Housekeeping! One frequently told shoujo plot formula is the poor girl working as a housekeeper for a rich guy and such stories emphasize social backgrounds. In this post, I’m going to introduce three “good housekeeping” tales about love and how to keep a friendly home. These shoujo manga include ReRe Hello, Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet, and Boku no Ie ni Oide.
Rere Hello (ReReハロ)
By: Touko Minami
Ririko becomes the “mother” in her family’s household after her mom passed away. She’s a hardworking girl; in which she always takes care of others before herself. When her dad is ill, Ririko takes over her father’s handyman business. Her first client is a rich high school boy named Suou Minato. Ririko must deal with his haughtiness or else, she is at risked of losing him as a client in her dad’s business.
Rere Hello definitely has the shoujo story elements on point. There were many cliffhanging, adorable scenes that can easily captivate readers. In fact, I already started rooting for Ririko and Suou to become a couple.
Ririko is one of my favorite hardworking, Cinderella shoujo type characters. She seems to always want to be a helping hand to others, but also knows when to say “no” and stand her ground. Ririko and Suou balance each other out, and they both help each other become better people.
Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet (椿町ロンリープラネット)
By: Mika Yamamori
I read and reviewed one of Mika Yamamori’s popular shoujo titles, Hirunaka no Ryuusei before. So I’m familiar with Yamamori’s art style and storytelling.
Oono Fumi is a poor high school student due to her father’s accumulating debt. She gets kicked out of her home and is now forced to work as a housekeeper for a young novelist, Akatsuki Kibino.
I wasn’t much of a fan of Hirunaka no Ryuusei. So reading Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet, I was expecting a slow pace storyline with some indecisive characters, but I actually got the opposite. All of the characters were likable and funny. Sure, it has the same concept of Hirunaka no Ryuusei—a young high school girl in love with an older man, but rather than having endless chapters of heartbreak and indecisive feelings, we got two main leads that aren’t even aware of their feelings. Thus, we get a blossoming story about first love.
In this manga, loneliness places an important role in how Oono Fumi approaches life. Since her mother passed away and her father being unreliable, she always had to take care of herself and not rely on others. As a result, she is unable to accept the helpfulness of those around her. Yet Akatsuki Kibino reminds her that she should rely on him if she is in danger. In fact, he saved her from a pervert and gave her money to pay for her father’s expenses. By doing so, Fumi begins to open up more and build stronger relationships with people. However, these acts of kindness make Fumi question whether it is out of family intentions or love.
Boku no Ie ni Oide (Come to My Home, 僕の家においで)
By: Nachi Yuki
Mirei Kiyama is a hardworking newspaper delivery girl, but her paycheck is barely enough for her to survive. In fact, she doesn’t have money to afford new clothes, and must sew her old clothes together which is easily noticeable by her peers. One day, while delivering newspapers, she accidentally gets into a motorcycle accident with this “handsome” guy, Fumiya Mano. Fumiya suffers a minor injury that leaves him on crutches; thus, Mirei moves into his apartment as a housekeeper until he gets better.
I found Mirei’s characterization to be annoying. I understand that she is a pitiful girl, but I feel like the author exaggerates this factor far too much in hopes that the reader sympathizes with her more. Mirei lacks self-confidence and labels herself as trash; in which she makes constant social class comparisons to Fumiya. The fact that she doesn’t value herself is a bit sad, and it seems that Fumiya has to reassure her self-worth. In one aspect, you can view this as a woman needing a man to feel validated, but I think otherwise. I think Fumiya’s purpose is to remind Mirei that she is special and that she should feel beautiful, but in order to do that, she needs to change her mindset and I think Fumiya is giving her that push.
As for Fumiya, we see the concept of “loneliness” again. In this case, Fumiya doesn’t seem to have loving parents around since he lives in a huge house all by himself. When Mirei planned to go grocery shopping at a local supermarket, Fumiya rushes out to join her despite having an injured foot. However, it seems that Mirei keeps him company and serves to fill his void of loneliness.
I actually enjoyed reading all three shoujo manga. They are all cute and quirky in their own way despite all having a common theme and storyline involving housekeeping girls.