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Short-Tempered Melancholic and Other Stories
by Arina Tanemura

Arina Tanemura has never reached the blockbuster levels of manga artists like Rumiko Takahashi or Naoko Takeuchi, but she has a decent-sized American fan base who enjoy her series Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Full Moon o Sagashite and The Gentleman’s Alliance Cross. Some of her earliest short stories, including her debut work, have been gathered into an anthology. All the stories in Short-Tempered Melancholic and Other Stories revolve around the blossoming of young romance: a teenage ninja agrees to give up her powers when her crush decides that she isn’t ladylike enough, a girl asks her best friend to impersonate her when she’s too shy to meet a penpal for the first time, another young lady always leaves her umbrella at home so she can share one with the guy she likes, and a girl has a secret crush on her best friend’s boyfriend.

Tanemura has a style that is quite distinctive from other shoujo artists. Her characters look like no one else’s. However, they do tend to look very much like each other. It seems as if Tanemura has about two designs for guys and three designs for girls, and if you’re familiar with her other series you’ve seen many of these figures before. They may have had different names, but the face and age and general personalities are unchanged.

The stories tend to be rushed, with little character development. I wouldn’t really recommend them unless you like quick, fluffy little shoujo stories. There are definitely some cute moments – I found myself smiling at the silliness of “This Love is Nonfiction,” in which two penpals arrange to meet up, but each asks a friend to stand in for them because they aren’t confident enough in their appearance. But you’ve surely read something very similar to these stories before.

Although I wouldn’t say the stories are new or novel, if you’re a fan of Tanemura’s later works it is fun to see where she began – and just how far her storytelling abilities have come since then.

3 out of 5 stars

To read more about Short-Tempered Melancholic and Other Stories, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Nevermore: A Graphic Adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s Short Stories
2011: Fashionista Piranha will be on hiatus for a while…
2010: Sometimes We’re Always Real Same-Same by Mattox Roesch
2009: Murder of a Medici Princess by Caroline Murphy


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