English: Kodocha: Sana's Stage
Synonyms: Kodocha, Child's Toy
Published: Aug 1994 to Nov 1998
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo, Slice of Life
Authors: Obana, Miho (Story & Art)
Serialization: Ribon Magazine
Wow, Kodocha was the very first manga I ever read with such a great blend of entertainment and romance and well of course to me it's a classic. I find it like no other shoujo manga and in fact, I can't find one with it's type of humor! You'll laugh at some of the ridiculous things the characters say OR do and you'll feel the pain and agony each one faces. Big or small. This manga has been made into a lengthy anime of 102 episodes. The manga is very different from the anime. The storylines are different. I think the manga is better with the storyline and the ending but the anime is still good. I recommend anime too.
The story is about Sana Kurata, a famous child actress, and her relationship with Hayama Akito. At first she hates him because he is a trouble maker and cold, but over the course of the manga their relationship grows into a really deep conection. The story itself is a romantic comedy, with drama mixed in. It moves quickly but nothing feels left out or missing. There are many unexpected twists and turns that make it really exciting. It's really one of the best shoujo stories since it's not in any way a typical shoujo or idol manga. One of the reasons I loved this manga was because it stands out from others of the same genre.
I am a huge fan of art.The art style is very "shoujo" so many characters do infact have the same style of eyes. However, the mangaka did a great job of expressing the emotions of the characters. For a manga of its time the art is very good, and of course the art gets better as the manga progresses.
The characters are what make the story. Each character has a distinctive trait that makes him/her special. Sana is really hyper and says the weirdest things. Hayama is cold, says what's on his mind, and never ever smiles. Tsuyoshi is sweet and a pacifist, until he snaps and throws desks all over the room. Mama, Sana's mother, has crazy hairstyles and a squirell lives in it. I could keep going. However, aside from their quirky personalities, the character development over the manga series is great. No one is perfect, and this manga shows how a lot of the individuals may not be who everyone thinks they are. Sana is also not your typical heroine. She is not a crybaby who relies on her love interest. Instead she is hyper, dense, and always wants to do the right thing. The fact that the characters aren't extreme shoujo stereotypes made the story interesting.
Yeah, if you can't tell by now I really enjoyed this series, There are lots of funny moments that made me laugh. But there are also really series moments that really surprised me! It's hard to put into words exactly why I enjoyed it, but I was not bored a single moment in this manga, even though I had seen the anime beforehand.
Overall: If you're a shoujo fan, you have got to read this manga. It's one of the most unique mangas I've read and it really is a great story. I would like to say that non-shoujo lovers would be able to enjoy it as well, because it's not all "lovey-dovey" like most. The romantic drama is secondary and is defenitely not the main focus. I highly encourage everyone to try it out.