ririko tsujita

Manga Library- The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko

What’s it about?

Kanoko is a junior high school student, and a self-proclaimed ‘objective observer,’ watching the romantic and school related drama of her classmates from a far off vantage point.  She records everything she sees in her notebook, and has no desire to maintain relationships of her own.

In fact, she laughs at the idea of having friends.  Who needs them?  Her classmates are much more intersting as something she can watch like a TV show.  Trying to get involved in their lives will only end in trouble, so she’s better off alone.

Of course, there would be no story here if she didn’t inevitably get drawn in anyway.  Using her unique wits and observation skills, Kanoko winds up solving more problems, and gaining more respect, than she ever could’ve imagined.  

What’s there to like about it?:

I’m going to talk more about the first chapter here than the series as a whole, because every chapter sees Kanoko transferring to a new school to keep up her objectivity (yes, literally every chapter).  

You ever watch one of those teen high school movies with that gang of popular kids who are just such vile and terrible people that you can’t imagine why they’re popular?

That’s not the case here.

There are three popular students and Kanoko’s first school, and you can tell right away why they’re so well liked.  It’s because they’re absolute sweethearts.  One might be a little ditzy and another kind of aloof, but at the end of the day, they are good people who come to like Kanoko and consider her one of their own, even though she’s not nearly as warm to them as they are to her.  

Of particular note is Tsubaki, the most popular boy in the class (he’s the aloof one I mentioned above).  He continues to appear even after Kanoko leaves the school, showing up in almost every chapter after.  That’s him up there on the cover with Kanoko.  It should be obvious how their relationship is meant to go.

Aside from that, Kanoko is just such an unconventional lead character for a shojo manga.  She’s not after love or friendship or anything shojo leads are known for.  She just wants to sit back and laugh while everyone else deals with that silly mushy stuff.  It’s all entertainment in her view.

Favorite Moment?:

It should go without saying there’s a reason why Kanoko is so jaded about friendship.  She saw the ugly side of it all as a young girl, the two faced, back stabbing side is what I mean.

So my favorite moment is the end of the first chapter, in which Kanoko is invited to spend the day out with her new friends, but first excuses herself to the bathroom, so that she can be alone while she cries tears of joy over finally being accepted.

This doesn’t stop her from leaving the school right after so she can go back to being detached from everything, but it was still a sweet moment.

Overall Rating: 7/10 (this one also suffers from being too short, but it’s even worse in this case.  The manga was licensed by Tokyopop, which then went bankrupt with only two of the three volumes released, and so far, no other company has picked it up, so I have no idea how it ends and I can’t find it online anywhere.  I’m sure you can imagine my pain.)