CHERRY JUICE • Haruka Fukushima • TOKYOPOP • 13+
Like Fukushima’s other manga Instant Teen: Just Add Nuts, Cherry Juice is a sexy love comedy aimed at late elementary school and junior high girls. “It was born from my fantasies about how nice it would be to have a hot younger brother,” Fukushima confesses in her author’s notes, and lo and behold! It’s about Otome and Minami, her younger stepbrother (he’s only three days younger…too bad the Japanese language has no non-age-specific word for “brother” and “sister”), who share a room and a possible secret attraction. Otome, however, has a crush on another boy, and Minami gets jealous and starts interfering with their relationship. For a title aimed at young girls, there’s a surprising (some might say disturbing) amount of fan service, with wet t-shirts, people walking in one another naked in the bath, and the hero and heroine waking up in the same bed on the very first page (”You pervy jerk!”). The art is light and airy, however, like the mood, and the central love triangle is decently handled. (Review by Jason Thompson – originally printed in Otaku USA magazine.)
This review only covers the first volume of the manga. I’m out of the country until April 18, so all the winners of “365 Days of Manga” between then and now will be announced after I get back. Please keep entering the contest, there will still be a winner a day, I’ll just be announcing them all at once!