This post is part of the 30 Day Manga Challenge series. Day 4: A Manga That Isn’t Licensed But Should Be
UPDATE: As of October 2018, Kodansha has licensed Kyou no Kira-kun! It’s now available digitally on their website. I’m so happy!
If there’s one shojo manga that deserves to be licensed, it’s Kyou no Kira-kun (きょうのキラ君, sometimes called Closest Love to Heaven). Published in Bessatsu Friend from 2011 to 2014, this series is another one of Rin Mikimoto’s hit works, spanning nine volumes during its run. A live-action film adaptation starring Marie Iitoyo as Nino and Taishi Nakagawa as Kira was released on February 27, 2017.
At face value, Kyou no Kira-kun looks like every other shoujo manga on the market. Sure, it upholds a lot of the traditional staples: the unpopular girl, a charismatic boy, a funny animal sidekick, and endless high school drama. But this manga’s charm lies in how it handles all these cliches.
Nino Okamura is known as the class weirdo, shunned by her classmates because she keeps a stuffed cockatiel perched on her shoulder. But little do they know her bird is actually real! His name is Sensei, and he’s Nino’s talkative best friend, always ready to put a smile on her face. With Sensei by her side, Nino is content, despite her social isolation.
That all changes one day in September, when Nino learns a terrible secret about her neighbor, Kira Yuiji. According to his father, Kira suffers from a terminal illness that doctors say will take its toll by the end of the year.
With Sensei’s help, Nino slowly breaks out of her shell and befriends Kira, inspiring him to drop his cool-guy attitude and live life by his own terms, no matter how much time he has left.
Currently, Kodansha Comics has released two of Mikimoto’s titles, Love’s Reach and Kiss Me At The Stroke Of Midnight, to North American audiences. So really, it’s not much of a stretch to think Kira-kun might come next, right?
In any case, please continue to support Kodansha and Mikimoto-sensei so that we keep getting great shoujo manga in the future!