Stolen Hearts Volume 2 by Miku Sakamoto
I’m picking up my last volumes of CMX books with a bit of sadness, because it is a little depressing thinking of all the great series that will now be unfinished in English translation. But the over the top adorableness of Stolen Hearts provided an antidote to the CMX blues. Incredibly short Shinobu and tall giant Koguma are now going out while continuing to work at his grandmother’s kimono shop. Grandma decides to push forward the relationship by sending Shinobu a text from Koguma’s phone inviting her over to his house. Shinobu is shocked to meet the rest of his incredibly tall family, which includes three strapping older brothers. Kimono designer Miki offers to make a custom creation for Shinobu, something that he’s only done before for women he’s gone out with. Miki and Koguma become walking advertisements for the shop when they go on a New Year’s date to a shrine together dressed in kimono.
Miki keeps paying attention to Shinobu, but she remains oblivious that Koguma’s older brother might be attracted to her. Or is Miki just trying to tease his younger brother the way he always does? Even with this minor added complication, there’s no doubt in the reader’s mind that Shinobu and Koguma are meant for each other and their relationship can survive any strain. Stolen Hearts reminds me a bit of one of my favorite CMX titles, Venus in Love. Both are refreshingly angst-free, featuring stories about nice characters with a minimum of fuss. The kimono shop setting gives Sakamoto plenty of chances to draw cute outfits, and their work gives Shinobu and Koguma an additional focus that provides a counterpoint to their budding relationship. I’ll really miss not being able to read the rest of the series. Fortunately the second volume does wrap things up to an extent, so even though there isn’t a huge conclusion to the series I think the two volumes that CMX put out can be enjoyed on their own. There’s a lack of truly cute, feel-good shoujo shoujo series out there and Stolen Hearts is a great series to turn to if you need a quick dose of warm fuzzies.