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Strange Love: Shojo Manga's Weirdest Romances

10 Odd Couples and Unlikely Love Stories

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Ah, love sweet love. Boy meets girl and sparks fly – but in shojo manga, sometimes things aren't as simple as that. A masochist falls for a narcissist. A dog turns into a girl who falls for the neighborhood hunk. A shy girl discovers that her young neighbor was her lover in a past life… on the moon? And that's just for starters with these gender-bending and species-crossing odd couples and their quirky but endearing love stories.

Portrait of M & N

Portrait of M & N Volume 1
M TO N NO SHOUZOU © 1999 Tachibana Higuchi / HAKUSENSHA, INC.

Author / Artist: Higuchi Tachibana
Publisher: TokyoPop
US Publication Date: February 2009
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Pretty and delicate Mitsuru immediately attracts attention on the first day of school, but she turns down all her would-be suitors. Few would think that she would be attracted to studious and serious Natsuhiko - but this unlikely pair discovers that they each have a secret that they dare not reveal to their classmates. Mitsuru is an extreme masochist who swoons at the thought of being hurt by someone else. Meanwhile, Natsuhiko is an extreme narcissist who can lose himself in ecstasy whenever he sees himself in a mirror.

Guru Guru Pon-Chan

Guru Guru Pon-Chan Vol. 1
© Satomi Ikezawa / KODANSHA

Author / Artist: Satomi Ikezawa
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
US Publication Date: July 2005
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Ponta is a mischievous Labrador retriever puppy who loves to play. She's just like any other dog until an eccentric inventor creates a magical bone that turns Pon-chan into a very cute teenage girl. Things only get weirder from there when this girl/dog falls in love with her handsome next door neighbor. Can this mismatched couple overcome their inter-species differences?

Beast Master

Beast Master Volume 1 by Kyousuke Motomi from Shojo Beat / VIZ Media
© 2007 Kyousuke MOTOMI / Shogakukan

Author / Artist: Kyousuke Motomi
Publisher: Shojo Beat Manga / VIZ Media
US Publication Date: November 2009
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Yuiko loves animals... but her overzealous enthusiasm for hugging critters tends to scare off most creatures big and small. That is until she meets Leo, a teen-age wild child who was raised in the wilderness. Yuiko has seen Leo's savage side and is a bit frightened by his ferocity, but she also seems to be the only person who can soothe this beast boy when he is overcome by his animal instincts.

Your and My Secret

Your and My Secret Volume 1 by Ai Morinaga, a shojo manga graphic novel published by TokyoPop
© Ai Morinaga

Author / Artist: Ai Morinaga
Publisher: TokyoPop
US Publication Date: March 2008
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Talk about your odd couple! Nanako is a pretty girl who would probably have her pick of male sweethearts if she wasn't so crass and crude. Akira is smart, handsome and sensitive - but he's such a wuss, no girl takes him seriously. When a strange device invented by her grandfather transfers Nanako's personality into Akira's body and Akira's consciousness into Nanako's body, the results seem to make everyone happy, except Akira and Nanako. Akira is especially skeeved out when his best friend Senbongi is attracted to him while he's in Nanako's body.

Otomen

Otomen Volume 1 by Aya Kanno, a shojo manga series from Shojo Beat Manga / VIZ Media
© Aya Kanno 2006 / HAKUSENSHA, Inc.

Author / Artist: Aya Kanno
Publisher: Shojo Beat Manga / VIZ Media
US Publication Date: February 2009
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It ain't easy being a manly man nowadays. Just ask Asuka Masamune – all the guys and gals at school admire his athleticism, his suave good looks and his cool, manly demeanor. But what they don't know is that beneath his macho exterior beats the heart of an "otomen" – a guy who loves girl-y hobbies. Asuka manages to keep up his macho façade until he meets Ryo – a pretty girl who comes from a martial arts-focused family, who is also an absolute disaster in the kitchen.

Black Bird

Black Bird Volume 1 by Kanako Sakurakouji from Shojo Beat Manga / VIZ Media
© Kanoko SAKURAKOUJI / Shogakukan Inc.

Author / Artist: Kanako Sakurakoji
Publisher: Shojo Beat Manga / VIZ Media
US Publication Date: August 2009
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Since she was a child, Misao could see yokai and demons. But since turning 16, Misao notices that these mischievous spirits are acting increasingly menacing. With the return of her childhood friend Kyo, Misao comes to understand why – now that she's grown, she's a special delicacy for demons: the scent of her blood drives demons mad with desire to eat her. Kyo comes to her rescue, but Misao discovers why: Kyo is a demon himself who wants to marry Misao to gain power for his clan.

Absolute Boyfriend

Absolute Boyfriend Vol. 1
ZETTAI KARESHI © Yuu Watase/Shogakukan Inc.

Author / Artist: Yuu Watase
Publisher: Shojo Beat Manga / VIZ Media
US Publication Date: February 2006
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Tired of being rejected by good looking guys, Riiko goes online and signs up for free trial of a "Nightly Lover" figure. What arrives at her front door is much more than she imagined: a life-sized android male who's super hot and uh, naked too. As she gets to know Night, Riiko finds herself falling for this "perfect" lover – but will Night get in the way of her finding real love with a real guy?

Please Save My Earth

Please Save My Earth Vol. 1
BOKU NO CHIKYUU WO MAMOTTE © Saki Hiwatari 1986

Author / Artist: Saki Hiwatari
Publisher: VIZ Media
US Publication Date: October 2003
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Shy and gentle Alice Sakaguchi discovers that she and her classmates Jinpachi and Issei have been having similar recurring dreams. Strangely enough, these dreams take place on the moon, where Alice, Jinpachi and Issei are scientists from another world, along with four other people. As more is revealed about their past lives, Alice and her friends learn that their destinies are also intertwined with Alice's 7-year old neighbor Rin Kobayashi, a boy who claims to have loved Alice in their past life together.

Moon Child

Moon Child Vol. 1
© 1988 Reiko Shimizu / HAKUSENSHA, INC.

Author / Artist: Reiko Shimizu
Publisher: CMX Manga
US Publication Date: December 2005
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Hoh boy. How does one begin to explain how weird and addictive Moon Child is? There's a boy named Jimmy who may or may not be just a boy, a merman named Shonach who needs to mate with a mermaid to continue his species, a dancer in the middle of a love triangle between these mer-people that sets off a bizarre chain of events that just might destroy the world. It's almost impossible to describe Moon Child without giving away the surprising twists that make it such a compelling read. But trust me, it's truly bizarre.

Pig Bride

Pig Bride Vol. 1
© KookHwa Huh, SuJin Kim / Haksan Publishing Co., Ltd.

Author: KookHwa Huh
Artist: SuJin Kim
Publisher: Yen Press
US Publication Date: April 2009
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As a young boy, Si-Joon Lee gets lost in the forest and through a series of odd circumstances, agrees to an arranged marriage. Fast forward several years and Si-Joon is a high school student who has his eye on the prettiest girl in school, Doe-Doe. But Si-Joon's past promise comes back to haunt him when a mysterious girl wearing a pig mask arrives at his home telling him that she's his bride-to-be.

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