I was just about to do something productive. Thank god I thought to do this instead.
Please feel free to recommend me romance manga, or ask for recommendations. I'd be happy to provide, or be provided with.
This thread is to form a couple with this one, for I am somewhat well-versed in both areas:
To begin with, it is important to highlight a few tags, which I'll be using for organisational purposes.
Be fairly warned. I do not know what constitutes as a spoiler to you, so if you find things like whether or not there is a confession scene or how far the couple goes to be a spoiler, please avoid reading my comments.
Kare Kano - Shoujo, Drama
When somebody thinks "Romance Manga" the first thing that comes into their minds is a teenage relationship. Meeting someone, falling in love and fulfilling your teenage dream. Kare Kano is one of the first things anybody recommends when you ask for a romance. Whilst that speaks for itself, allow me to corroborate it: Kare Kano is actually fantastic. It is the typical story of two teenagers falling in love with a lot of twists and turns in the middle, wonderfully comedic too. I could not have asked for more. If I were to complain about anything at all, I wasn't too keen on a particular facet of the main guy. I will mention that the protagonist is the female, I'm pretty positive. You can probably tell the story wasn't memorable enough for me to remember details, though...
Bonnouji - Josei, H-Scenes
Is my go to recommendation for a relaxing romance. That is all it is, literally. The female protagonist broke up with her boyfriend and is left somewhat broken. It is at this point she meets somebody who lives in the same building, and they become friends. Eventually, they fall in love. And that is it. Most if not all of the story is spent inside the flat of one of the two, and they relax, converse, play with packages they receive from a man they know and fall in love. Both of them are adults, sometimes they act like adults, their time is spent relaxing, playing and talking. You could say basically nothing happens in this manga and you'd be mostly right, and that's totally fine. When two people love each other there isn't much more to develop, truth be told. Wholehearted recommendation (although it's so short you may cry as a consequence).
Orange Yane no Chiisana Ie - Other
A divorced man with two male children and a divorced woman with two female children get conned and end up living in the same house. If you can somehow believe that both parties would accept living together for more than a few days, then you'll find a brilliant story of family bonding and love. Both families cooperate with each other, and then feud with each other, and then cooperate again. You can see the period of adaptation they go through, and I thought it was well done. Eventually they establish bonds, whether or not they admit it. Familial bonds and even love bonds. The manga could not possibly be better, mostly because I'm a sucker, pardon the expression, for family.
Living Game - Other
Where Orange is about two half-families living together, Living game is about two individuals, with a perceptible age gap, living together... sometimes. It's... complicated. A lot of stuff happens and sometimes they live together, and as should be predicted they fall in love and one's an adult and the other a teenager, yada yada. Sometimes it's even hard to guess who's the most infantile. Through all hoops and difficulties I ended up loving the two of them, they ended up loving each other, and I loved the manga. Here's to a romance about living together, which I'm also weak to!
Boku ni Natta Watashi - Shoujo, Gender-Bending
Here's another thing I'm weak to. Cross-dressing. Ok, I may not be weak to it per say, but I have to admit, I really loved this one for some reason. It's about a girl who is forced to enrol in a boy's only high school, with dormitories! I'll be completely honest. I don't remember much beyond the fact that I loved it. So, if my word is worth anything to you, go read it! Otherwise, next!
HajiOtsu - Shoujo
What if the very first scene of your manga was a confession scene? It wasn't the first time I'd seen such a premise, but it's certainly one of the better executions. The culmination of the shy girl trope, this story's protagonist, is deathly afraid of the male gender. However, she ends up confessing to a boy who lives nearby, and he accepted! Boyfriend acquired. Now all she needs is the courage to look at him. And speak to him, too -- I heard couples do that kind of stuff, right? There's nothing quite so cute as watching a couple slowly get used to one another, especially when both are ridiculously conscientious, and shy. Read as they warm up to one another and are supported by an excellent supporting cast that, just when it looked like they'd get some real development, were left to dry as the story abruptly ended. Indeed, this may very well leave you wanting for more, especially if you liked the main protagonists. Unfortunately, no more for you. The art is terribly clear and, consequently, very pretty.
Last Game - Shoujo
This manga is one of the best examples of "Melting the Ice Queen". It shows us the story of a rich man pursuing his crush all through his childhood, finally catching up with him in the present day, when both him and her are students in the same university. Indeed, for once it's a Shoujo not set in high-school, although the setting does not wildly diverge from it, either... As for Ms. Ice Queen herself, she is not so in the traditional sense, as she simply sucks at interacting with other people. This is the story of how she slowly realises how truly complicated human relationships are, and how she has been taking her "childhood friend" for granted. This story's main strength is, once again, the cuteness of our main heroine, and the pitiable existence of her crush, who has decided to make his advances very, very slowly, since he has all the time in the world. It dragged on a little at the end, as they tend to, but it was otherwise extremely cute, and the main couple is fantastic.
Could be compared to the likes Kimi ni Todoke, assuming it ended after the confession, or Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, assuming the characters were way cuter and the drama was a tad less (Both of which I'd heartily recommend for the same reasons. Check my anime recommendations for more information. The manga version is even better).
Eensy Weensy Monster - Shoujo
This title asks you: "Do you have a little monster inside of you? A little, dark creature that makes you spill your innermost thoughts, even when you shouldn't?". This is exactly what this story is about. Our protagonist is an average, gentle soul who everybody regards as cheerful, never getting mad or sad; until one day, she came across a super popular guy. A pampered guy who has a beautiful face, good grades, is great at sports, and loved by all the girls, with little to no effort. And so, she blew up. Spitting vitriol in his face, she tells him exactly what nobody's bothered to tell him before, how much of a spoilt, pampered child he is. And so, the lives of our protagonists begin to change, with a girl that's just a little to honest, and a boy that never before knew the taste of harshness.
One of its main draws is, without a doubt, how unexpected the developments are. I won't say it subverts all clichés, but it certainly threw me for a loop with the direction they went for. I expected something else entirely. Instead, just keep in mind that this is a comedy, and throws drama out the window at every turn.
Kimi wa Pet - Josei, H-Scenes, Nudity
Imagine keeping a human as a pet. A younger lad, in his early twenties. You also need to imagine that you're a woman, in case you aren't.
The female protagonist in this story is no weak lady. We follow her as she lives her life with her "pet". A lot of the manga is dedicated to her stressful daily life, due to work or romance, and to her interactions with her "pet" -- her means of relaxation. Maybe you could claim that there's a love triangle. Maybe you can't. I wish I could say more, but I can't, for I just surmised it. Be prepared for excellent interaction and romance; both with her lover and her pet. Speaking of the pet, make no mistake. He is not some super horny male who keeps making advances on his owner or any such thing. He is very much an animal in bed.
Angel Densetsu - Other
This is the story of a man who looks so evil that everyone submits to his apparent strength. It is a story of misunderstandings. When how good a person you are is proportional only to how evil you look, and you look really damn evil, hilarity ensues. It is one hell of a comedy. Read on as the nicest highscool boy you've ever met becomes the leader of the delinquents and makes any average person on the street run over in the opposite direction or turn over their wallet.
The romance? Oh, yeah, that. There's this girl who actually figured out you're a nice guy. You can see how it goes. Just beware, it takes its time, but neither is it the focus, so I pardon it.
And I feel you should be aware that the first many chapters have art that looks like the artist used the wrong hand and had his eyes closed while drawing. If you can put up with it, it gets better.
Karakuri Odette - Shoujo, Nudity????
Did you like Chobits? Excellent. This is even better. Maybe.
Welcome to the story of a girl android. One of the better executed ones I've ever seen. Not in the sense that she feels like an android -- there's plenty of dubious technology and mechanics and ideas, as with any story containing a humanoid android -- but in the sense that it truly, really, feels like somebody learning to be human. From her earlier curious stoic self she develops into something with feelings and thoughts, opinions and who makes decisions. This is even better when contrasted with her earlier self or with any other androids present. The character development feels incredibly smooth, with no one chapter sticking out as personality changing, or her acting drastically to the point where it seems out of character. The side cast is also fantastic.
I imagine the ending will be divisive. It is very much the kind of ending I'd typically hate -- not particularly conclusive, and with a thread left hanging -- but what happens next is implied to the point where I had no issues. It's also the kind of ending that'd make me revoke its "Romance" tag, but I'll be keeping it since she develops important bonds with many people, and that is romance in and of itself.
Warau Kanoko-sama - Shoujo
Finalizing the trilogy of pretty much not romances, this title introduces one of my favourite characters of all time: Kanoko Naedoko.
The best thing about this manga is that the main character doesn't really change. wat is dis no character development wat wat arghdteggd,shs!!!!1!! Understand, the title in English would likely be something similar to "Laughing Kanoko-sama", and for good reason. Kanoko is someone who is primarily concerned with watching other people, and analysing/noting how the act and comport themselves. Understanding their feelings and rationale -- chuckling at their hypocrisy or interactions all the while. To achieve this, she must remain impartial and objective, and therefore, avoid befriending or interacting with anyone. And she does. Almost. She ends up 'befriending' a couple of people at her first school, and these people lead her to somewhat develop her beliefs, without intrinsically changing her personality, like many other manga tend to do.
The story almost takes upon the format of a bunch of short stories that occur as Kanoko changes schools due to family circumstances. At each school, she ends up invariably interacting with people, though not through her desire in particular, and, through her coldness, bluntness, frankness, and analytical prowess, helping them. Even then, the majority of the time is spent looking at other people and their stories.
Over the course of this manga the romance does not develop much, but that isn't the important part. For that there's a sequel, one I didn't like much, but fairly decent in its own right. Also, that one also takes a slowwwwww approach to romance. In general, this series just isn't the best in that particular department.
Love Celeb - Shoujo, Nudity, H-Scenes, Smut
Here's the story of a girl who aspires to be an artist. As it happens, she has the bad luck that her talent isn't extraordinary enough to attract the important people's attention, and that everyone else seems to be employing dirty tactics to get gigs and jobs. Oh, I do mean dirty very literally. In this depiction of the entertainment world, just about anybody looking to move up in the ranks does so by sleeping with the important people who decide if they get them or not. In this world, our pure hearted protagonist stands no chance. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for her, she happens to catch the eye of a super important guy, who proposes to buy her. Protagonist-chan is not amused.
If you're reading this, you're reading it for the smut and/or "romance". I thought this was fairly racy, and really liked it as a result. There's little else of any worth, so far as I recall.
Renai Shijou Shugi - Shoujo, Nudity, H-Scenes, Smut
Much like the above, you won't find much in the way of coherent plot or logical progression. In fact, I am willing to bet you will find a lot of what goes on to be not only improbable and ridiculous, but also degrading. Regardless, something within it sparked something within me. The story goes from evil guy who almost rapes our protagonist to evil guy who almost/pretty much rapes our protagonist, where she ends up being saved by the male hero every time -- said hero also frequently has sex with her. Seeing a pattern yet?
This is a story whose focus is on sex and love. Love buried by all the sex, but love nonetheless -- you can even see glimpses of it every now and then. The finale was also good. Once they were done with all the almost rape/pretty much rape/actual rape.
Mint na Bokura - Shoujo, Gender-Bending
There once were two twins who were very close to each other; a boy and a girl. One day, the girl fell for the coach of another school's basketball team, and decided to secretly transfer to said boarding school without telling her brother, who was very attached to her. Once she did, and he found out, he tried to transfer too, but there were no places left for boys! Well then, the solution is simple: transfer as a girl. And so he did. His main objective being, as the siscon he is, getting in the way of his sister's relationships.
What makes this good? It feels like Josei. The characters aren't stupid or dense, and there's no 'one true love', characters pursuing multiple relationships, establishing bonds, and understanding when something doesn't work. It's also not only one couple and both the siblings are protagonists, to an extent. Essentially, the rivalries and relationships of highschool characters seem to be well represented without delving into unnecessary drama. There's also some good comedy.
Difficult to explain, nevertheless a definite recommendation.
Ultra Maniac - Shoujo
By the same author as the above, this is a similar sort of story with a different premise. Expect multiple couples, good comedy, excellent characters and no melodrama. Things make sense and characters are neither dumb, nor do they act out of porportion with the issues they face. Other than that, it's a manga about a little witch who transfers into a human school and makes friends with a human girl, and her quest to be helpful with her magic despite being bad at magic.
Spicy Pink - Josei
Finally, my last recommendation by this author (though I'd actually recommend everything; for drama, Cappuccino). A depiction of a mangaka and her love life. Same traits as the previous: Wonderful characters, no melodrama, nice comedy. All three of these last recommendations are wondrous romances I'd recommend to anyone.
Yeah, I know these are getting kinda short. That's mostly because they apply to all three and I'd like these to be more than just a rewrite of the manga synopsis. I'm just finding it difficult to better explain other than how much of a romance it is.
Skill of Lure - Other
Is this cheating? It probably is. This isn't actually a manga. Doesn't matter. It's still the best thing since the previous best thing.
This is a story about your typical protagonist, who, by his panic-induced illogical actions, has a propensity to act as if he were a pervert, causing women to label him as such. But there's more. There's also his best friend, who you could label as a playboy, but a special kind of playboy -- one who thinks of the women first. His friend, then, decides to teach him how to interact with women, and how to pursue his love. And it's awesome. Putting aside how much of these life lessons are applicable in real life, it's fantastic to see him growing over the course of the story, and seeing his crush recognise him for who he really is. Other plotpoints and side stories are brought up, but those unrelated to our protagonists mostly end up dead in the water. And that's still fine, because the real story is about the protagonist and his friend, as well as the protagonist and his love interest, and how they sweet they are and such and such. You know, romance. The romance bit's well done, and the friendship bit is also well done, and that's what this list focuses on.
Hapi Mari: Happy Marriage!? - Josei
The premise is such that you are likely to have heard of it before. A woman whose family is buried in debt becomes engaged to the owner of a huge company. Even if you have heard of it before, though, that does not mean that the story goes on to be bad. Its main themes are learning to become a 'family', or, more specifically, learning to love each other, and it is in that way that it's very comparable to the Orange Yane no Chiisana Ie manga I mentioned way above. Which is also why it really appealed to me. It is not a story about following your passions and crushes, but about developing bonds and learning to love.
Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji - Shoujo
To truly appreciate this story you may need to thicken your skin a bit. The protagonist is, for the first fifth of the story, rather cold to the heroine, using her as his personal gopher and tricking her so as to make her think that he likes her. Whilst the transition from when he was tricking her to when he started just teasing, having fallen in love with her without realising it, is unclear, after they officially begun dating it became a story much to my taste. The focus was not always on the couple, but one the issues either one of them tackled, and how they supported each other to overcome them. They also had intimate moments aplenty, and strain the relationship, which they attempted to overcome. How lovely.
Kanojo ni Naru Hi - Other, Gender-Bending, H-Scenes
Be careful. This manga tackles the issues of changing gender and gender-specific urges/problems somewhat crudely, which may cause offence to some. If you're not bothered by any such things, you may find one of the greatest manga you have seen. Do you like couples fawning on each other? Do you like flirting and open displays of affection? Do you like the idea of lovers living together? Do you like to have each of them work toward their own goals, but support each other all the while? Perhaps this manga pushed my very particular buttons, but the vast majority of it represents a... peculiar relationship, due to the circumstances, but a real relationship nevertheless. If you've made it thus far, you know what I like: A couple working together to overcome their obstacles in life, establishing bonds and an open relationship and learning to love one another. And this title delivers that in spades.
...I would go on, but I fear I'd be here all year. Literally. This post was started on February of last year.
There's plenty more lovely romance manga out there, but I don't believe I can write about them all. But feel free to ask, should you find any one my list you want to know about!