I must have picked up Betsu-Ma (Betsusatsu Margaret) after it took me a long time to grow out of reading Ribbon. It's a monthly magazine, so it was probably easier to subscribe to than bi-weekly Margaret.
I've stopped reading Betsu-Ma, but Ren-ai Catalog is one of the manga series I still continue to buy.
Actually, it's hard to stop once you've already collected 30 volumes.
The story starts off with a somewhat shy high school girl named Mika who goes to a gou-kon with her best friend. She is intrigued by a guy named Takada-kun & she doesn't want to regret not talking to him ever again so she asks him out. Takada-kun says yes, and they get together.
Or I that's how I remember how it started. I think there was something more touching & shoujo manga-like (he helped her out when someone teased her; said some comment that made her feel more relaxed... something like that), but I can't remember off hand.
I should go back and re-read the first volume, but I think I got the gist of it.
So Mika & Takada-kun go through the new couple thing of getting to know each other. Then the what-should-couples-do when-they-should-be-studying-for-college-exams thing. Then Takada-kun got into College K, but Mika is on the wait-list thing. Then it's-hard-to-spend-time-together-when-we're-in-different-majors thing.
Of course there's obstacles that pop up here & there, like Takada-kun's ex-girlfriend who is rumored to be super cute. Or Mika & Takada-kun volunteer for children's summer camp & another male volunteer starts to like Mika.
Ren-ai Catalog has the older generation shoujo manga feel, where there's a lot of doki-doki before they kiss (although it doesn't take them the entire series to kiss). But I think they don't have sex until the 20th volume or so.
Rather unusual for shoujo manga of these times. But I guess Tsukushi & Doumyoji never had sex too.
Ren-ai Catalog is for otaku girls who grew up falling in love with male characters from shoujo manga (like Makabe-kun from Tokimeki Tonight, Irie-kun from Itazura na Kiss, Shin-chan from Oh My Darling).
There are tear-jerking moments where you cry because Takada-kun says the sweetest things to Mika. And you giggle at the awkwardness of boys and girls.
Vol 31 is mostly about Mika's younger sister Tane, who is dating Takada-kun's younger brother Ryuji. Tane-chan is in her 2nd year in high school, so she's s'posed to be thinking about college exams. But she's a carefree character who doesn't like to study & she's considering not going to college.
Tane-chan takes her New Year's money and decides to go to Hokkaido for a trip. Dragging along Ryuji, of course. Tane-chan's main purpose was to eat good food, and they end up at a dairy farm where the family makes fresh ice cream.
Hmmm. Makes me want to go to Hokkaido.
I'm surprised Ren-ai Catalog lasted so long, but by shifting some of the storyline to Tane & Ryuji, I guess the younger readers of Betsu-Ma can relate to the two in high school. While the older readers (although I'm long out of college) can read about Mika & Takada-kun.
Author: Masami Nagata
Volumes: currently up to 31
Likelihood of Company B to license: 1
(on a scale of 1 to 10)
Too long = it would take 8 years releasing the books quarterly. And it's Shueisha, although Company V probably won't release it in the US.
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(partial translation... which may never be finished)
Tane: Happy New Year!
Aunt: Oh, Tane-chan. Happy New Year. You've grown so much.
Uncle: We haven't seen you in a while.
Aunt: What grade are you in now?
Tane: I'm a junior. I'll be a senior in spring.
Aunt: So you're going to be studying for exams this year? Have you picked a college yet?
Aunt: You're gonna have to study hard now. At least relax during New Years.
SFX: smile, smile, smile
Aunt: Oh! I need to give you otoshidama*.
*otoshidama = New Year's money
Tane: Thank you!
Mom: Oh sister, she's in high school so you don't need to. Tane! At least pour sake for your uncle!
Tane: I'm going to Ryuji's house.
Narr: New Year's here. And Tane is busy collecting otoshidama.
Tane: Yep, kimono.
Tane: Happy New Year!
Uncle: Oh, is that Ryuji's girlfriend?
Tane: Here you go.
Uncle: Thank you.
Ryu Mom: Oh.
Tane: No worries.
Tane: Wow. 80,000yen*.
*80,000 = $750
Ryuji: You're a scary woman.
Tane: There are no such thing as non-scary woman in this world!
Tane: What should I use it for? Darn. There isn't anything I want right now.
Ryuji: Save it, then.
Tane: No, I'm gonna use it. If the world comes to an end tomorrow, it would all be a waste!
Ryu Mom: Tane-chan, there's a saying "One who is prepared doesn't need to worry."
Tane: Oh, I know. I always keep stock of snacks at home.
Ryu Mom: Right? So you should always save up so you won't be in trouble.
Tane: But you can't eat money when you're in trouble.
Ryu Mom: But you can buy things with money.
Tane: But there's the possibility that there will be nothing to buy with money.
Ryu Mom: This yokan* from Kagetsu is really good.
* yokan = gelatin snack usually made out of sweet red bean paste
Tane: Thank you!
Ryuji: Hey, don't leave a bad impression with my parents.
Tane: I didn't do anything.
Ryuji: Like now.
Tane: She wasn't angry.
Ryuji: She may not be angry, but she probably gave up on you.
Ryuji: Your way of thinking is too momentary. There's no plans for the future.
Ryuji: If I get married to her, all of my salary will be used up and I won't be able to buy a home.
Ryuji: So my future is at stake too.
Ryuji: Have you decided where you're going for college?
Tane: My aunt asked me earlier today too. I don't want to study for exams anymore.
Ryuji: Then find a job.
Tane: I don't want to work either. I don't have anything I want to do. I don't want to join society not knowing what I want to do.
Tane: But I don't want to waste 4 years of tuition either.
Ryuji: Then what do you want to do?
Tane: I don't want to do anything.
Ryuji: I thought she was stupid... but maybe she really is stupid.
Tane: Let's play hago-ita*!
*hago-ita = badminton-like game played on a stiff board & hard pellet-like ball with feathers
Ryuji: Can she be happy in life like this?
News: ...is how it's thought. Now for today's topic, the increase of NEET* among youths today.
*NEET = Japanese term abbreviating No Education, Employment or Training. Basically referring to young adults who are neither in school, or working, or in a training program.
News: Kimura-san, are you aware of NEET?
Kimura: Young adults who aren't working and don't do anything in their lives, right?
News: They don't do anything, don't want to do anything. There are young adults who don't even want to work part-time jobs.
Ryu Mom: Tane-chan... is a unique girl. She's such a modern-day teen.
News: Modern-day teens are too spoiled.
Ryu Mom: Do you need seconds?
Ryu Dad: Yes.
News: What do you think, Kimura-san?
Ryuji: Mom remembered Tane after listening to a news story about NEET --> She doesn't like modern-day teens like Tane? --> Tane turns into a NEET --> Even worse impression?
Ryu Mom: I won't approve of you dating her anymore!
Ryuji: That's a big problem!
Mika: Tane-chan, Ryuji's on the phone.
Ryuji: What's your test average?
Tane: ... What is this?
Ryuji: At least go to college! I got college information for places you can go with your test average.
Ryuji: You can't find what you want to do by not doing anything. Find something while doing something.
Tane: Anyway... I made a list of how to use the New Year's money.
Tane: I stayed up all night thinking about it!
Ryuji: Don't waste time staying up all night! You're one big waste!
Ryuji: Anyway. I need you to go to college. Or at least find a job you want to do before you graduate. Got it?
Ryuji: Did you find anything interesting?
Tane: I have lots of interests. But if I make it into work, it might not be fun anymore. I'd get bored.
Ryuji: There's no such thing as work that's all fun. Everyone has to make some sacrifies.
Tane: You're a boring guy.
Ryuji: What'd you say?
Tane: You're a boring guy.
Tane: I want to see porn sites.
Tane: Oh, Tarako-san said she made her website. What's the title again?
Ryuji: Stop going off the subject!
Tane: You're too naggy.
Ryuji: A tour guide's blog. A diary on regional food?
Ryuji: She must think if you're a tour guide you can travel and eat at different places. That's so like her.
Ryuji: She's lazy, but likes to do different things.
Ryuji: All right.
Ryuji: Don't worry, Tane. If you found something you want to do, I'll help you.
Ryuji: I'll make sure you can become a tour guide!