Spotlight: Kumota Haruko
Because I’ve been talking about her so much lately, I figured I’d do this while I slack at editing scans. Finally, a spotlight on the great Kumota Haruko! She has turned my ‘Fab Four’ favorite mangaka into a ‘Fab Five’, not gonna lie.
She makes this easy on me by having a website (that kindly links her pixiv and her blog) that actually keeps all of her release information in one small spot. Other mangaka, you could take a hint from this! It makes it much less frustrating to choose which monthlies I’ll be buying. (That’s right, Ootsuki Miu, I’m talking about you!) However, she has only released one full tankoubon, which I have only been able to find scanned in Chinese and have now purchased.
Kumota Haruko is yet another mangaka I discovered through Cab. I bought that magazine for Ogura Muku, and ended up falling for it because of Kumota Haruko. Her story in the first volume is Mimi-kun no Boy no Kisetsu, and volumes two through four have Nobara in them. Volume five has a story by her called Tori no Kuni no Lullaby (‘Lullaby of Birdland’) but I haven’t been able to get my hands on that one yet. However, I’m 100% sure I’ll love it just because I’ve yet to see a single thing by Kumota Haruko that I don’t absolutely adore.
Her characters are so so so cute. She sides more with sensitive-type personalities, and characters who’re kind and helpful and loving. Reading her manga makes the world seem like a terrifyingly perfect place where everyone is nice. And cute. And also a bit sexy when they need to be. It’s a good mix of masculine and feminine characteristics, though I’d probably consider most character’s behaviors to be more generally effeminate—she does have some pretty damn masculine characters, though. Also, no one ever really seems to be a stereotypical fill-in for an ‘uke’ or ‘seme’ role.
Her art style is quite retro, I think, but it still has a very modern stylized feel to it. While it’s a bit sketchy, it only adds to the personality in her drawings. I don’t think I’ve ever felt frustrated while looking at her work, or found myself looking at a panel and wondering what was going on. She’s also amazing with telling simple stories that make an impact. Generally she uses less than thirty pages to get a point across, and it never feels like too much or too little.
Sex scenes don’t happen so much. There are blowjobs in a few of her stories, but you never really see anything. When there actually is sex she usually doesn’t show it—there’s more of an appearance of two people embracing while naked. The only semi-explicit sex scene I’ve seen from her so far was in one chapter of Madobe no Kimi. And it was quite hot, so she can obviously pull it off when she wants to.
Anyway! I really recommend reading some stuff by her if you can find it (and I know you can, because if you’re reading this right now you’ve obviously found my blog and if you’ve found my blog then you’ve also found the scans I’ve posted to my blog). She’s a refreshing break from the dramatic heartache of a lot of yaoi manga. She keeps things semi-comedic without going over the top or getting too slapstick. Her characters are all lovable and interesting. I highly recommend her.