Manga Reviews: Orphans as Protagonists

Wild Ones by Kiyo Fujiwara

If you are in the mood for a love story with beautiful illustrations and a strong female protagonist, Wild Ones, a popular series by Kiyo Fujiwara might be just perfect for you.

Sachie Wakamura loses her mother when she is 15. Her “normal” teenage life turns upside down when an elderly gentleman shows up at her door and claims to be her long-lost grandfather. Sachie finds out that her grandfather is the leader of a Yakuza gang. Grandpa assigns a young and handsome Rakuto Igarashi to be her personal bodyguard. Rakuto happens to be the most popular student in high school. Without realizing it, Sachie becomes the envy of her classmates while trying to adjust to her new life.

As the story of her family's past unfolds, Sachie confronts with new challenges at home and school. Being independent, she wants to prove to Rakuto and Grandpa that she, too, can protect herself from danger. While her grandpa and the Yakuza group help their neighbors from local trouble makers, Sachie herself runs into a shoplifter who accuses her of committing the crime.

Emma by Kaoru Mori

An orphan living in England during the Victorian era, Emma is adopted by Mrs. Stownar, a former governess of a powerful and rich family, the Jones. She learns from Mrs. Stownar how to work as a maid for the household. One day, William Jones pays a visit to his former governess. William meets Emma and feels interested in the kind-hearted lady. However, class distinctions stand between them. Emma and William will have to work out the differences so that they can get to know more about each others and maintain their blossoming relationship. In the meantime, William unexpectedly has a love rival when his close friend, Prince Hakim from India, comes to town.

Kaoru Mori beautifully captures images of England near the end of the 19th century. Her artworks are captivating with striking details. I enjoyed seeing the towns and buildings as well as the characters’ elegant costumes. Mori received the Excellence Prize from Japan Media Arts Festival for her Emma series.

Another historical series by Mori that is worth reading is A Bride’s Story. This manga is available for checkout through our online catalog.

About the Author

Sukalaya Kenworthy is a youth associate at the Central Library. Sukalaya has a bachelor's degree in English and a master of arts degree in teaching English as a second language. Growing up in Thailand, Sukalaya enjoyed reading manga and children's literature in both Thai and English. Contact Sukalaya at 816-701-3441 or E-mail Sukalaya
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