If you don't know that much about manga, it's easy to think that it's all the same. You could also make the mistake of thinking it's all easily divided into series for girls (shoujo) or boys (shounen).
Prepare yourself for Happy Mania. No, really. You can't go in thinking it will be your average cutesy/funny series because, though it has its entertaining moments, it'll probably drain you. You will see the main character, Shigeta-san, look desperately for a boyfriend but end up constantly confusing sex for love. Welcome to josei manga, where it's totally fine to show a man's hand pleasuring a woman's, um, love nest.
You can think of it as Sex and the City, except with a less trendy younger woman who doesn't really know enough about herself to understand her predicament. Though this series deals with relationships, the more realistic parts of it portray your average woman's self-esteem and life expectations. As you watch her make mistake after mistake, you want her to get with her sweet, nerd-to-the-bone co-worker Takahashi. You know that he can give her the love she needs. The big tragedy here is that her dream could very well be within reach but she is not mature enough to give a good man a shot.
I have to give it a 7.75 of 9 for standing apart from most manga, but a 6.25 for the overall package. The layout and drawings are okay enough, and some of the story can be quite charming, but I don't have any inclination to continue the series.
An insecure young woman who is so desperate for love that she (a) lies to herself constantly, and (b) keeps getting intimate with jerks? You bet that hits a nerve among tons of women.
I wouldn't recommend it to any teens if I were a librarian and wanted to keep my job. That aside, I think that many of them could relate, particularly to her weak self-image. Who hasn't looked at herself in the mirror and seen only a fat blob with ears?
Like it? Try this!::
Enjoyed all the sex? You don't have to stop there. Join the many open-minded women who are really into yaoi.
I initially hated this one, but I could recognize that at least it was powerful enough to elicit a reaction. And isn't that the mark of worthwhile manga anyway?
Happy Mania. By Moyoko Anno. TokyoPop, 2003. $9.99