I give this underappreciated shoujo manga from the 90s...a 91/100!
When you think of famous shoujo manga from the 90s, what do you think of? Especially the kind that involve female main characters getting whisked away to another world? Typically, most people would answer Fushigi Yuugi. Yuu Watase's manga pretty much solidified and popularized old-school shoujo isekai and became really famous. I myself never heard of it until I really started diving into the anime fandom when I was a teenager, and a while ago, I did attempt to read the manga, since it's still in print...but I dropped it after three volumes. I found it really obnoxious and melodramatic, the characters all grated on my nerves, and the whole thing felt like a cliche soap opera written by a teenager. Granted, I've read some of Watase's other works, and some of them turned out much better (Sakura Gari being one of them). But I found out about this manga, From Far Away, aka Kanata Kara by Kyoko Hikawa and read someone's review of it, which described it as Fushigi Yuugi done better. But by the time I became interested in it, it had already fallen out of print. But through hard work, a lot of searching, and eventually finally transitioning to buying books digitally, I FINALLY managed to collect and own every single volume of From Far Away. Was it worth it? As far as I'm concerned, hell yes!!
The story centers on a young girl named Noriko Tachiki who, while on her way home from school, gets caught up in a strange explosion that oddly enough doesn't kill her, but whisks her away into another world. Lost and alone, at first she is utterly confused, and has no idea what to do, and having monsters chase after her isn't helping matters. Thankfully, a mysterious man named Izark Kia Tarj decides to help her out. After a while, Noriko realizes she can't keep relying on Izark for everything, so she decides to try and make the best of her situation, from learning the world's language to getting to know the various people that come into her life. But what she doesn't know is that Izark is carrying an evil demon inside him that, if left unchecked, could destroy the world, and Noriko, considered by many to be the Awakening, has the power to unleash that evil. The two allies must work together to navigate a world that's both wondrous and hostile and try to avert the mysterious prophecy.
(more to come soon)