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Ueda Tomoko (a.k.a. Rinko) was born in the groovy era of the seventies in Nara. Better known in the nineties decade for her shoujo manga, Ueda Rinko has remained active to the present day. She has been out of the radars of most otakus; we don’t even know how she really looks. Anyway, let’s rediscover Ueda Rink in this article! Let’s review some of the best works by Ueda Rinko!
6. Kiss wa Me ni Shite
- Genres: Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 10
- Published: 1990 to 1993
If you like the simple and fun shoujo from the nineties, you can check Kiss wa Me ni Shite. Our protagonist is Ibuki Morisato, who one day, dreams about kissing a handsome boy. She wakes up and runs late for school, but once inside, she finds out that the guy is real! However, the real schock comes when it turns out that this guy will live in Ibuki’s house! Even worse, Ibuki is thrown out of her room because of him. Do you want to know the worst part? That kiss was not a dream! Not your best start for a romance, right?
If you are fan of works like Ranma ½ or Maison Ikokku by Rumiko Takahashi, then this is your day of luck because you will find those vibes in Kiss wa Me ni Shite. Even the illustration style will remind you a bit of Takahashi! The story is definitely for people looking for a first love tale. Ibuki Morisato is a bit clueless but truly a funny girl. This manga was so successful that it was made into an OVA, so you shouldn’t miss it out.
- Genres: Adventure, Historical, Shoujo
- Volumes: 13
- Published: 1995 to 1999
This manga starts with a well known story from old Japan. Imagine the era of the great samurai clans. Minamoto no Yoshitsune, also known as Ushiwakamura, was part of the Minamoto clan. He defeated the warrior monk Benkei, who was famous for having collected the swords of his 999 defeated enemies. However, once defeated, Benkei became the servant of Ushiwakamura. Ryou asks the following question: what if the famous samurai Ushiwakamura was a woman? And what would happen if both Benkei and Ushiwakamura were reborn in the present era?
The good news is that both these characters would be upbeat youngsters. The second good news is that they are still skilled with their swords. And the third good news is that there will be some romance floating in the air. If you like your historical inspired shoujo with a dab of comedy and the retro feeling of the nineties, here we have a good recommendations for you. Because what is better than a manga that combines old stories with a more familiar daily life?
4. Hadashi de Bara wo Fume (Stepping on Roses)
- Genres: Drama, Historical, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 9
- Published: Nov 5, 2007 to Mar 19, 2012
If you suddenly became poor and your family disappeared, what would you do to bring them back? In the case of Sumi Kitamura, she is offered marriage after her irresponsible gambling brother leaves the family in debt. The twist is that the guy who offered his help, Soichiro Ashida, puts the condition that Sumi should not fall in love with him. Will such a difficult arrangement work in the long term?
Hadashi de Bara wo Fume reminds us a bit of Candy. The protagonist is a sweet and innocent girl who does what she can to survive in the world, while the guy she falls in love with is unfortunately out of her reach. Meanwhile, her jerk of a husband ends up falling in love with her, creating a complicated triangle. There is also drama and fights between the love birds. We should also mention this happens in the Meiji Era, so it has a historical vibe on it but not too distant from our days. If you ever want to revive the Candy vibes, you already know what to do. Don’t miss Stepping on Roses!
3. Tsuki no Toiki Ai no Kizu (Tail of the Moon: The Other Hanzo)
- Genres: Historical, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 1
- Published: 2002
This manga is divided in two parts: Ai no Kizu and Natsu no Yume. In the first part, we meet our protagonist Sara, who is found in a bamboo forest with injuries and no memory of her past. She is taken to a local brothel and put in charge of cleaning and the like. However, there is a frequent client of the brothel named Hanzou. He is a handsome soldier from the castle nearby who fancies Sara. As for Natsu no Yume, this part tells us how Sara tries to steal the formula of gunpowder from Hanzou’s family.
So you said you wanted adventure in your shoujo manga? Check. Samurais and ninjas? Check. A dependable protagonist? Check. A handsome companion? Hell yeah! Everything comes with the sweet flavour of traditional Japan. This story also don’t make it easy for the lovebirds to be together, so it will keep you interested for a long time. Also… did we mention it is short? It is the perfect size if you just want to meet Ueda Rinko and evaluate how good she is. What else can you want from a manga?
2. Shin Gakuen Tengoku (New School Heaven)
- Genres: Romance, School, Shoujo
- Volumes: 7
- Published: 1993 to 1995
Our protagonist this time is a high schooler called Kingyo Sengoku. She and her father run a takoyaki stand together, as Kingyo’s mother is not around anymore. One day, she comes across a guy called Teshigawara Itaru. He was sleeping near the trash, so Kingyo brings her home. Her father kinda adopts him and that is the beginning of the story of love for these two teenagers...
This type of story has the vibes of the romantic comedies of the eighties and nineties (Rumiko Takahashi again, anyone?). Even the drawing tends to be hilarious! If your thing is simple stories that make you smile, Shin Gakuen Tengoku might be the right manga for you. It is a bit difficult to find, but totally worth a read. Just be careful, you might fall in love with Ueda Rinko’s style!
1. Tsuki no Shippo (Tail of the Moon)
- Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 15
- Published: Mar 25, 2003 to Aug 24, 2007
Welcome back to the traditional Japan! This time, we are in the Tenshou Era (roughly 1573 to 1592). Our protagonist is Usagi Momochi, a ninja in training in southern Iga. As she is a terrible ninja despite having years of practice, Usagi’s grandfather gives her the mission of becoming a ninja-bearing mother. To achieve this, Usagi will have to marry the leader of a ninja family in Segachi. With the company of her foster child named Mamezo, Usagi will try to convince the reluctant ninja. Will she succeed? We are not telling :p
This is another historical manga with lots of adventures. However, the central topic is love and how it grows. Of course, the situations Usagi faces become embarrassing and funny, as she has several rivals! Also, Usagi is so innocent that she takes a long time to win the confidence of her potential boyfriend. Throw in a bunch of samurai and ninjas, and you get a fabulous cocktail of emotions. That is why Tsuki no Shippo is Ueda’s top rated manga!
Sometimes, we can’t help but think that old manga were better. Rather than that, perhaps we should think that they tended to fulfill different needs. Manga is supposed to sell; don’t forget that. Even knowing that, it is always nice to turn back and see superb manga with high quality. Those days the comedy mixed with romance were just the right thing! It also was a time when traditional Japan was a more frequent focus. It is refreshing in the middle of our futuristic centered manga, right? We may have to remember as well that Ueda Rinko is still alive out there, creating historical fantasies and shoujo. It is just a matter of looking very well and we will find her again, and with her, the vibes of old Japan.
So, which is your favorite manga by Ueda Rinko? Which one would you like to see adapted to anime? Don’t forget that we are open to all your comments and suggestions. See you soon!