Show Me the Romance

No cherubs. No doilies. No crap.

Archive for the tag “high school”

Lookin’ For Love in All the Wrong Places

I feel like the theme song for this blog could be “Lookin’ For Love in All the Wrong Places,” since I tend to gravitate toward unusual places for romance. I read and love romance novels of course, but there’s something very satisfying about starting a movie or book and finding romance where you least expect it. Maybe that’s something like real life.

When I was in middle school and high school I had about a million crushes, one right after another, some at the same time (I know, like just about everyone else) but it wasn’t until I got asked out by a guy I hadn’t even noticed that I got my first boyfriend. That’s not always how it works of course, but you can certainly try too hard (my dad says I get that tendency from him).

Since that’s how I was, I’m often suspicious of female characters (especially teens) who say they don’t want a boyfriend, or aren’t looking for love. I know these people exist, but I always catch myself going “really? not even a little bit? Not even an eensie little bit?”

That’s why it’s (perhaps) ironic that I created a main character (Layla inVeiled Iron) who has no romance on her radar. Here’s my defense: she’s such a tomboy, in such a male-dominated society that I just couldn’t see her any other way. Half the girls in her school already think she’s a tramp for playing on the siegeball team with all those boys–she’d only make her reputation worse by flirting with someone. Besides, in her world, women get married at 16-17, and their marriage is the kind that existed in most societies in the history of the world (the wife is the man’s property). With that in mind, I can’t see her–an athlete–being anxious to draw the amorous attention of boys.

But of course, she is a girl, and she does have all those teenage hormones and emotions bumping around inside her. A nice mix of conflict, no? 🙂

Anime Review: Special A (2008)

Special A
Anime series
(24 episodes with English subtitles)
To watch, go to

I wish American television producers would take a cue from their Japanese counterparts when it comes to giving us programs with pre-written, overarching storylines scripted for a set number of seasons. Anyone who endured the amnesiac Battlestar Galactica writers winging their way through 4+ seasons of “what if we did THIS?” knows the pain of seeing a golden cast and premise ruined by writers with a sandbox complex. When I want to watch a TV show with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end, I turn to anime. And when it comes to romance anime, Special A isn’t a bad way to go.

The Premise
Overachieving high school student Hikari dreams of beating her number one rival: Kei, the boy who’s beaten her at everything she’s tried since they were kids. Both Kei and Hikari belong to the “Special A” class, a group made up of the seven best students in their high school (other classes are referred to as A, B, C, etc). Through the Special A’s hijinks and misadventures, Hikari is so busy trying to out-smart, out-race, out-wrestle the unbeatable Kei that she doesn’t see the most important thing: Kei loves her.

The Pain
Any one who’s watched shojo anime knows what to expect: meddling adults, naive heroine, over-the-top explosions, exaggerated reactions and implausible secrets…at least some of it is funny.

The Payoff
This series has charming characters and some truly beautiful artwork. Hikari may not know a thing about love, but she’s pretty kickass otherwise, and it isn’t hard to see why Kei loves her. As for that beginning, middle, and end I mentioned earlier? All right here.


3 out of 5 arrows

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