Posted February 13, 2016 by LJ Zenarosa in Anime/Manga


It is that season again. While your friends go about their Valentine’s plans, some of us (willingly, or out of spite or really, a lack of choice) would stay at home and avoid the traffic. And for those of us who don’t have any real person dates (it’s not too late though. *ahem ahem*), that’s what manga is for.

It’s the perfect time to wallow in the bittersweetness of love and drown yourself in “feels”. Here is the Flipgeeks recommendation of five manga titles to read or re-read, ideally with a box of chocolates close by.


Nana-vol-21. NaNa (Drama, Romance, Slice Of Life, Music)

Author: Ai Yazawa
Publication: Shuiesha
Volume(s): 21
Because it is on hiatus, it is the perfect time to catch up on NaNa. Published from 2000 to 2009, NaNa is a josei, or a “for women/ladies” manga that is written by Ai Yazawa. The title is derived from the two female leads who have the same name. Nana Komatsu, a perky small town girl who goes to Tokyo to pursue her boyfriend. Nana Osaki, on the other hand, was a member of a famous pop punk band in her hometown, was in Tokyo to pursue her dreams as a singer. Both of them meet on the train and eventually decided to become roommates. Their lives collide as their friendship blossoms, love is found and lost, and dreams are achieved.

Not only has NaNa sold over 22 million copies all over Japan during its run, it also has its own anime, live action movie, game and album inspired by the anime. The story tackled so much real world experience as a woman that it resonated soundly with its audience. Nana Osaki, for example, experienced struggles in choosing between her pride, her love, and her dreams. Nana Komatsu, on the other hand, had to tussle with her feelings, on what she really wants and what a true friendships are. Even the minor characters in the manga have rich background stories that would twist your heart, and make you ask yourself “Why? Why do they deserve this?”

bitter virgin 2. Bitter Virgin (Drama, Romance, Slice of Life)
Author: Kei Kusunoki
Publication: Square Enix
Volume(s): 4
Bitter Virgin is a story of a high school student named Daisuke Suwa, his classmate, Hinako Aikawa and their relationship after discovering Hinako’s secret. This manga was written by Kei Kusunoki and was  serialized by Young Gangan. It ran from 2006 to 2008 and received several praises from the critics.

At first, you will think that this manga is a typical romance in which a boy is inexplicably annoyed by the shy girl. But that’s just the surface. Each chapter was an elegantly written and thoughtful depiction of survivors of  abuse and rape. And in each time you flipped its pages, there is that feeling of being loved and broken at the same time.

 TRIVIA: Bitter Virgin is actually classified as a “seinen” manga which means that it is meant to be marketed to  adolescent boys and men. A “mature” version of the shounen manga, it still tackles politics, relationships, and action but it may have sexual and sensitive topics.



3. Paradise Kiss (Drama, Romance)

paradise kiss

Author: Ai Yazawa
Publication: Shodensha
Volume(s): 5
Ai Yazawa is captain of the feels-train. Paradise Kiss is a story of a girl who is tired of her school life and finds herself questioning her life’s purpose. She stumbles into a group of fashion design students under the name “Paradise Kiss” and opens up a whole new world for herself.

Although this is not as famous in Japan as Yazawa’s previous work, it gained attention in the other parts of the world. As a matter of fact, Paradise Kiss was translated into ten languages, including French, German, Cantonese and Italian. Because of its popularity, it has its own live action show that featured Keiko Kitagawa, one of Japan’s famous actresses and models.

Paradise Kiss is something you should read for its patent bittersweetness. The interaction of Yukari, the female lead, and Georgie will make your heart twist in frustration. Everything could be going for the characters, but somehow, it never really goes to the happy ending you wanted. It is like Gossip Girl, except that Paradise Kiss doesn’t have petty girl fights about boys and such. We are very sure that you will be surprised with the ending.


bokura-ga-ita-987877 4. Bokura Ga Ita (Drama, Romance, Comedy, Slice Of Life)
Author: Yuki Obata
Publication: Shogakukan
Volume(s): 16

Every anime fan knows Bokura Ga Ita. Every boy wants to have a Nanami Takahashi in their lives. Bokura Ga Ita (We Were There) is the story of the  relationship of Yano and Nanami during their teenage days until their twenties. Sounds pretty good right?  No. Not all happy endings are easily achieved.

Serialized by Betsucomi and had a successful run from 2002-2012, Bokura Ga Ita was adapted into anime and a live action series. After selling over 10 million copies all over Japan and gaining fans all over the world, this manga won the shoujo manga of 2005 at the Shogakukan Manga Awards.

What made Bokura Ga Ita so  bittersweet is the sacrifices that Nanami made for Yano, despite being rejected. Yano, on the other hand,  still  affected by the death of his ex-girlfriend and his distrustful nature to other people, didn’t care much  about Nanami. But you see, efforts and sacrifices are paid off as Yano eventually falls in love with her.  However, as  their relationship grew stronger, Nanami discovered dark secrets that Yano kept to  himself. And  to make things more complicated, Yano’s best friend falls in love with Nanami. Rollercoaster?  Yes. You better prepare your heart for ride.



5. Strobe Edge (Romance, Slice of Life)strobe edge
Author: Io Sakisaka
Publication: Shuieisha
Volume(s): 10

Love is blind indeed. Strobe Edge is a manga written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka and was serialized by Bessatsu Margaret, a shoujo magazine in 2007. It tells us the story of Ninako and Ren Ichinose. As they grow closer to each other, Ninako learns that Ren has a long time girlfriend so she has to cope with the fact that they can’t be together.

What’s frustrating about this manga is the fact that the reader will eventually see how Ren’s girlfriend treats him and how slowly Ren falls in love with Ninako but doesn’t do anything about it. Poor Ninako. But even more heartbreaking is that Ninako’s best friend loves her, and that Ren’s girlfriend is the sister of Ninako’s best friend.

Oh highschool. You’re so complicated.





Aside from the listed manga above, here are some honorable mentions: 5 cm per Second, Koizora, Ao Haru Ride, Orange, Watashitachi No Shiawase Na Jikan.
Know of more manga that ripped your heart to shreds and took you on an intense feels-trip? Write it in the comment sections. We’d love a good cry to warm our cold cold hearts.

Pictures (c) Mangareader

LJ Zenarosa

Nurse by day but a geek 24/7. Cat Lady who loves wrestling. And can eat lots of sweets -- like a LOT.