Mangaka: Meca Tanaka
Kanji Inui’s already busy life at the family-run talent agency, Dog Run, becomes even more chaotic when an old acquaintance Tamako Momono comes rocketing back into his life. This impetuous, headstrong girl is the secret child of a much-loved actress–who happens to be Dog Run’s client and an old friend of the manager, Kanji’s dad. So naturally, to make Kanji’s life even more complicated, Tamako comes to stay at the Inui home so that her mom’s secret isn’t leaked . . . which is just fine with Tamako, who is holding on to Kanji’s childhood promise (completely forgotten by him, of course) to marry her. It doesn’t hurt that Kanji is also a great cook, housekeeper, and agent, although Tamako is determined to become a better woman and be worthy of him. Thus, along with her friends the boy-band Rain, she strives to make her debut, both in the entertainment industry and in Kanji’s heart. And well, this is a shoujo manga. . . .
Pearl Pink is a fun, sweet, and amusing story by the author of such classics as Faster than a Kiss and Sailor Fuku ni Onegai!. As I said before, it’s definitely shoujo, with all that entails (including a pleasantly happy ending), but it’s also full of interesting twists, randomnesses, and humor. Tanaka claims not to have developed the characters particularly thoroughly, but I actually find them delightful: quirky, unique, and unexpected. For instance, Tamako is quite the monkey-girl–impetuous, stubborn, and something of a natural idiot, talented in unexpected areas (like athletics, martial arts, and acting), yet impossible at basic skills like cooking (her onigiri crack me up!). Kanji also is interesting–serious and skillful in many areas (in this way, he makes me think of Otomen a bit), but a little dense at times also . . . and let’s not forget his scary/hilarious got-to-make-girls-pretty complex. I think Raizo’s my favorite character though–you’ll have to read the manga to find out why. Really, in spite of being Tanaka’s first serialized manga, and thus a bit cobbled together, I think Pearl Pink flows well and is quite enjoyable; I would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy shoujo manga, or cute love stories in general.