there were funny parts too, but definitely a touching manga for those who are into shojou and romance!
Coy and self-conscious high school student Karin Karino never paid much attention to boys until she met Kiriya, a popular student from a nearby boys' school. Karin and Kiriya embark on a romantic journey despite Karin's classmate Yuka's best efforts to sabotage their relationship, but Karin soon learns that living happily ever after isn't on the curriculum when she becomes Kiriya's center of attention, as well as embittered Yuka's bull's-eye on her dartboard of hate.
The main character is your typical shoujo female lead.A shy high-school girl who doesn't exactly have the highest self-esteem and doesn't dare to speak up.Karin chose to go to an all-girls school so that she could concentrate on her studies more and is not really interested in boys...until she meets Aoi Kiriya one day on the bus.At first she mistakes him for a pervert(and he is a bit) but it turns out he was only looking at her because he was interested in the book she was reading.He later draws the attention of Karin's "best friend",the manipulative Yuka,who tries her best to win him over but it's too late since Aoi only has eyes for Karin.
As the story progresses we see her change from the geeky girl she was in the beginning into a self-confident young lady.Then later the focus shifts to Kiriya and his family problems.The only drawback I could find was that while a large part of the manga is dedicated to Kiriya trying to follow his dreams,only a few pages are about Karin and her future.Sure,she stands up to her parents and makes her own decisions but I felt we should see more of that since she's the one getting the makeover.
Of course the main theme of the manga is the story of Karin and Aoi's love.The stupid fights over minor things,arguing about sex,problems with parents and all the usual stuff that you see in a shoujo romance manga.What's really great it this case though is the way the creator handles things.Whatever happens,whether that's an argument or a small break up,doesn't last too long and there's no making a big deal out of it,even in serious and tragic situations.I'm starting to grow a little tired of manga that make things over-dramatic when there's really no reason,just for the sake of making the story more interesting and serious.
Kaho Miyasaka's artwork is lovely and perfect for the shojo genre.There were a couple of mistakes I noticed,mostly having to do with proportions, but other than that it's beautifully drawn and the pages are very pretty to look at.
I really enjoyed this manga. Although it's your typical shoujo story it's done in such way that stands out from all other manga of the same genre.And of course it has the perfect ending for hopeless romantics like me :)
I would recommend it. Yes it's predictable and full of cliches but so what? There's nothing wrong in reading something like this every once in a while.