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Songs to Make You Smile

August 1, 2010

Songs to Make You Smile: Stories from the Creator of Fruits Basket
by:
Natsuki Takaya
Published by: Tokyopop
from the publisher: In these touching and unforgettable stories from Natsuki Takaya, young men and women search for the things that mean the most to them, from the love of a deceased father to the perfect, uplifting melody. And finally, a side story from Tsubasa: Those with Wings.
my ramblings: I’m really not a big fan of early Takaya art, but some of the stories here were enjoyable despite the art. The book is a series of 5 short stories (one of which is a completely random side-story for Tsubasa: Those With Wings and really the reason I borrowed this from a friend).

Overall the book was well done, though I really don’t like the cover; I actually prefer the Japanese cover and that’s unusual for a Hakusensha title (since they have a terribly boring trade dress). I like the idea for the cover, but I really don’t like the stripes they added. The editing inside however seemed great. They did use “smle” twice in the same sidebar instead of “smile” but like I said, it was in the side bar and not the actual story, so it’s a little easier to forgive.

I think the first, and title, story might have been my favorite. The “character who looks mean, but is really a nice person” trope is overused, but the story was still cute and I like the development between the characters. The second story, Ding Dong, was super early Takaya art and I almost couldn’t read it (I know that sounds terrible…). I’m glad I did though, as it was nice to see a story with almost no romance and just interactions between family members. I’m always big on stories about music, so the next story, Voice of Mine, was nice. It was pretty similar to La Corda d’Oro (and not just because of the music thing). The next story, Double Flower, reminded me a lot of Otomen, which also made it enjoyable. …Actually, it was a whole lot like a short version of Otomen, except Juta is a young girl. The Final story was the Tsubasa: Those With Wings sidestory, entitled Princess Dark Black. It was basically Takaya taking the characters from Tsubasa and messing up the fairy tale of Snow White. Needless to say, it was weird. I was hoping for a more normal side story (maybe even a time-skip story), so I was kind of let down.

This is definitely not the worst compiled one-shot volume I’ve read, but I’m not sure I’d suggest it. If you love Takaya, go for it, but if you’re just a fan of Furuba, you may not want to read it.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. warriorhope permalink
    August 1, 2010 6:20 pm

    I actually don’t mind her early art as much. I’m not as fond of later fruits basket art. But I agree the first story is the best. Overused idea, but very cute. I also enjoyed the last story. We need more Otomen stories.

    • August 1, 2010 8:45 pm

      haha, I’m the total opposite, I really like the later Furuba art. xD (and Hoshi wa Utau art, which I’d like to see licensed, so I can read it and not just look at the pictures.)

      I would love to see more stories like Otomen~ :D

  2. August 9, 2010 7:21 pm

    Woah! I didn’t even know this was released by tokyopop, thank you so much for this post! I personally like the cover quite a bit. I understand why you don’t like the stripes, but otherwise it’s quite pretty and cute.

    • August 9, 2010 8:43 pm

      Sure~
      If they had just gone with a fade-out effect for the top image, I would have really liked it; I’m just not a huge fan of stripes. xD

  3. August 12, 2010 1:43 pm

    Reading the description about the first story, I instantly thought of Tora Dora (really need to finish that series off – I only read bits of the manga >_<)

    If the library near me carries this, I'll definitely check it out <– hasn't been yet (because I'm liking the idea of a Otomen like chapter and a La Corda like chapter :3).
    I really need to find libraries that carry manga titles xD

    • August 12, 2010 2:52 pm

      The guy is like Ryuji from ToraDora (minus the awesome house wife skillz), but the girl is nothing like Taiga, she’s really kinda meek.

      I love when libraries carry manga. If things work out and I do get my Masters in Library Science, I’m going to make sure that the library I work at gets a fantastic selection of manga. The local one here isn’t terrible, but they mostly have Naruto, Bleach, and Furuba (though they do have all of Emma and I completely applaud them for it!).

  4. August 17, 2010 7:10 pm

    I’m not a huge fan of those stripes they added, either, but the book itself sounds great!

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