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Award-winning Manga: Ultra-Fem Shishihara-kun

Award-winning Manga: Ultra-Fem Shishihara-kun

March 1, 2024

First round pick in the all Japan 2021 Next Manga Awards. Review by JC Hallows.

Yurika Mito is about to embark on her first year of high school, and she’s not sure what to expect — especially since her best friend is the attention-grabbing Shouta Shishihara. He’s cute, he’s bubbly, he’s great at cooking and knitting and sewing… you’d never suspect he was once the most dangerous gangster in town! Together, this mismatched pair will have to navigate daily high school life that’s anything but ordinary!

Ultra-Fem Shishihara-kun is a lighthearted comedy that follows the daily life of Yurika, a high school girl distinctly lacking in femininity, and her best friend Shouta Shishihara, an impossibly cute boy who loves baking and sewing — in other words, he’s more girly than any of his female classmates. This makes him popular with the girls and a target for the boys, but Shishihara also has a secret past as a dangerous gangster. Though he pretends to be weak, meek, and terrible at sports to hide his checkered past, Shishihara has an aggressive side that manifests when pressed — or when he thinks his childhood friend Yurika might be in danger. Together, the unlikely pair navigate their first year of high school, replete with visits to cafes, school club recruitments, and even the occasional stalker.

The rough-and-tumble “other side” of Shishihara-kun

At it’s heart, Shishihara-kun is a gag manga — every chapter is setting up a joke, and you’ll see the punchline by the end of it. So far, the humor mostly revolves around the stark contrast between Shishihara the feminine cutie and Shishihara the rough-and-tumble gangster. This is pretty entertaining, especially combined with great art that really revels in showing off how truly adorable the protagonist is. That said, hopefully a little more character development is on the horizon, especially for narrator Yurika, who falls a bit flat compared to the actual focus of the series. In particular, her self description as totally unfeminine rings a little hollow when she’s generally drawn as a pretty typical teenage girl. While their relationship continues to develop (the chapter where Shishihara takes Yurika out for a fashion makeover is particularly charming), more of this development would definitely add more depth to the manga.

Bubble tea, anyone?

Ultimately, though, Ultra-Fem Shishihara-kun doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is — a breezy comedy about the adventures of a lovingly-drawn, extremely cute boy. It’s the manga equivalent of candy — sure, it might not be substantially deep, but it’s nice to enjoy a dose of pure sugar once in a while.

Ultra-Fem Shishihara-kun is only available on the Mangamo app on iOS and Android. The first 2chapters are available to read for free.

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