Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Manga Recommendations #3: Maids

Okay so I lied. This isn't an annual thing. It's not a monthly thing either since I won't be doing this again in September, however I have a perfectly reasonable explanation for doing it this month...I'm lazy. :P

No, actually, I don't have anything promote-worthy until next month, so I'm stalling. You'll totally want to tune in next month, but for now it's manga recommendations featuring maids and/or homemakers.

For those who don't know, manga are Japanese comics. Unlike American comics, manga are much more mainstream. They take up as much shelf space as other books in Japanese bookstores. They also have a home in most American bookstores now. Manga range in genre from children's books to hardcore XXX porn, depending on your fancy.

This is the third time I've done this. If you missed my Shoujo or Yaoi suggestions, please feel free to go back and check them out.

Why maids/homemakers? That has a lot to do with VIP Room Service (Other Related Duties #1) and hyping it. But I'll talk more about that next month. :) On to the recommendations, which are more Yaoi recommendations but that's only because I finds this scenario more appealing with an M/M couple.

** Maid in Heaven by Hisami Shimada **

Midori volunteers to take over his grandmother's job when she throws out her back and has to recuperate. The job entails being a maid for Asagi, a standoffish tyrant, who delights in picking on Midori at every turn. Midori is determined to tough it out so his grandmother can rest but things take a turn for the romantic when Midori realizes Asagi's gruff attitude might be a cover to hide his true feelings.

- Volumes: 1
- Setting: Mansion
- Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Comedy
- Publisher: Deux (closed)
- Heat Level: 18+

Midori is a klutz who means well and Asagi is emotionally awkward. The two of them make such a cute couple in this teasing comedic tale. Just when you think they might finally get together, someone always interrupts. And those interruptions are hilarious. This is fun, quick read if you can find it.

** Junjo Romantica by Shungiku Nakamura **

When his brother moves away for his job, Misaki goes to live with his brother's high school buddy Usami Akihiko so he can continue attending the college of his choice. Misaki cooks and cleans in return for the accommodations but the longer Misaki is there, the more his relationship with Usami evolves into a frustrating love that has Misaki wanting to kiss and strangle Usami at the same time.

- Volumes: 12 released in US; up to 18 in Japan
- Setting: Apartment
- Sub-Genre: Contemporary
- Publisher: TokyoPop BLU
- Heat Level: 18+

This series is also an anime and I highly recommend both. It's funny and emotional and Misaki is so endearing. He has to put up with a lot from Usami, who is an author, making him eccentric, sometimes hard to understand, and a little (read - lot) high maintenance. It doesn't help that Usami grew up rich so he has no concept of how normal people, of which Misaki is one, function in the real world. This clash of class and personalities makes for interesting reading and funny times. I wish a new publisher would pick up the series and release the rest.

** Honey Darling by Norikazu Akira **

Chihiro has no goals in life. He isn't one to take responsibility and apply himself until he takes in a sick kitten that leads him to Kumazawa, a vet. Impressed with Kumazawa's dedication to his profession, Chihiro immediately volunteers to work at the clinic as an assistant but has no experience so ends up being Kumazawa's live-in maid instead. The arrangement is ideal for Chihiro to get on the job training for eventually becoming a vet assistant. It also supplies the environment needed for Chihiro to realize he has feelings for Kumazawa that might jeopardize his ability to continue working for him.

- Volumes: 1
- Setting: Vet clinic and upstairs apartment
- Sub-Genre: Contemporary
- Publisher: SuBLime Manga
- Heat Level: 18+

Japanese pun incoming -- Kuma means bear in Japanese. Kumazawa is a bear-like person in this manga. He's big and gruff and intimidates Chihiro at first. Chihiro quickly learns that Kumazawa is a gentle giant though. The story is more focused on the characters interacting as roommates and employer-employee, and is a slow build but totally worth it. The characters are fun and Akira-sensei is always dropping jokes about this being a cat manga (there's a pet cat) than a boy's love manga. It's cute a constant re-read for me.

** Pet on Duty by Nase Yamato **

Mizuki has lost his job and begs his brother for a place to stay not knowing his brother lives in a company dorm that doesn't allow guests. But his brother makes it work and Mizuki becomes the secret "pet" of the fourth floor residents, helping them out by cleaning while he tries to find a job to support himself and denies his growing feelings for Kudou, one of the other residents.

- Volumes: 1
- Setting: Apartment/dorm
- Sub-Genre: Contemporary
- Publisher: Boysenberry (formerly), re-released by SuBLime manga
- Heat Level: 18+

Mizuki can't catch a break. Every time he tries to strike out on his own, he runs into trouble and needs help. But he doesn't like being taken of by the fourth floor residents and keeps trying only to keep failing. And then there's his budding relationship with Kudou that can't get off the ground because Mizuki's brother and the other residents are always interrupting, by accident and on purpose. This story tugs at the heartstrings and will make you laugh.

** That Was Good by CJ Michalski **

Hiroto is in a dead-end job until one day in the park a young child decides to share his lunch. Said child's father, Suguru, is apologetic and then amazed at Hiroto's cooking skills and offers him a job as a live-in housekeeper. Hiroto accepts but doesn't expect to fall for the handsome charismatic Suguru two seconds after starting the job.

- Volumes: 1
- Setting: Apartment
- Sub-Genre: Contemporary
- Publisher: June
- Heat Level: 18+

This is a love-hate manga for me. I generally love Michalski-sensei's work. There was just one aspect of this story that drove me up a wall and I yell at the book every time I re-read it and get to that part. I know. I'm a glutton for punishment. I can't help it. The story is cute but you can tell Michalski-sensei was working under a space constraint because of that unresolved annoyance. Beyond that it's a good story and there is a side story directly after it about a geek and the handsome guy who cosplays to get his attention.


And that's my selection of maid/homemaker manga. The recurring theme is always a guy who ends up working and falling for his employer. It might be done over and over but it's still fun to read. I hope you give one or some of the above a chance.


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Tina Donahue said...

Interesting. Thanks for the great blog. :)

jean hart stewart said...

Always like to learn new things...thanks.