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Baby & Me Vol. 2 (Story & Art by Marimo Ragawa) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

July 5, 2006 by  



babyme-2

Marimo Ragawa’s “Baby & Me” is unique for a manga series but also something you don’t see being released in the U.S.  But it’s a storyline that many people can relate too, full of humor and a series about two brothers and their ups and downs.    Highly recommended!

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© Akachan to Boku by Marimo Ragawa 1991. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Baby & Me Vol. 2 (赤ちゃんと僕)

STORY AND ART BY: Marimo Ragawa

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: July 5, 2006

Takuya’s life isn’t limited to taking care of Minoru. He’s got some problems of his own, like encounters with schoolyard bullies, a girl with a big crush on him, and the jealous classmate who has a crush on her. He weathers these challenges pretty well, but once they pose any kind of threat to Minoru… watch out!

Minoru also has a new admirer, and a bitter rivalry develops between her and his previous suitor, Hiro. How much will little Minoru put up with?

In the latest volume of “Baby & Me”, a jealous Kumade challenges Takuya in a fight?   Takuya gives Minoru a hair cut, the family visits the Meiji shrine on New Year’s day, Akihiro Fujii and Takuya get into a fight with a few sixth graders.

Meanwhile Akihiro’s younger sister Ichika starts to fall for Minoru and it becomes a love triangle as Gon’s little sister Hiroko (Hiro) also likes Minoru.  What happens when both girls fight for Minoru’s attention.

But also Takuya starts to see Minoru starting to grow up, put on his clothes and becoming more independent and it actually hurts Takuya to know that he will not be as dependent on by his little brother.

Also, included is a short story involving a tragedy that will surely make you shed a tear!  Plus, as an added bonus, Marimo Ragawa has included a chapter of her manga series “Time Limit”.

All this in vol. 2 of “Baby & Me”!

What is “Baby & Me”?

For Mangaka Marimo Ragawa, it took a year of persistence to become a manga artist.

At the age of 12, she had wanted to become a manga artist and began submitting manga to the same magazine until she became 16 and decided to try a different magazine, this time “Hana to Yume” and sure enough, her first submission earned her a top prize. Two years later, she would write the manga “Time Limit” and in 1991, her most successful manga series “Aka-chan to Boku” (Baby & Me),

Published in Japan by Hakusensha, the manga series would win the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1995 and receive an anime adaptation in 1996.

And now a decade later, Ragawa’s popular manga series will be released in the U.S. courtesy of Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in Feb. 2006.

“Baby & Me” is a manga series that revolves around two children, ten-year-old Takuya and his baby brother Minoru who’s life changed when his mother was killed in a car accident.

As his father tries to take care of the family as a single working father, his father depends on Takuya to help take care of Minoru. But as a child, Takuya doesn’t like the fact that unlike most kids his age, most of the time he’s having to take care of Minoru.

He gets irritated that Minoru follows him everywhere, Minoru is often crying and at times, Takuya just wants to hit his brother and he just wishes he can get away.

But his mother told him to take good care of Minoru and for the sake of his family, young Takuya knows he must do just that.

With the second volume of “Baby & Me”, I have decided that from here on in, I’m reading this series completely.

As the first volume focused on Takuya wanting to be their for his little brother and wanting to protect him, the first volume also was a character developing volume focusing on Takuya, Minoru and his father.  We were also introduced to Gon and his little sister Hiro, who starts to like little Minoru.

But with this latest volume, we are introduced to more characters, such as the cool Akihiro Fujii becomes another friend of Takuya, Akihiro’s little sister Ichika becomes the love rival of Hiro for Minoru’s affections but also we start to see a bit of maturation and the feelings of Takuya of knowing that his brother will depend less on him as they get older.

But this latest volume also features one of the saddest chapters in “Baby & Me” yet.  I don’t want to get into it but I’m sure a few readers will surely shed a tear or two.

And the added bonus of Marimo Ragawa’s “Time Limit” manga in volume 2 of “Baby & Me” was also pretty awesome!

But along with these stories, I love the added commentary by Marimo Ragawa.

Marimo Ragawa’s shojo artwork is rather well done, a lot of emphasis on the eyes and hair of the character design, not so much for backgrounds but a lot of Ragawa’s panels are closeups and nicely drawn.

Overall, Marimo Ragawa’s “Baby & Me” is unique for a manga series but also something you don’t see being released in the U.S.  But it’s a storyline that many people can relate too, full of humor and a series about two brothers and their ups and downs.    Highly recommended!

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