Kodocha: Sana's Stage

Alt title: Kodomo no Omocha

Vol: 10; Ch: 54
1994 - 1998
4.155 out of 5 from 1,092 votes
Rank #1,274
Kodocha: Sana's Stage

11 year-old Sana Kurata is a positive, upbeat child actress with a rather odd life. She was adopted as a baby by an eccentric novelist who wears a live squirrel in her hair, her acting career is managed by a (former) homeless man who Sana unabashedly claims is her "pimp", and at school her teacher has completely lost control of her classroom due to a group of blackmailing bullies led by "demon child" Akito Hayama. With her whole class in danger of failing, Sana decides she's had enough of Akito's nonsense at school and challenges him. The whole school is ready for a showdown as these strong personalities collide, but as the two very different kids learn more about each other, something unexpected happens. Is it possible for sworn enemies to become fast friends?

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Story: The plot revolves around Sana, a young TV star, and her situation dealing with the class bully, Akito. Despite the fact that the main characters are in middle school, the manga addresses mature topics in addition to the typical middle school problems. Suicide, mental and psychological illness, child abandonment, love, fear of separation, and various other issues are addressed quite nicely and realistically throughout the manga. Except for the unrealistically convenient and simple fixing of Akito’s relationship with his father and sister, all the problems that came after were dealt with quite well. This story spastically goes from serious to funny and flutters between the two.  However, this worked out well since it was in-sync with Sana’s over-the-top personality. Art: Fairly mediocre. The character designs were nice and emotions were expressed well. However, the panels were simply too cluttered, distracting from the overall story. The atmosphere was more chaotic than necessary and would have been more effective had it been slightly toned down. For the most part, the art was decent but generic. Characters: They added emotional depth to the story, breathing life into the manga. Despite the fact the characters tried to be mature in dealing with their issues, deep down their raw naivety and inability to cope with such situations seeped through. All of them were fleshed out and realistically dealt with their problems as best as they could. By and far, the relationship between Sana and Akito was the most endearing. As opposed to most shoujo where the readers only get to see how the character show their love for each other, this manga addresses why the two care for each other. They faced continual obstacles in their relationship, which was far from ideal, and had to cope with the situation in poignantly and beautifully addressed manner. Overall: A lovely manga addressing the hardships faced by young students in during their middle school and high school that goes beyond the stereotypical teenage angst of love that makes up for many shoujo. Various life problems in addition to love are addressed nicely with a good touch of humor to keep the story afloat. All in all, a wonderful story that realistically conveys problems faced by both adults and children and how they overcome them.


Story: I first thought that Kodocha was going to be some cutesty kid romance story. However, I was seriously mistaken. There is romance and they are children but it’s far from childish. There are some pretty heavy themes. However, this darkness is always balanced with humor that had me laughing out loud. I liked the romance, comedy and drama. It wasn’t over the top and it had some unexpected plot twists. It wasn’t predictable which is refreshing. I enjoyed the pacing and, although it left me guessing at times, I was never confused. It becomes very addicting until the very last chapter. I enjoyed the ending. It was open ended but still complete. It answered the questions that needed to be answered. Overall, I loved the story. However, there is something mature content (subject wise) for what seems like a kid’s manga. It’s not too bad but there’s a reason that it’s rated T. Art: The humor was done excellently. The little details really added to the scene and I loved that. However, you can definitely tell that it’s an older series. The emotional scenes are not done very well which is disappointing but doesn’t take away too much from the series. The character designs are cute. Characters: I really love the characters. They have so much life and personalities. There are so far from your humdrum characters that are shallow and lackluster. The characters have deep relationships with each other and you don’t doubt why they love each other. I find it hard in shoujo sometimes to find why they like each other so much. However, in Kodocha, you don’t have to wonder. They have the development they need to have a solid basis for a relationship. It’s straightforward and clear why Akito and Sana have feelings for each other. Also, instead of having only one solid relationship, Kodocha juggles several that are done just as well. Overall: I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys drama, romance or comedy which supplies a lot in all three categories. It’s not too long but not too short of series either and has an amazing cast. It also has definite re-read possibilities.

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