Long have I resisted the siren call of Tramps Like Us. I even watched the 10 episode live action drama series to postpone my inevitable purchase of the manga. But since Borders was still running their buy 2 get one 3 deal on graphic novels, I gave in at last. It was a little bit odd to read the original source material after already watching the TV show.
Tramps Like us is josei manga, so it is aimed at a late teens to 20ish female audience. Sumire is an assertive career woman who is determined not to date anyone shorter than her, who makes less money, or has less education. Since she’s tall, graduated from elite universities, and is a sucessful journalist she does have problems finding a good boyfriend. The story opens with Sumirie’s (shorter, less educated) boyfriend breaking up with her, and she’s just been demoted to the lifestyles section because she punched out her supervisor. Her life is taking a turn for the worse, when she finds a cardboard box outside her apartment. She opens it up and finds a cute boy who is slightly damaged after a beating. She takes him into her apartment and bandages him up. Sumirie and the boy embark on a unique living arrangement – she’ll feed him and take care of him, and he can stay at her apartment if he agrees to be her “pet”. She gives him the name “Momo” after a dog she had as a child.
The relationship between Sumire and Momo is cute, she’s free to be more herself when she’s with him since he is just a pet, she doesn’t feel the need to put on the polished facade that she uses when dealing with the outside world. As the series goes on (I’ve only read the first couple volumes) the reader learns more about Momo’s past life before he came to Sumire’s apartment. And how will Sumire manage to juggle a new boyfriend at work with Momo at home? This is a cute, fluffy read with attractive artwork — if you read and like chicklit books this would be a fun manga to read.
The TV show Kimi wa petto is a good adaptation of the manga (based on what I’ve read so far). Koyuki plays Sumire, I guess most western audiences would be familiar with her only from her work in The Last Samurai (I haven’t seen it because I think Tom Cruise is icky). Jun Matsumoto plays Momo, and he really captures the part very well. It seems like the TV show follows the plot of the manga, although I think there is an additional character added (a psychiatrist with a chiwawa) who hasn’t shown up in the manga so far. The TV show is only 10 episodes long, so it isn’t a huge commitment of time to watch it.