Savage Garden by Lee Hyeon Sook
This one is a manhwa, nevertheless, one of the best gender-bender romance I have read. This is a story about a woman who took the place of her childhood friend, Jeremy, who unexpectedly died by eating poisoned berries, she enrolled into a prestige all-boys’ school and pretended to be a guy.
There she met her love interest, Raymond Kensington and other characters who became her friends and some, enemies. It also tackled homosexual relationships inside the school and how it is seen that time.
The love story is given less spotlight in this manga. It is more of psychological and emotional struggles of the characters, and how they dealt with it. This is a dark and dramatic manhwa.
Also, the art is amazing. And given its historical genre, the environment and clothes are also beautifully done. The characters look really great.
It has seven volumes, and completed. Personally, I liked the ending because it was so unusual but I still want more afterwards.
Kiss by Matsumoto Tomo
A love story between a student and her piano teacher. Kae was Goshima’s student since elementary and when Kae was 17 years old, she finally confessed her feelings to Goshima, 25 years old. Then they started going out.
This is a feel-good manga. With 8 volumes and very interesting characters. The story is more about how Kae dealt with their differences. There are some perspective of Goshima and it is very romantic.
The art is beautifully done. Actually, too beautiful. The people are like models.
There are problems they have to conquer-sometimes within themselves and sometimes other parties. It is really cute how Goshima is very caring to Kae eventhough he hides it with his aloofness. And Kae was childish and naive but is very brave and loving. They are perfect together.
Emma by Kaoru Mori
Emma and Emma Bangaihen is one of my favorite mangas. I am a big fan of Kaoru Mori and love to use his characters as subject of my sketches. I don’t know how she does it but she captures beautiful images of history and bring it to paper.
Emma is a story of Emma, a maid and a gentry named William who fell in love with each other. There are a lot of problems that arose of course. The drawing improves throughout the series. If you compare the final chapters from the beginning, the difference of art is very noticeable. It became more elaborate and alive. The plot is credible considering it was a romance manga, and very dramatic. Kaoru Mori didn’t just focus on Emma’s story but put other characters and showed their stories. This can be witnessed with Emma Bangaihen, the sequel.
This has an anime adaptation: Emma A Victorian Romance First Act and Second Act. The plot is a bit different from the manga. Personally, I liked the story of the anime because it portrayed Emma as a very brave and independent person. And William broke away from the clutches of society through his own efforts.
I love this manga because it has everything I ever wanted from a manga: beautiful characters, history, amazing art, credible story, romance, and much more.