by Shioko Mizuki
Published in the U.S. by Go!comi
Slugline: "Blended" families are unusual, in Japan, and here we see a little of why.
In the US, the scenario would be sad but not strange at all: three kids were dropped off at various times at Grandma's house after their footloose mom fell in and out with various men. They go their separate ways, but are drawn back together by Grandma's death -- including Mom, who ditches yet another child with them and takes off for parts unknown.
Ranging from the 20-year-old, delivery-man eldest brother to the newest, elementary schoolgirl sister, they decide to make a go at being a family. The standard-issue transfer-student dramas and the teens awkwardly attracted to each other are well and humerously written, but it's the mundane problems of getting a place to live, getting themselves into school at all, that make this title stand out. In many shojo, these things are glossed over or handled by grown-ups, if they are even mentioned at all. As a grown up who has to worry about these things, I find it fascinating to see how it's done in Japan. And since our heroine is just a teenager, she's learning the ropes right along with us.
This title was first published in the U.S. in 2003, but it's worth looking for.
We have also reviewed Crossroad vols. 2 & 3 and Crossroad vols. 4-7.
CrossRoad, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.