Marmalade Boy (ママレード·ボーイ Mamarēdo Bōi?) is a shōjo manga by Wataru Yoshizumi. It was published by Shueisha in the magazine Ribon from May 1992 to October 1995 and collected in eight tankōbon volumes. The series was adapted by Toei Animation as a 76-episode anime television series which aired on TV Asahi and Fuji TV in 1994 to 1995. This was followed by a prequel theatrical anime movie in 1995. The series was also adapted as a 30-episode live-action television series that was broadcast in Taiwan in 2002.
The manga was published in English by Tokyopop, which also licensed the anime series. Tokyopop has since lost the license to the manga series, as Shueisha refused to renew it, leaving the releases out of print. They were also unable to renew the license for the first twenty-four episodes of the anime.
Miki Koishikawa's ordinary life as a high school sophomore is turned upside down when her parents suddenly announce that they are getting divorced in order to swap partners with a couple they met in Hawaii. They seek her approval of the shocking change, and at a dinner where Miki meets the other couple as well as their son Yuu, who is about her age, she reluctantly agrees to the arrangement. Yuu, while at first a jerk who takes every opportunity to make fun of Miki, turns out to be fun and attractive, and Miki finds herself falling for him. Little by little, she accepts her new family arrangement, and opens up to Yuu as they become friends.
Miki and Yuu's relationship starts to become complicated because of the previous relationships that they had and developed with other characters. These include Miki's long time classmate and former crush, Ginta Suou, and Yuu's former girlfriend, Arimi Suzuki. A secondary subplot develops when Miki's best friend, Meiko Akizuki, herself starts to have her own problems because of the relationship she has gotten into with one of the teachers, Namura Shin'ichi.
Throughout the series, Miki and Yuu's relationship is further developed and tried, influenced by other characters around them and the relationships that they develop with these characters.
The cast of Marmalade Boy is diverse, and largely defined by their relationships with Miki Koishikawa and Yuu Matsura. Although the relationship between these two protagonists is the primary focus of the series series, many of the supporting characters are also well-developed.
Miki Koishikawa (小石川 光希 Koishikawa Miki?) is a cheerful, friendly, outspoken, and good-hearted high school girl. Miki had her heart broken in junior high by her best male friend Ginta, and while she got over it and was able to become friends with him again, she also showed no interest in moving on to someone else. When she was in high school, her parents returned from a trip to Hawaii and announced they were going to swap spouses with another couple. The Matsuura's had a son Miki's age named Yuu. The two families decided to share a house together. While having to get used to her strange new family, Miki also found herself falling in love with her stepbrother. Voiced by: Mariko Kouda (Japanese), Michelle Ruff (English)
Yuu Matsuura (松浦 遊 Matsuura Yū?) is smart and naturally athletic, able to excel in many sports. Personality wise, he is much the opposite of Miki, being more detached, less emotional, and less open about his feelings than Miki. Miki calls him "Marmalade Boy" because she thinks he is sweet on the outside but bitter inside, while he admires Miki's ability to clearly express her emotions. After their families move in together, Yuu falls in love with Miki while dealing with his own private demons regarding his birth. Voiced by: Ryōtarō Okiayu (Japanese), Michael Lindsay (English)
When Wataru Yoshizumi first started planning Marmalade Boy, with Miki, Yuu, Ginta, and Meiko all the opposite genders of what they ended up being in the final versions. The original Miki looked similar to Yuu's final appearance, while Yuu was an attractive girl with long black hair and a "devilish" and "unpredictable" personality. Yoshizumi notes several reasons behind the changes. Part of the reason was that it was a request from the Ribon publishers, who wanted a female as the central character as the story was going to be included in a "Mother's Day" set with magnets featuring the characters. Her associate editor also expressed concerns that a male hero would be a "sissy" when written about by a female writer. Finally, Yoshizumi herself decided that she would go with a heroine rather than a hero as most of the Ribon readers are girls.
In the original story, the title of Marmalade Boy was an indication of the hero Miki's cheerful, sweet, and naive nature. After redoing the concept, she wanted to keep the original title, changing its meaning to what is stated in the first volume, that Yuu "has lots of bitter bits inside" him but people only see his sweet surface.
The ending for the series was also very different from the final version. Ginta and Arimi were not going to be a couple in the original version, nor was Meiko going to be reunited with Namura. Yoshizumi originally intended for Miki and Yuu to truly be blood siblings, and thus have to break up. Afterwards, Ginta would comfort Miki and promising to wait for her to get over Yuu. Yuu and Meiko would have been shown meeting four years later, having both having failed in their previous relationships. The ending would have been more open ending so readers would have had to wonder what really would happen to everyone. However, as she was writing the third chapter, Yoshizumi became less certain of the ending, as it made Miki and Yuu's parents appear to be awful people for doing such a thing to their children. She also was concerned how readers would react, and her own feelings of "emptiness" at the sad ending. Her editor agreed that the ending would be bad, so she changed it to the happier one now found in the series.
Script error Marmalade Boy first premiered in the May 1992 issue of Ribon where it was serialized monthly until its conclusion in the October 1995 issue. The 39 unnamed chapters were collected and published in eight tankōbon volumes by Shueisha starting on December 12, 1992; the last volume was released February 20, 1996. Shueisha later republished the series in six special edition volumes. The first special edition volume was released on March 15, 2004, with new volumes published monthly until the final volume was released on August 11, 2004.
The series was licensed for an English language release in North America by Tokyopop. The individual chapters were serialized by the company's manga anthology, Smile, from December 2001 through April 2002. Tokyopop released the first collected volume of the series on April 23, 2002, releasing new volumes monthly until the final volume was released August 5, 2003. It was one of the first manga series that Tokyopop released in the original Japanese orientation, in which the book is read from right to left, and with the original sound effects left in place. Tokyopop's volumes of the series are out of print. Shueisha refused to renew the company's license of the series after becoming part-owner of rival publisher Viz Media. It is also licensed for regional language releases in France by Glenat, in Mexico by Grupo Editorial Vid, in Spain by Planeta DeAgostini Comics, in Italy by Planet Manga, and in Germany by Egmont.
Marmalade Boy was adapted into a series of Japanese light novels by Yumi Kageyama, with Wataru Yoshizumi acting as illustrator. The ten volume series was published under Shueisha's Cobalt Bunko label from July 1994 through March 1996.