I may be a (self-proclaimed) otaku nerdette with a lot of things, especially with anime and manga. But then, specifically shoujo manga,1 I’m also very picky. I tend to really get into the types of cute love stories with strong, tomboy(-ish) (and at times, clueless) female leads opposite some cute/handsome/hot guys with (badass) attitudes. Whenever I see those types of characters being the central focus on a story, it’s one of those types of stories in which it would take a very long time for the two characters to realize that… they’re in love with one another. ????
I’m writing this now because I’m adding another addition to my favorite collection that I recently discovered through those scanlation sites. It hasn’t been licensed yet, but I really do look forward to seeing it licensed so I can buy them.2
As you can see, here are some of my favorites thus far (the ones with strong girls and hot (somewhat) badass guys):
- Ranma 1/23 (tomboy martial artist vs. arrogant martial artist)
- Cardcaptor Sakura (energetic girl hero vs. antisocial boy hero)
- Kodocha4 (enthusiastic child actress vs. introverted bully leader)
- Kaichou wa Maid-sama! (strict student council president vs. hot stalker)
- Shugo Chara! (“cool and spicy” girl vs. aloof teenage enemy agent)
- Special A (overachieving poor girl rival vs. overachieving rich boy rival)
- Last Game (antisocial overachiever poor girl vs. arrogant overachiever rich boy)
At the moment, that’s all I could think of from my head. I’m pretty sure I’ve read (and seen) others, but I couldn’t think of them at the moment.
Yesterday, while I was searching around for some plot ideas for my CCS fanfic Troop Pegalion, I came across this ongoing (unlicensed) manga in one of those scanlation sites called Nekota no koto ga Ki ni Natte Shikatanai5. This is one of those sweet, innocent, feel-good elementary school love stories (just like CCS, Kodocha, and Shugo Chara) about a gypsy6 6th grader named Mikiko “Mikki” Amane, who vowed not to make any friends and be a loner in her brand-new school (to avoid getting hurt when she moves again, so to speak). Apparently, things didn’t exactly swing her way when she was noticed by the girls in her school, led by the class’s “cutest girl” named Haruna Inui. In addition to that, a boy whom the girls say is the cutest guy in their class named Nekota (we don’t know his first name yet, but I’m pretty sure that Nekota is the surname), whom Mikki seems to see as a boy with a head of a cat. The only problem is, Mikki is the only one among everyone else who sees the cat-headed Nekota-kun. If you’re thinking that Mikki has some wild, childish imagination or that she’s totally insane, you’re not too far off. In fact, she’s not the only one who sees Nekota as a boy with a head of a cat.
We, the readers, could also see Nekota as a boy with a head of a cat. This is where the mangaka (Rie Outa) teases us with the story, and she does a very good job with it. We hear from the other kids regarding Nekota’s good looks and ultra-cool personality,7 and yet we all join Mikki8 in becoming a whole lot curious about the mystery that surrounds Nekota and why Mikki (and us) are seeing him as a boy with a head of a cat. Outa-san does tease us a bit with a few glimpses of how Nekota may really look like, but only from his back side (judging by his long-ish haired hairstyle that most ikemen (Japanese term for cool, hot guys), we could kind of tell that that Nekota really is a cute, good-looking kid. Mikki’s female classmates (and rivals) say so, her homeboys say he’s so damn cool and mature, even Mikki’s own mother says he’s very handsome. And here we are, asking along with Mikki, the very one question that we want to be answered: Why do we see Nekota as a boy with a head of a cat, while everyone sees him as a normal human boy?!
So far, we do learn a little bit of Mikki’s childhood history, in which her mother framed a drawing she made from one of her schools in the past: a drawing of a stray cat with a caption underneath that says “Friend.” So far, we only know that Mikki’s family moved around a lot, and because of that she wasn’t even able to keep her friendships with the ones she made from the various schools she attended. But at the same time, we still don’t know why her family moved around a lot.
Throughout the story, Mikki goes through the typical adolescent issues that she first faces, such as bullying (in the beginning of the story, think Kodocha…), early crushes (girls crushing on Nekota, one or a few crushing on Mikki, etc.), being responsible and “grown up,” and other issues. However, when it came to early crushes and “first loves,” Mikki, like (almost) all the strong girl heroines that we’ve met in various anime/manga, is as dense and oblivious with these things, as they all have one common goal that they set their mind into. In Mikki’s case, the only one common goal that she set her mind into now is all about Nekota,9 why she (we) see his head as that of a cat, his aura of mystery and intrigue, and everything else that everybody else says about him. Many of those who witnessed Mikki’s unending curiosity about the cat-headed boy see her as being “in love” with him, but neither Mikki, nor Nekota, see it that way.
We’re still waiting, Outa-san. Why does she spoil us with “hiding” Nekota’s real face with that of a cat? That is the main hook of this series, and yes, I am very hooked to this story (and dammit, even with Nekota himself). I’m not even kidding. And like any other series, I do ship Mikki and Nekota together. They seem to have something in common when it comes to personalities and attitudes (they’re both cool, brave, strong, and definitely got no nonsense), but unlike with CCS and Kodocha (with our would-be future couples start off as enemies), these two actually got along with each other, but they were more like buddy-buddy comrades than being enemies or rivals.10
I really do wish this manga get licensed soon, or that for the time being, have the next scanlated chapter uploaded very soon. I heard that there was a very short OVA anime series that served more as promo ads to the manga, rather than just the anime series by itself. I really do wish thought that they would create an anime series of this story. Not only that this story is hilarious, but also something that would make you feel good if you want to feel a little warm, lighthearted, and somewhat romantic.
I do have a theory that this may happen. When Miki finally goes past through her “past” about her connection to cats, and if she does realizes that she has fallen in love with Nekota, then she (and us) will finally see the real Nekota as a human being, not just a boy with a head of a cat.
You know, if I only had discovered this series any sooner, I would have made this as May’s edition of My Favorite Things blog linkup. But I’ve been busy lately, so I didn’t even have the time to discover something new and something to love. Till next time! ????
On the sidenote...
- girl’s comics [↩]
- in Kindle format. [↩]
- though it’s not really considered shoujo manga… [↩]
- Kodomo no Omocha = Child’s Toy [↩]
- I’m so interested in Nekota, I can’t help myself … or something like… I can’t help myself if I’m so interested in Nekota … or maybe I can’t help myself but be curious about Nekota, along those lines. Darn Japanese translation… [↩]
- I meant to say that she and her family move around a lot and hasn’t really had that many friends because of that reason. [↩]
- he kind of reminds me a lot of Syaoran (of CCS) and Hayama (of Kodocha) in terms of personality and attitude. [↩]
- like Nekota, Mikki reminds me a lot of Sakura (of CCS) and Sana (of Kodocha) in one… strange, isn’t it? [↩]
- There is a pun of his last name. “Neko” means “cat,” while “ta” means “field.” [↩]
- And that was because the girls lead by Haruna refused to even be friends with Mikki, so our heroine decides to chill out with the homeboys instead, which even pisses the girls even more (mainly because Nekota just happens to be one of Mikki’s homeboys). [↩]