Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable! Is a Necessary, Romantic Tour of Hokkaido

The world of manga is broader and more diverse than ever, with ever-increasing representation among all demographics and cultures, and that includes settings, too. Many manga and anime series take place in or near Tokyo for obvious reasons, but some series choose more off-beat settings, and that includes author Kai Ikada's Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable!.

This relatively obscure rom-com manga series takes place in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost prefecture, far away from Tokyo's bustling metropolis. This provides a breath of chilly but fresh air in the manga scene. This along with the series' charming characters, easygoing tone, and palpable drama and comedy help warm up this frozen prefecture and put it on the map at last.

The Plot & Characters Of Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable!

Plot-wise, Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable! doesn't break the shonen manga mold, though its art style, premise, and gentle romantic overtones make it one of several ongoing shonen series that blur the line with shojo. This means it may appeal to shojo fans looking for a fun and casual read. The story begins with Tsubasa Shiki, an ordinary 16-year-old boy who moved from Tokyo to the remote prefecture of Hokkaido for school. He soon runs into his first-ever female friend, the lively Minami Fuyuki.

Tsubasa never had much luck with girls before, but Minami, a cheerful and easygoing gyaru, befriends him easily and acts as a tour guide for her beloved Hokkaido home. She has always lived here and is used to the prefecture's chilly weather and unique customs. In fact, she can wear a skirt with bare legs in a freezing afternoon and feel just fine, as opposed to Tsubasa, who always bundles up.

What follows next is a fairly conventional high school rom-com storyline, but with some local Hokkaido flair, in addition to shining the spotlight on real-life gyaru culture. Japanese girls like Minami who dress up in loud colors and accessories often stand out, and a shy boy like Tsubasa might be intimidated. To his relief, gyarus like Minami Fuyuki are perfectly ordinary and likable people under their well-manicured exteriors, and Tsubasa and Minami quickly become close friends.

Along the way, Tsubasa meets a few more notable girls, including the reclusive gamer girl Sayuri Akino, and Rena Natsukawa, a timid beauty who loves history. Tsubasa enjoys his time in Hokkaido, and gets acclimated to the chilly weather and somewhat exotic everyday culture there. This includes unique culture hotspots, natural features, and other landmarks. Sure enough, a small harem builds up around Tsubasa, with Minami, Rena, and Sayuri trying to balance their mutual friendships with their growing feelings for the new boy in the neighborhood.

Where To Read Hokkaido Gals! & Similar Titles To Read

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Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable! has only a limited release in the Western world so far, and it does not yet have a physical print run in English or other non-Japanese languages so far. Fortunately, Western fans can read every chapter of Hokkaido Gals! for free on the Manga PLUS app, available on iPhone and Android smartphones, as well as online Web browsers. The Hokkaido Gals! manga currently releases one new chapter every two weeks, with the next chapter, 68, due to release on December 8th.

Fans of many trendy rom-com series will almost definitely like Hokkaido Gals!, including high school comedy series such as Toradora!, the story of the kind Ryuji Takasau and his budding romance with the fierce tsundere Taiga Aisaka. Toradora! is available as an anime series, a complete light novel series, and an ongoing manga adaptation. Another related title is Naoshi Komi's Nisekoi, another rom-com series starring the hapless Raku Ichigo as he must pretend to date his lively tsundere "girlfriend" Chitoge Kirisaki, until those false feelings become very real. Like Hokkaido Gals!, Nisekoi has a modern high school setting and features a slowly-growing harem of girls surrounding the hero.

Finally, Hokkaido Gals! may also appeal to fans of Don't Blush, Sekime-san!, another ongoing rom-com series also found on the Manga PLUS app. It tells the tale of Takadono, an ordinary high school boy who soon befriends his popular female classmate Sekime. They're both shy and easily flustered, but that won't stop them from pursuing a wholesome friendship that may soon become a whole lot more.

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