Manga Reviews

Friday, February 24, 2006

Kodocha: Sana's Stage

Kodocha: Sana's Stage (Original Title: Kodomo no Omocha) by Miho Obana
10 volumes
Licensed by TokyoPop
Topics: Shoujo, Comedy, Romance, Drama

Warning: Mature Themes, Language

Kurata Sana is an 11-year-old TV star who works hard, plays hard, and solves any problem that gets in her way - even if it's class bully Hayama Akito, who terrorizes the teacher and causes daily chaos. At first her schemes to put Akito in his place go hilariously awry, but eventually Sana does get him to back off. In the process, however, she starts to understand why he is the way he is, and of course decides that this is something else she needs to "fix." Being Sana, she won't give up until she succeeds!

At the same time, Sana is serious about her acting career. With the help of her mother, a famous writer who allows a squirrel to live on her head, and her manager (and gigolo) Rei, who never EVER takes off his sunglasses, she's very successful. There is a reason why this success is so important to her, though - a reason known only to Sana and her mother. That's just another situation Sana will have to do her best to "fix".

Don't let the ages of the main characters and the lighthearted beginning fool you, this manga is not for the kids. There's plenty of humor throughout, some of it on the bizarre side, but Sana and her friends and family also face many major issues in a very realistic way. All of the characters are well developed and authentic, including Sana's mother, her manager, Akito's family, and Sana and Akito's friends and rivals.

Everyone grows and matures throughout the manga, and even when the events push the borders of realism, the characters still ring true. I love that, though the overall tone of the story is sweet and heartwarming, there are enough bizarre, comic, and smart-mouthed moments to keep it safely distant from sickly-sweetness.

Rating: 8.5/10

-- Review Submitted by TofuQueen


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