on January 26, 2005
I'd like to point out a few misconceptions in some of the reviews concerning the Imadoki series ^^ ---
1) This is not "Watase's first high school drama". In fact, high school dramas are not a deviation from Watase's usual, a popular example would be Pubescence. Fushigi Yugi, Ayashi no Ceres, and Arisu 19th the only other Watase mangas released in the US, but although they're magic-girl mangas, this does not mean Yu Watase is not experienced in drawing a non-magical genre!
2) Imadoki has 5 volumes total (not 6). It is complete in Japan a few years ago and VIZ is printing volume 5 in February (street date is in March, but you can buy it off Amazon during February).
3) Imadoki does not come after Arisu "Alice" 19th. Although it was released in the U.S. after Alice 19th, it came out in Japan before Alice 19th. You might recognize Imadoki as a sort of "transition" artwork from Ceres to Alice 19th.
As for my review on the manga, I won't give you a summary of this volume, since everyone else has already given you a very comprehensive idea of the manga. My opinion is that this is by far Watase's best work, next to Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden (which has, in fact, been licensed in the US by VIZ and will be coming out this June!).
(as compared to Fushigi Yugi, Ayashi no Ceres, & Arisu 19th)
Compared to the Yu Watase mangas released in the US, Tanpopo is probably the most sweetest main character of all. I believe that she has a lot more integrity than Miaka, Aya, or Alice, but is still a very realistic and sweet girl who believes in friendship above all else.
While all the main characters have unique traits of their own, I feel that Tanpopo is a stronger girl than Miaka or Alice. If her best friend or sister is in love with the boy she likes (as in the cases of Miaka & Alice), she would abandon her own feelings and support what she respects the most - her relationship with family and friends. As you will see in a later volume, Tanpopo refuses to get in the way of a relationship even if the antagonist (I won't mention any names or details lest I spoil you) is neither her sister nor best friend.
I also feel that this is a manga where all the characters glow equally with unique beauty. In mangas like Fushigi Yugi, it feels like the side characters often appeal to the reader more than the main characters themselves. Since Ms. Watase had once said that "character relationships" is what she tries hardest to be develop in a story, I think Imadoki is a success in this aspect. You will find that every character is loveable in their own way, especially the adorable protagonist, Tanpopo.
The translation of Imadoki is actually very close to the actual Japanese text and the English variation did not take away from the story. Instead, the slightly altered variations only adds to the story, creating a comical character that you will meet in volume two (which is where the story starts to really pick up its pace).
In conclusion I must say that Imadoki is worth every dollar you pay for it - and at five volumes, there's no reason for anyone to not read it!
on July 9, 2004
All right, I will admit this: I bought Imadoki because of the manga-ka's name on the front: Yu Watase. Watase-san has never disappointed me, and I have read all of her works that have been translated into English up to this date. (July 2004). However, I was a little surprised when I started to read. No fantasy world? No magical powers? No "ultimate destiny" like the ones faced by Miaka, Aya, and Alice? This is definitely different than Watase-san's other works. I'm not going to give you a plot summary, that's what the little Amazon review thingy is for up above. But, I will tell you this: Yes, this book is not like Watase-san's other works. Heroes and villians aren't exactly defined, the world isn't in danger, and golly, there are an awful lot of flowers.
However, the elements that Watase uses to tell her story are still the same ones she uses in Fushigi Yugi, Ceres, Alice...she gives us a protagonist (female, of course!) that is struggling with something other girls in the world can relate to. Only this time around, the girl isn't thrust into this sudden alternate universe to help her solve her problems and realize her self-worth; this heroine does it on her own turf, with her own hands. There are the beautiful drawings and the handsome bishonen ^_^, and the fact that Watase-san puts a new spin on a pretty-much used up misunderstood-girl plot.
If you are a Watase-san fan, then I don't hesitate to recommend this to you, although if you are going to be disappointed by a lack of fantasy genre and short length (this series is only 5 books long), you might consider picking it up at another time. If you are a shoujo manga fan in general, then this title won't disappoint. It has enough cuteness, and you might be turned on to Watase's other titles. Personally, I loved it!
on October 14, 2005
Tanpopo Yamazaki is not your average Meio High School Freshman, as evidenced by her grand entry into her school... by flying over a guard rail on her bike the day before she starts class. This brazen act of individuality is witnessed by a young man planting a dandelion with a spade. He is concerned for the dandelion, or "Tanpopo"... yes, the heroine's name means dandelion... because her actions have harmed it, and life at the school is difficult enough for the plants that the young man considers to be his friends. The two part ways for the day before Tanpopo learns of the young man's name.
The first day at school Tanpopo meets the young man in her class, but he is extremely cold to her. She finds out from a fellow student that his name Koki Kugyo and that he is an heir to a large fortune. When she persists to remind him that they have met the truth of her allowance into the academy is revealed...horror of horrors, she actually tested into the academy instead of having her parents pave the way with their exorbitant fortunes. This immediately causes a reaction from the bourgeoisie , who find her quite plebian, and refuse to have anything to do with her. The start calling her "Weed" to her face and making all sorts of nasty comments, but no amount of torment from them is as bad as the out and out ignoring she is getting from Koki, who had been so pleasant to her on their first chance meeting. At a class assembly the first day Tanpopo calls him out, pledging her allegiance that she and he will be friends with one another and she will not rest until she has achieved that end.
This causes some problems with her reputation, as you can imagine, but Tanpopo manages to navigate things in such a way that she and he are on the planting committee. This entails strange actions, because none of the plants at the academy are actually real, for allergy preventions. But, she and he become a team, and everyone is surprised when Tsukiko Saionji, a pretty, popular, and (more importantly to the elite members of Meio) rich young woman volunteers to join their committee. Tanpopo's first duty as a planting committee member is to go against tradition surreptitiously and replant all of the plastic flowers with real flowers... which causes some problems for everyone, the members of the planting committee included.
So, at the core, what is this charming series about? It's about values, strength, and resolve to do what is right despite all the adversity. It's about a bubbly young iconoclast just being herself in a situation where everyone else has developed a façade to survive. It's about changing other people's perceptions and helping them grow when they realize that everything they have ever been taught to believe doesn't necessarily translate as being the "right or wrong" way. Is this a diversion from Watase's usual fair? Oddly enough no it is not. Typically her stories are much more harsh, but the core elements are still there. Friendship, overcoming obstacles, love and pain, growth, finding oneself... those are all key to enjoying a Watase story, and they are all here. This story may be lighter than typical Watase work, but it definitely stand among (and I would even argue out) in the pantheon of her work. Fans of her usual work will not be disappointed in this fun series.
on September 5, 2004
AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Yu Watase has done it again. Another little masterpiece that captures your heart and soul. I love Yu Watase and envy her as well.
This is a MUST HAVE story. The first time I saw it I didn't know what to expect and being the devilish person that I am decided to try it out so I bought it without reading any of the pages and lo and behold I found a story that made my day. The story is about a young country girl who goes to the city to attend high school. As she does though she finds out that the people there aren't as friendly or close as she was used to. The school she ends up in is a high class school for the rich and snobby individuals who have everything but real friends. She soon becomes friends with a guy there and teaches him that there is a thing called friendship and allows him to open his heart.
I just love the story and recommend it to anyone and everyone. It lifts your spirits up because you know that friendship is a rare treasure that everyone should have.
on June 8, 2005
Imadoki is a very charming story. It bas sweet and charming characters, as well as a very realistic story that, quite literally, thrusts you into the life of Tanpopo (dandelion) Yamazaki (she enters the story by flying over her school gate on her bicycle). It follows her rambunctiuos and often hilairous antics as she becomes a student at a wealthy high school in Tokyo, wher she is called weed by the rich students there. Tanpopo doesn't fit in; she isn't from a wealthy family, her looks are average, and she's not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. However, Tanpopo does have something that the other students don't-- she has unstopable optimism and a loving, forgiving heart. She almost immediatly decides that she wants the most prestigous and wealthy student of them all-- the handsome but cold Koki Kugyo-- to be her first Tokyo friend. She has some ideas of how to do this, but none seem to work--until she decides to create a gardening club (since Koki says that his favorite things in life are plants) that would build their friendship while they plant new life in the gardens together. This plan works (somehow) though only a few students join-- Koki, who finds her upbeat and incredibly optimistic lifestyle refreshing compared to the other "fake" students, mean and controlling "Tsuki " Saionji, computer geek and psychopath (but generally nice guy)Aoi Kyogoku, and pregnant but caring party girl Arisa Uchimura. As this fearsome fivesome get closer, Tanpopo slowly falls in love with Koki, but koki's family have some "issues" they need to get through first-- including a lovely fiancee for Koki to one day marry. I like this story--it focuses no some very serious issues, such as underage drinking, bullying, and pregnancy. However, most of the story is very cheerful and funny (it's about gardening for pete's sake...), which is strange for a story written by Yu Watase. I higly recommend this read. Very cute.
on October 28, 2004
I have read several manga,and this is by far my favorite. Imadoki features a great main character, Tanpopo, who is an example of strength and moral courage for young girls. She is somewhat similar to another one of Yuu Watase's characters- Miaka, from Fushigi Yuugi- a fearless young girl who sticks to what she believes in even if it costs her some humiliation. All the while she keeps a cheerful heart and never lets circumstances get her down. She has a great faith.
A wonderful, wholesome manga- REALLY funny too- it shows what the power of real-unselfish love can do to change hearts. I only wish more manga were this well done! Yuu Watase draws her characters very beautifully too. If I ever have any children, this is a manga that I could share with them.
Imadoki! is one of those rare mangas you will encounter. Though it is a typical high school story it is more. It is about friendship, determination, courage, and most of all love. Yamazaki Tanpopo enters Meio Academy where everyone is rich and snubs her. She being a middle-class person tries to befriend the "lord" of the school Kugyou Koki. B/c he wants nothing to do with her, Tanpopo starts up the gardening committee. Gradually Koki's barriers around his heart are broken and he becomes her friend. They are joined by other students slowly, and little by little Tanpopo has an impact on their life as do they on her.
I must say Imadoki is probably one of the most hilarious mangas I have read. I found myself laughing almost every page--mainly because of the character "Flippy" but also because of how naive Tanpopo is. But I love her...she is a strong, determined, couragous girl who puts friendship before anything else.
My friend and I went shopping and she bought this. Reading the back of the book, the plot sounded dull and I totally dissed it...but I found scanlations of it and read it out of curiousity and ended up loving it sooo much I just had to buy it in actual book form. And so far out of all the Yuu Watase manga I've read, this is probably my favorite.
So if you are a fan of shoujo manga pick this up (its only 5 volumes) and join in on the fun in Imadoki! I'm sure you'll be laughing really hard but yet be touched by this wonderful tale.
on July 23, 2004
The girl from a middle-class family going to a school populated with rich students is a classic shoujo plotline. She suffers horrible abuse, but still somehow ends up with the guy. Series like "Hana Yori Dango" (Boys Over Flowers) is one of the better known varieties of this story.
In "Imadoki" the big difference from the formula is that the main character, Tanpopo, is utterly clueless to some of the taunts and pranks. She doesn't get depressed or plot revenge. She's more concerned with the flowers she planted outside the school building.
This title reminded me of "Pollyanna" in some respects. Tanpopo is almost always cheerful and when another character tells her that she will be Tanpopo's bitter rival for the affection of the male love interest, Tanpopo reacts by saying, "Seeing the real you is so cool!" And, like in "Pollyanna," I can actually see her approach working with other students. She's gradually winning folks over. I'm sure she'll end up on the top of the heap by the end of the series and will have changed the fabric of the school's interpersonal politics by the end.
Still, it's a standard formula, and unless I see some deviation or more interesting character development by the second book, I don't know if I'll read it past that point.
on July 4, 2004
Imadoki has become one of my all time favorite graphic novels. Along with the beautiful art of Yuu Watase we are led into a fantastic world of rich kids where money and family background means everything. For the honest and bubbly Tanpopo, this is a great chance to make new friends. Unfortunately she is met with many troubles along the way as she slowly breaks down the stoic barriers of several very quirky students. Together their experiences lead them into what true friendship is in days like this, allowing them to put aside their bizarre differences and create lasting friendships. I'm especially fond of the theme of flowers that ties this whole story together. The main characters name, Tanpopo, translates as Dandelion, and she uses the love of flowers and act of caring for them to help her make her own friends. It's beautiful to see how her and her friends all blossom together. ^^
on January 26, 2005
I mean, it sounded kind of corny, you know? Wanting to be friends with a guy so you create a planting club? But I had seen some of Yu Watase's work and I decided to go ahead and give this one a try. It was hilarious! and you end up completely involved in the characters and plot line.
Basically, this story is about a girl who gets into a rich kids private school. She doesn't really fit in, but on her first day at the school she meets a guy who seems like he would make a good friend. But when she sees him around other people, he's a completely different person! Tanpopo (the main character) is then determined to break through his cold persona and in the process makes a few friends along the way.
I honestly can't wait for the next one to come out!