Of course by the time I got out of college (many years ago) I heard about Happy Mania. But I wasn't interested in reading it until a certain director T of a certain Adult Swim anime F told me that main female lead H's design was modeled after Moyoco Anno's manga style.
Well, just the eyes.
Corrected character designer S.
I never finished reading Happy Mania. I have up to vol 3, and I'm struggling with the idea of buying the rest at an used book store or not. It's cheaper to buy the manga at a used book store, but the manga author doesn't get any royalties off of those sales. Once the manga author is somewhat familiar to you, it's hard to buy used manga.
I don't know anyone who knows the manga author or Oishinbo, so I have no problems buying that used.
But I digress.
I was rummaging through retail store A's warehouse manga shelves, looking for new manga to buy. And that's when I noticed Jelly Beans.
I was interested enough to buy the first volume, and decided I'll buy the rest if I like the first.
The story is about a young girl (14) named Mame who dreams of becoming a model. She heads out to Tokyo because she was selected as a "reader model" - where magazines select cute girls who read their magazine to try on clothes. Basically an amatuer model.
Mame gets lost, ends up at the publisher's offices, meets teen model Miri-chan & Hikaru-kun. Mame is having the best day of her life... although nothing amazing happens, b/c they just send her back home on a train.
I was never into fashion as a little girl, but it's fun reading about girls who are into fashion. I don't know why it's more fun reading about fashionable teen girls at age 30+, compared to reading Gokinjo Monogatari (ご近所物語) as a teenager.
Anyway, Mame ends up giving up her dreams of being a model (she's short), but dreams of being a fashion designer. And Mame's daydream sequences are weird. Surreal & colorful... even if it's a black & white manga.
Each chapter of Jelly Beans is 8 pages long.
Which is rather short for a shoujo manga, since most of them run 30 pages (for a monthly).
It's probably because the manga series ran in a fashion magazine called Cutie. Kinda like how Paradise Kiss ran in Zipper.
Now wouldn't it be cool if Nana ran in Seventeen (I was a Seventeen reader) or YM or other teen fashion magazines I don't know the names of? If anyone could pull it off, it would be Company V. Kitai shiteru ze (I'm counting on you), Company V!
Back to Jelly Beans.
I like the tempo of this manga, although it takes a little getting used to. It's very fast paced (well, each chapter is only 8 pages), and thoughts & actions & friendships change frequently. A lot like the conversation train of thought of teen girls, I s'pose.
It also reminded me of Kisekae Yuka-chan (きせかえユカちゃん), another manga about a fashion-obsessed tween girl. Kisekae Yuka-chan is more of a gag manga, but the tempo is a lot like Jelly Beans. Kisekae Yuka-chan is one of the manga series I look forward to in Cookie.
Author: Moyoco Anno
Volumes: 1 - 4
Likelihood of Company B to license: 2
I'm guessing Company T already has this picked up. And if not, I'd like to recommend Company DR to pick it up. Sugar Sugar Rune is cute, but I liked reading this more.
Click on "read more" for chapter by chapter synopsis of Jelly Bean vol 1.
Mame goes to Tokyo to participate as Kids Collection magazine's reader model. She gets lost, but miraculously finds the publisher's office. Only to find out that Kids Collection shoot is at a different location. But at the publisher, Mame bumps into teen model (and her idol) Miri-chan!
Mame asks Miri-chan if she can be her apprentice. But Miri-chan tells her you can't become a model by being another model's apprentice. You have to join a modeling agency. Mame is happy she met Miri-chan & decides to go on a diet as soon as she gets home. But she drops her wallet in the middle of the street & tries to pick up her coins, when she bumps into teen male model Hikaru-kun!
Mame asks to take a picture of Hikaru-kun, but he takes her camera & takes her picture instead. Then Miri-chan appears, tells Hikaru to stop teasing Mame & they start walking away. Mame cries about how she couldn't participate in the photo shoot, couldn't go to Harajuku, etc... so Hikaru-kun & Miri-chan tell her to follow them.
Hikaru & Miri take Mame to the Tokyo Station. Mame is sad that she couldn't hang out with them longer, but gets on the bullet train home. When Mame gets home, she tells her older sister how she met Hikaru-kun & Miri-chan, but her older sister doesn't believe her. Mame is too excited about what happened, that she has a hard time going to sleep.
Mame can't believe what happened in Tokyo. She shows her classmates a drawing of what she wore to the Kids Collection photo shoot (that she didn't make), and her cute friend Midori-chan tells Mame that her outfit is a fashionable country bumpkin. Mame thinks Midori-chan is just jealous, but then finds out Midori-chan is auditioning in Tokyo. Then a male classmate named Mikoshiba asks Mame to go to the school yard. He asks her if she would like to go to the summer festival with him!
Mame told Mikoshiba that she would go to the summer festival with him. She's writing a letter to Miri-chan & Hikaru-kun at home, when she decides she needs a yukata & asks her mom to buy her some fabric so she can make one herself. Mame buys a grey fabric and draws in patterns using a fabric marker. She then has the old lady next door teach her how to make a yukata. She finally gets the yukata made, when her older sister asks her if she was getting dressed up just for the summer festival.
Mame goes to the summer festival with Mikoshiba. She's happy that he looks a little happy being on a date, but she is suddenly disappointed in how he's dressed. He's wearing jeans with a hoodie-shirt tucked in. He holds her hand when they get to a crowded area of the festival, and Mame gets grossed out & goes home. Next day at school, her classmates are talking about a magazine that Midori-chan is featured in.
Mame wishes she can be on the other side of the world where Midori-chan is. She dreams a surreal dream where the residents of the other side of the world stretch their arms and legs to be the correct shape.
Mame decides her legs are too short. She realizes that her camouflage skirt stops at the fat part of her leg & makes her legs look shorter. So she cuts the hem off to make the skirt shorter, but the hem is jaggedy. Mame's older sister tells her she looks like a person from the jungle, and Mame starts daydreaming about being in the jungle with colorful fruits & plants. She takes the image of the jungle's fruits to re-create her camouflage skirt and yellow t-shirt into a cute outfit.
Mame spends her summer making clothes. She makes a new dress out of an old dress she wore as a kid, but her older sister tells her that she needs to learn to sew a zoukin (ぞうきん = rag) first. Mame decides to wear the dress to the library anyway. But slowly she feels like people are looking at her funny because of the dress. On the way to the library, she bumps into Mikoshiba who tells her she has talent. When Mame gets home, her mom & sister found an old sewing machine that belonged to Mame's grandmother.
Second semester started, but Mame was looking forward to showing off her new creations. She made a pair of cute socks, shoes and purse. At school, she sees Midori-chan who looks cuter than usual. Midori-chan said it could be because of the haircut she got when she was doing a photo shoot for Cutie magazine. Mame is jealous, but she then realizes she admires models, but she really wants to design clothes.
Mame designs clothes at home, but she can't come up with anything good. She even told her classmates that she was going to enter the hand-made clothes fashion contest in Cutie magazine. Then she gets a phone call from Midori-chan. Midori-chan has another photo shoot in Tokyo, but she doesn't have any new clothes to wear. So she asks Mame to fix up a jacket she bought. Mame is upset that Midori-chan called her a fashionable country bumpkin, but her mind is already filled with ideas!
Mame tries to come up with ideas on how to fix the jacket. She daydreams about an ice cold country with an ice cold warrior princess named Midori-chan. Mame takes that idea to modify the jacket using tape and beads. She spends days and nights fixing up the jacket to make a form-fitting jacket for Midori-chan.
Mame spent all her time making Midori-chan's jacket that she didn't spend any time studying for midterms. She tells her mom & sister she wants to quit school to become a fashion designer, but her sister tells her that she can't go to fashion school without going to high school. Next day, Mame gets her test scores back & learns that Mikoshiba got the highest grade in class. That night, Mame gets a call from Cutie magazine.
Cutie magazine wanted to do a quarter-page feature on Mame's clothes. The editor learned about Mame's clothes from Midori-chan, who wore the fixed up jacket to the photo shoot. Mame feels bad for thinking bad things about Midori-chan, when she realizes she doesn't have any ideas for clothes yet & the deadline is next Thursday!
Dream world of Mame.
Mame wakes up late for school & is worried about not being able to get out of school early enough to meet with the editors of Cutie. She sleeps during class & gets in trouble with the teacher. She heads out to the hallway to stand there, but leaves the school to meet with the editors. They tell her they're going to begin taking pictures, and that's when she realizes she needs to model her own clothes!
Mame asks the editors if she can have Midori-chan wear the outfit instead. But they tell her all the other people wore their outfits, so it wouldn't be fair. Mame is disappointed in how the outfit looked on her. She tells Midori-chan that she made the outfit with her in mind. But Midori-chan tells her that it's a model's job to make clothes look cute. If the clothes don't look cute, then it's the designer's fault.
Midori-chan's family moved to Tokyo to let her pursue her modeling career. Mame wishes she could go to Tokyo, when her sister asks if she wants to go with her. She had planned to go to Tokyo Disneyland with her boyfriend, but their mom wouldn't let her go unless Mame was going along. The only thing Mame needed to do was find a place to stay. But Midori-chan's family went on a vacation. Mame heads to Tokyo with no plans on where to stay.
Mame's sister drops her off by Tokyo Disneyland & tells her they'll meet up with her in 2 days. Mame heads to Harajuku, but gets lost on the trains. But she sees Miri-chan on another platform & runs over to the other train. But Miri-chan doesn't remember her.
Mame re-introduces herself to Miri-chan. Mame begs Miri-chan to let her stay with her for the next 2 days, and Miri finally gives in. Miri takes Mame to her house, which is an old house. Inside, there are four people who are pretending to take a bath in the middle of the room filled with bubbles. Mame worries she's dreaming again.
Miri-chan's roommates take Mame to Asakusa for sightseeing. Mame wanted to go somewhere trendier, but after seeing the good looking models in an ancient setting, she starts seeing visions of modern kimono outfits.
Mame doesn't want to go home, but she needs to head back to her meeting place with her sister. Miri-chan and her roommates give Mame parting gifts and send her off. They just gave her gifts so they didn't have to escort her to the station that was far away from where they lived. But Mame decides she'll come back to Tokyo to become a famous designer.