Here at Manga Widget, we’re taking two solid months to look at abandoned licenses of great shojo and josei series from the late Tokyopop and CMX. Last week’s entry into the series was a feature on Stolen Hearts, a traditional shojo high school romance story from CMX with a lovely kimono twist.
Here’s the list of the series (and links back to previous articles in case you missed one).
- Stolen Hearts
- The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko
- Skyshore Blue
- The Ginkacho Stellar Six
- Happy Café
- Argentis Apothecarium
- The Lapis Lazuli Crown
This week’s rescue request is The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko (笑うかのこ様, Warau Kanoko-sama), which is a three volume series originally licensed by Tokyopop in a wave of really fun licenses in the Winter of 2010/Spring of 2011. Written and illustrated by Ririko Tsujita, the series was originally published in LaLa DX, a shojo anthology from Hakusensha, which is a bimonthly sister publication to their LaLa anthology. LaLa DX generally debuts new series or one shot stories which can be turned into series if they are popular. Such is the case with The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko.
Hakusensha, as I have mentioned before, is now one of the mid-list major publishers who do not have any real publishing partners in the USA.
The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko is critically lauded in the manga community in the USA for its spunky heroine, a girl much like Harriet from Nickelodeon’s Harriet the Spy or Nico from Sexy Voice and Robo, who declares that she is the impartial observer of all her classmates antics; she records activities and personalities, and unearths particular traits, forbidden relationships, and sour relationships with gusto. The catchline of “objective observer” is more of a running joke, however- Kanoko always manages to get herself dragged into problems and manages to bring justice (or her version of it) to those deserving using her particular skill set to its advantage.
One of the most interesting points to The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko is its format; because LaLa DX is a bimonthly publication, most series have to reintroduce their running storyline in the first few pages of each chapter. While this could get tedious when transferred to the collected tankoban format, The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko uses this reintroduction to its advantage, having Kanoko transfer school at each new chapter (friends from the first chapter pop back into the storyline from time to time and help her out). This allows her to revisit her “objective observer” ways and really let her start dissecting problems at each new school, allowing her to get messily involved.
Tokyopop managed to get two of the three volumes published before their sudden closure, so we get to see most of the series in print from them. Still, having read the first volume, I want to know how the series ends. Being so close to completion is really disappointing, and there are other Tokyopop series that are stuck in this “one and done” mode, so close to being finished, but never completed.
Another strong point for this license (besides its small size) is that it has an apparently successful sequel currently running in LaLa DX (恋だの愛だの, Koi Dano Ai Dano) which is currently at 2 collected volumes in length. One point regarding this sequel which a few bloggers have mentioned is the second volume of Koi Dano Ai Dano and its fairly steamy cover, so perhaps we will get to see Kanoko give up her school hopping and start making some real and lasting relationships.
Two series with a total of 5 volumes is really small and affordable, so it would be great to see this manga revisited; an omnibus from Yen Press might be just the thing for this fun and quirky little series.