Mangaka: Meca Tanaka
After their parents’ death, Fumino Kaji and her little brother Teppei spend nearly a year being shuffled between various relatives who don’t want them. Finally, Fumino gets fed up with it all and, collecting Teppei, runs away. When her teacher Kazuma (the only person who actually came looking for them) finds them and tries to get them to go home(?), Fumino blows up in his face and dares him to marry her and take them in. Shockingly, Kazuma agrees. Now they face the challenge of keeping their relationship a secret (since they’re still teacher and student) on top of the trials of any growing romance. Furthermore, for all that he’s lovey-dovey acting with her, Kazuma still keeps his distance and won’t touch Fumino. Will he ever really treat her as his wife?
Faster than a Kiss is one of those manga that sounds kind of sketch but is actually sweet and adorable. (Why is it anyhow that so many shoujo manga deal with so-called forbidden relationships?) In any case, this is one of the most sweet, straightforward, lovey-dovey, and cute manga I’ve read. The characters are wonderful: Kazuma’s blend of teacherly responsibility, bad-boy past, and hidden sadism is highly appealing–plus he’s a very cute/cool megane guy. Fumino is not your typical shoujo heroine either; she’s brash, sometimes childish, but gutsy as can be and always striving to grow up and improve herself. Teppei is, or course, just plain adorable. Multiple well-developed side characters add a lot to the story as well. The art is also quite nice; nothing overdone, just a pretty, clean, expressive shoujo style that works well with the story. Recommended for those with a taste for innocent romance.
Note: As far as I can find, this is not currently available in the States. (Lobby the publishers; it needs to be published!) However, there are some quite decent fan translations available online if you look.