- Mangaka : Miyasaka, Kaho
- Publisher : Yen Press
- Genre : Historical, Romance, Shoujo
- Published : February 2021 - Ongoing
In Meiji-era Japan, sixteen-year-old Maria wishes she can change her appearance. Particularly her eyes and hair. Her mother is ashamed of her, making her feel even more depressed than it is. But when Maria meets a mischievous and handsome boy Rintarou, her understanding of beauty begins to change. Rintarou thinks Maria less pretty but more like a character straight out of a fairy tale! Let us witness the historical romance in the streets of Yokohama.
Kiniro Japanesque (Golden Japanesque) brings readers back to the Meiji-era in Japan. But! During this time, in this manga, we have western and Japanese culture, so it is a mix of both worlds and creates barriers between their people. The character designs and the environment are clean and solid. The character development between the main characters is a bit complicated but realistic to some extent in the right way.
1. The Ugly Duckling
If you have read an Ugly Duckling story, this is the concept that you would expect in this series. Maria has blue eyes and golden hair. The Japanese people describe her as a monster and consider it a misfortune. That makes her lose confidence and feel like an outlier in her birthplace. Such an experience can be applied to anyone. Most of us been through that, and the series serves as a good reminder that every individual is unique.
2. There Is Always Someone There for You
Other than being an outlier, there comes Rintarou. There is a complicated relationship between the main characters. Rintarou and his friends continually prank Maria. Seriously, don’t bully people. There is nothing to gain from it aside from labelling yourself as someone people wouldn’t hang out with and be alone for the rest of your life. Because of Maria’s experience, her reactions and actions aren’t what Rintarou expected, and that bothers him, but he finds her attractive because of how different she is compared to other girls he had met.
The main highlights in this manga, in terms of artwork, are the yukatas, ornaments, buildings and the environment. The way these elements were drawn is as if they carry lores of their own and puts readers in a position of visiting a museum to learn the history of the Japanese culture and the events they experience with foreigners. Although the story focuses more on the interactions between Maria and Rintarou, the design draws out and aligns with their personalities and actions.
1. Slow and Steady
Based on this volume, it is safe to say that the mangaka intends to take the story is a slow pace manner so that the romantic relationship between Maria and Rintarou to grow at a natural pace. It would be weird to suddenly get together when both characters don’t know each other well.
Golden Japanesque is an exciting manga series that reminded us of the classic story of Ugly Duckling, and it has romance and history behind it. The whole point of this series to experience what it is like to be an outlier and reminds ourselves that everyone is different, and there will always be one individual who cares about you. The artwork makes us appreciate the Japanese culture, but the story is not meant for readers who don’t like slow progress. There is a hint that there might be a drama in the upcoming volumes, and we can’t wait to see how Maria handles it. If you like to read a romance manga in the old days of Japan that is about half Japanese and half foreigner who is seen as an outlier, you might want to give this one a try.