Shoujo Manga Maniac: Yuu Watase’s Imadoki

Shoujo Manga Maniac: Yuu Watase’s Imadoki

By: Meg Humphrey 

In comparison to Fushigi Yuugi, Ayashi no Ceres, Zettai Kareshi, and Alice 19th, I feel that Imadoki is the lesser known and unappreciated of Yuu Watase’s manga. This slice-of-life manga is relatively short at only five volumes and doesn’t feature any fantasy elements (unlike almost all of her other work).

IMADOKI 4Imadoki stars Tanpopo, an energetic and upbeat girl who moves to Tokyo for high school. She attends the prestigious Meio Academy, where every student comes from a wealthy and famous family. Being raised by her grandparents out in the country, Tanpopo stands out like a sore thumb and is bullied by many of her classmates. Tanpopo is resilient (“Tanpopo” is the word for dandelion AKA a weed) and even though the worst she manages to start a Gardening Committee and make friends with the school’s richest A-list student, Kyouki (his father also owns the school so he’s student body president). Of course their friendship only fuels the fire of jealousy and resentment of the student body against Tanpopo, but she doesn’t even seem to notice.


What makes Tanpopo and Imadoki stand out from Watase’s other works is that Tanpopo doesn’t spend her time complaining and feeling sorry for herself. She is a lady of action whose idealistic, thoughtful, and genuine behavior touches the hearts of those around her. It’s wonderful to see how the people around her, who all have obvious character flaws that come from being spoiled rich kids, grow and change because Tanpopo is in their lives.

IMADOKI 3Although Imadoki does feature love stories (complicated ones, of course, because it’s a shoujo manga), I don’t really see them as a central focus. Whatever dating and falling in love there is in the story is a tool that serves to push characters into maturing and being more honest with themselves.

If you like coming-of-age stories, then be sure to check out Imadoki! It will warm your heart as well as provide a few laughs and some good cries.v