Welcome to my Marmalade Boy Shrine

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 ( M | a | r | m | a | l | a | d | e ) ( B | o | y )
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an ode to my first favorite manga series: by SX

Marmalade Boy is a shojo manga series by Wataru Yoshizumi. It first ran from 1992-1995 in Ribon magazine.

It was adapted by Toei Animation as a 76-episode anime.1

Marmalade Boy centers around Miki Koishikawa: a cheery, popular high school student who plays on the Toryo High School tennis team.

Miki's parents go on a cruise and when they return they inform Miki of their intent to divorce each other and swap spouses with another couple they met on the cruise, the Matsuura

At first, Miki is horrified. Slowly, she accepts her family's unconventional Brady Bunch scenario.

(Yeah that's right, the Koishikawas and the Matsuuras all move into a big house together!)

Part of this living situation includes the Matsuura's son, Yuu.

Miki and Yuu butt heads at first, but eventually they date. What follows is several volumes of steamy shojo romance realness.

Marmalade Boy features many supporting characters. Some of Miki's former crushes may or may not show up and demand her affection. Miki's friends also may or may not have their own relationship turmoil. As the characters' lives progress throughout and past high school, lots of changes take place within the group dynamic. I was surprised which characters ended up together.

I discovered Marmalade Boy at age 11 or so. I think this was around 2004-2005.

It was summer, which I spent with my grandparents.

I had an older cousin Lindsey who was into anime, manga, and j-rock.

Her favorites were Fruits Basket, Chobits, Wolf's Rain, Magic Knight Rayearth, etc.

She could draw catgirls and could crosshatch in a way that blew my mind.

Maybe by today's standards she was just your average DeviantArt-er but back then, to me, she may as well have been Picasso.

My home life during the school year (time not spent with my grandparents) was not great. I didn't have a lot of freedom to explore my interests. So I really cherished these summers, and any time I could spend in my hometown with family.

Anyway, one summer day my younger brother and I begged our grandma to take us to the comic book store. (I later worked at this comic book store for a few months when I was 18! It's a staple of my hometown.) My little brother was probably looking for Batman Beyond or Spiderman or maybe toys, cards, or games. I went straight to the manga

I saw this series called Marmalade Boy. I was only 11 and I had never bought a book/manga about a teenager. The closest I had to that in my house were DVDs of Lindsey Lohan movies.

The cover of the first Marmalade Boy manga looked like this:

Each volume of the manga was only $3!

My grandma bought it for me and throughout my early middle school years, I collected all 8 volumes.

This was my first experience with anything romance genre-related.

I loved everything about Marmalade Boy.

I loved the art style. The girls are so pretty. And the guys are super handsome.

Most of all, I loved how it transported me to 90's Toykyo.

The creator, Wataru Yoshizumi, wrote marginalia about the production of the manga and anime, the merchandising process, and about her relationships/meetups with other mangaka. I ate all that up! Even though I was reading these editorials a decade and a half after the fact, they gave me a glimpse into a feminine literary culture that was half a world away.

I found the by-and-for-women aspects of the shojo genre appealing.

As hard as it may be to believe, I was never a weeb as a kid but I wanted to be.

Lol. By that I mean I never could get in to anime or most manga. Even now, my "taste" consists of a few proven entry-level favorites. I'm not ashamed to say I'm a complete anime + manga pleb.

But I've always loved Marmalade Boy, ever since I found that $3 clearance manga.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmalade_Boy