Kodocha - A Forrest Review
Back in 2002, Tokyopop published a shoujo manga series called Kodocha by Miho Obana, in English, in North America. It was probably that same year when I discovered it, wandering down the manga shelves in Barnes and Noble. I'd never bought manga before, but I vaguely knew what it was. I certainly knew what anime was.
Picking up that first volume, I was like... "What the heck. This looks really neat." Like yeah maybe the cover art was a little goofy, but these kids look bad ass. The main character is a GIRL and she's wearing FINGERLESS GLOVES. She looks like she's about to punch somebody. These kids look like punks. I was in middle school at the time, so this comic was something I really wanted to try out.
Actually reading the volume, it's not quite as "dangerous" as the cover implies: Sana Kurata is not a punk, but she Takes No Shit from the class bullies, the head bully being Akito, a boy with zero care in the world but seemingly to cause chaos and let the other boys of the class do whatever the heck they want. Sana and her friends just want to learn! But things start to go too far, and Sana finally takes Akito head on.
Akito is not as he seems, and Sana begins to learn more about him and his home life. Her main drive is to fix all the problems around her, which can cause for a lot of entertaining situations. The series focuses on their relationship as enemies/friends, as well as her other friends and family, and her career as a child-actress. It's basically a dramedy/romcom, and...it's fantastic! There are so many ups and downs to this story, and it's extremely funny and moving. It was a smash hit in Japan for a reason.
Can Kodocha be a little overdramatic sometimes? Hell yes! But it's about a bunch of middle schoolers: kids can totally be dramatic. So it fits, and it makes sense, and for me the ten volumes is a perfect length.
Sana is a strong ball of sunshine. She wants to see good in the world, to help people, and I feel like I've striven to hold a similar energy since first reading her all those years ago. I 100% would recommend this series, and I'm proud to still have these volumes on my shelf after almost twenty years. :p
So check them out! Let me know your thoughts in the comments. :) And if you enjoyed this post, I'd love a like, follow/subscribe & maybe you might want to buy me a coffee?