Shoujo – Romance, comedy, drama, smut
13 Volumes (complete)
High school girl Momoko has a big secret: she’s actually an erotic novel author. When her secret is discovered by professional model — and professional womanizer — Ranmaru, he blackmails her into becoming his slave. Upon discovering Momoko is actually a virgin, Ranmaru keeps “volunteering” his services for her novels.
EDIT 2/28/2017: Now available digitally from Kodansha Comics USA under the title Peach Heaven!
This is exactly the type of manga that I want to see more of in English. With a capable female lead, a bishounen player who matures, an adorable younger brother, sexy situations, and a good helping of comedy, I adore Momoiro Heaven!
Like many other shoujo heroines, Momoko is dealing with her dead father’s debts. Her father was an erotica writer, and Momoko ends up ghostwriting under his name to support her kid brother, Kouta, and their hospitalized mother. (Kouta is adorable by the way. He tries so hard to help his sister. He’s far from a brat like many other manga siblings.) Anyways, Momoko is desperate for a story one day, and she ends up writing about one of Ranmaru the model’s escapades. He finds out of course but agrees not to expose her under the condition she is his slave.
Sounds pretty typical? Well, unlike many other heroines, Momoko doesn’t spend her time crying or cursing her unfortunate situations. She may complain about her deadlines but knows things could be a lot worse. She may want fall in love but doesn’t spend chapters sulking about it. She often wants to punch Ranmaru’s lights out but keeps her hands to herself…usually. This makes her such a likeable heroine. Her imagination is also rather hilarious. Momoko’s descriptions of trysts in her novels are…unique (carp, anyone?), and she often ends up in strange situations because of her job.
Ranmaru is a cocky womanizer who can — and will — seduce just about any woman he wants. Describing Ranmaru is actually hard, as normally a character like this is nothing but a jerk. He acts like a prince for work, but it is a facade. Despite his playboy ways taking a long while to disappear, his softer side emerges early. This helps increase his likability, especially since he admires Momoko for protecting her family. For those worried, Ranmaru isn’t abusive to Momoko or anything. Most of his demands as master involve him wanting a bentou. He has his comedic moments as well with his attempts to seduce Momoko and the inappropriate phrases he teaches Kouta.
Momoiro Heaven! is a fun comedy, but it is also a good romance. Ranmaru-type characters would usually be the dominate one in the relationship. However, Momoko often wants to take Ranmaru down a peg, and she actually manages to keep Ranmaru in check with a few well-timed defeats. (Unfortunately for her, Ranmaru’s revenge is usually not far behind.) Momoko’s spunk keeps him from becoming an overbearing alpha male lead. Ranmaru doesn’t change his playboy ways quickly, but he eventually grows up and stops his wild ways. This is important since moments in the manga suggested Momoko could have ended up like her mother and spend her life with a serial cheater. I like the sweet moments where Ranmaru indulges in Momoko’s ideal fantasies of princes, princesses, and castles. Their relationship has a nice balance that I can’t help but smile from the romance, the comedy, or both.
The more titillating scenes are generally skewed toward the text rather than the art. Momoko’s novels are more often the source for the mature rating rather than her own love life. Plots deal with the usual sources for romantic conflict (mostly jealousy and other men/women) but also involves stories about Momoko’s and Ranmaru’s careers. The manga is pretty fast-paced, as most chapters are pretty self-contained. It’s really only toward the end that some longer arcs are included. This is great if you don’t want to see misunderstandings that last for volumes. Despite some story bumps (mostly involving the final storyline), I really enjoyed Momoiro Heaven! as a whole. Note that the main story actually ends at volume 12; the last volume is a sequel/side story centered on Kouta.
The art is fairly standard for shoujo, with Momoko supposed to be a plain Jane and Ranmaru a famous model. The art is quite crisp and steady, but I wouldn’t say the art is the strongest aspect of the series. It’s more on the simplistic side rather than focusing on beauty. Yoshino provides a good balance between serious and funny moments in the story, and the art reflects both these aspects. Ranmaru’s face when he has just been outwitted or a sweet kiss between the couple are both nice to see. Even when Momoko dresses up, it’s still the same looking Momoko. Many artists chose to make female characters suddenly sexy to attract the male lead’s attention, but Yoshino doesn’t. This again plays into the story, but it’s still refreshing.
Chance of License:
Momoiro Heaven! was serialized starting in 2007 in the magazine Dessert. This is the same magazine that housed My Little Monster and Say I Love You., both of which premiered in 2008. (Coincidentally, while the latter is ongoing, both are at 13 volumes, the same length as Momoiro Heaven! completed.) It’s both recent and completed (I believe it finished in 2013), which adds to its appeal for both fans and publishers who don’t want to invest in a long-running series. Sexy titles like Happy Marriage?! and Midnight Secretary (both josei) have finished their English releases, leaving an opening for more mature romances.
Kodansha USA would be the most likely company for a U.S. release. However, most of Kodansha’s recent licenses are print versions of manga available on Crunchyroll. And My Little Monster and Say I Love You. are both only halfway through their US releases. Yen Press has picked up some of Kodansha’s releases like Ani-Imo and He’s My Only Vampire (Aria titles), so another company could possibly acquire it.
Unofficial scanlations have released about half the series.
Momoiro Heaven! is a fun, sexy romantic comedy with lots of charm. Start encouraging others to read it and pester Kodansha USA for a U.S. release.