While there were no where near as many josei (ladies') manga titles released as there were shonen, shojo or seinen manga this year, there were still enough notable newcomers to fill up the 2008 Best New Josei Manga Poll with some interesting choices. When the voting first opened, it looked like the sweet one-shot Be With You by Takuji Ichikawa, Sai Kawashima and Yoko Iino (Shojo Beat / VIZ Media) would face the strongest competition from the verrry sexy Maka-Maka by Kishi Torajiro (Kitty Media / Media Blasters). But in the end, Object of Desire by Tomoko Noguchi from Luv-Luv Press / Aurora Publishing came out on top.
In a way, it seems fitting that this award goes to Object of Desire, because it's a title from Aurora's Luv-Luv Press imprint. Luv-Luv started up in early 2008 to offer purely josei manga with sexy romances for grown-up readers. While TokyoPop tried to give its josei manga offerings its own identity with its Passionfruit imprint, at this point, Luv-Luv is the only American company expressly dedicated to this kind of mature manga stories.
Object of Desire is actually a collection of short stories. The title story is about Kako, a pretty college student who has no shortage of male suitors. However, Kako is digusted with her would-be boyfriends who woo her with words of love, when all they really want is a little fun. When a classmate tells her that he just wants to have sex, Kako is disarmed by his honesty, and agrees. But the twist is that she finds herself feeling really attracted to him and hoping for something more.
Meanwhile, Maka-Maka did manage to hold onto second place, and Be With You ended up sharing third place with Vassalord by Nanae Chrono from TokyoPop. If you like josei manga, but haven't had a chance to check these out, give them a shot. I do feel obliged to warn you that Maka-Maka is almost entirely sexually explicit and is strictly for mature readers, and Vassalord has its share of steamy guy-on-guy, uh, "interactions," shall we say.
See the rest of the nominees and see how they placed at the Best New Josei (Ladies') Manga poll page, and view the full results of the voting. Also, see the rest of the results in all of the 2008 Readers' Polls. Thanks for voting! Next up: the results of the Best New Classic Manga and Best New Original English Manga / Global Manga polls.
Image credit: © Tomoko Noguchi / Ohzora Publications