My Dress-Up Darling is a manga series written and drawn by Shinichi Fukuda. The story follows the romantic comedy between Wakana Gojo, a high school student who dreams of becoming a hina doll maker, and Marin Kitagawa, a cosplay-loving gyaru. In this article, we are going to bring you a list of the 15 best manga you need to read if you like My Dress-Up Darling.
1. Smile Down the Runway
Original Run: May 31, 2017 – July 14, 2021
Number of Volumes: 22
Since her early childhood, Chiyuki Fujito, daughter of the director of a modeling agency, has had the ambition to appear as a top model during Paris Fashion Week; unfortunately for her, she has stopped growing and her short stature now fails her to pass the agency’s auditions. Although those around her repeatedly tell her to give up, she does not give up and does her best to achieve it from the height of her meter fifty-eight.
During her senior year of high school, she learns that her classmate, Ikuto Tsumura, wants to become a fashion designer. The latter, whose existence she had forgotten, plans to give up his dream to provide for his family entirely, indeed his mother must provide for the needs of Ikuto’s three little sisters, moreover, the latter falls ill following a burnout. As her resolve began to falter, Chiyuki reminisces about what she was told and assimilates into Ikuto.
For a moment, she thought her dream would have been impossible, but only to come back more confident in herself and makes an unlikely request to Ikuto which marks the beginning of their long journey to make each of their dreams come true. Ikuto admires Chiyuki’s confidence and willpower. The latter is dazzled by the talent and imagination of the future stylist.
2. Maid Sama!
Original Run: December 24, 2005 – September 24, 2013
Number of Volumes: 18
The Seika High School was once a school for boys only, but over time it opened up to girls too. The isolation created a harsh climate in the classes, so the girls find it very difficult to gain a foothold and repeatedly suffer from the humiliation of the boys.
The girl Misaki Ayuzawa still manages to assert herself against her classmates and become the first student representative. Because of her behavior, she is soon seen as a man-hater but is respected or feared. But behind this facade, she also fights against various other problems.
Among other things, her family, which consists of her mother and little sister, was abandoned by her father and is now sitting on a large pile of debts. To stop the collapse of her own apartment and to help her overworked mother, Misaki looks for a job in a maid café. Since she mainly has to serve male customers there, she tries to keep her job a secret from her classmates.
In the meantime, at school, she is often confronted with the heartthrob Takumi Usui, who repeatedly refuses all declarations of love and makes the girls cry. As a result, a special form of hatred against him builds up in her. One day, however, Takumi meets Misaki in front of the Maid Café and discovers her secret.
Her fears that she would now lose her reputation are not fulfilled, however, as Takumi keeps her secret and protects her because, unlike the other girls, he develops feelings for her. Misaki also slowly develops feelings for Takumi and an ambivalent love relationship builds up, which has to suffer severe setbacks again and again.
In the end, however, Usui Takumi can confess his love to Misaki Ayuzawa at a school festival.
3. Kimi ni Todoke
Original Run: May 25, 2006 – November 13, 2017
Number of Volumes: 30
The high school student Sawako Kuronuma is loathed by her classmates, as various rumors manifested in the school that she could see ghosts and curse people. The reason for this is the similarity of her name to Sadako, a character from the Ring.
Many students fear her presence and avoid her as much as possible. Only the new and very popular student Shōta Kazehaya treats her like any other girl. One day they get the opportunity to talk to each other, which turns their entire life upside down.
With his help, she tries to make new friends and to talk to strangers like any other schoolgirl. She is almost exaggeratedly grateful for his support and a close relationship slowly develops between the two, which has to overcome many hurdles.
4. Blue Period
Original Run: June 24, 2017 – present
Number of Volumes: 11
Yatora Yaguchi is a fairly popular student who excels in his studies at school but often deals with inner emptiness and frustrations. One day he became so fascinated by a painting at his high school art club that it inspired him to try painting. Later, he was inspired by a friend Ryuji and later joined the art club, becoming more deeply involved, and attempts to apply to Tokyo University of the Arts as his college choice.
5. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
Original Run: May 19, 2015 – present
Number of Volumes: 25
The Shūchiin Academy is a prestigious school where the country’s future elites, almost exclusively the children of the rich, continue their studies. Within the high school students’ office, the two brilliant exemplary models of the academy, the vice-president Kaguya Shinomiya and the president – from a modest background – Miyuki Shirogane, conceive of love in a particular way: they are attracted to one by the other, but it is impossible for them to confess their feelings because of their too much pride, even if a semester has passed.
Indeed, considering the correlation between inequality of love interest and the relationship of domination in a relationship of this ilk, they each conclude that whoever confesses first, will become the “loser” of the couple and will inevitably come from there. to be submitted by the other. Thus begins their daily life filled with various plots and other stratagems to force the other to confess his feelings.
6. Ouran High School Host Club
Original Run: September 2002 – November 2010
Number of Volumes: 18
Ouran High School is a privileged educational institution where children of the richest and noblest families in Japan (children of politicians and big business tycoons) go to school. At the school, some of the best teachers in the country design the curriculum in such a way as not to overload the pampered wealthy students. Thanks to such care, they have a huge amount of free time that they spend on their hobbies.
One of the adornments of the Ouran School is the so-called “Host Club”, where rich and handsome young men use their natural abilities to entertain equally rich and beautiful girls with a certain benefit for themselves.
By chance, Haruhi Fujioka, who had enrolled in this school thanks to his academic achievements, enters the abandoned music classroom in which this club is based. After accidentally knocking a luxurious 8-million yen vase off a stand, Haruhi Fujioka found himself in virtual slavery by the wealthy members of the Host Club. From now on, he must go to the store, work as a servant, carry out small errands and do other dirty work in the club until graduation, thereby fulfilling his duties to the club.
7. My First Girlfriend Is a Gal
Original Run: November 26, 2015 – present
Number of Volumes: 14
Jun’ichi Hashiba is a classic teenager, shy and clumsy with girls, but who despite everything has not yet given up hope of losing his virginity before the end of high school. One day, after losing a bet, he is forced by his group of friends to hit on Yukana Yame, the gal who attends his class.
Convinced like many that gal’s are easy girls, Jun’ichi finds himself blown away by Yukana’s frankness, who immediately understands her true intentions but who, incredibly, decides to accept her declaration by getting engaged to him. At that point, the two will find themselves forced, over time, to try to understand each other better, also in order to understand if theirs is just a kind of game or the beginning of a real love story.
8. Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku
Original Run: April 17, 2014 – July 16, 2021
Number of Volumes: 11
The series follows the awkward romantic comedy between “otaku” office workers, one of whom, Narumi Momose, is a stern fujoshi who somehow tries to hide her passions from others while her partner, Hirotaka Nifuji, is a beautiful, competent man addicted to video games who only lets go of his console to work. If they seem perfect for each other, love is still complicated for the otaku.
9. Real Girl
Original Run: July 23, 2011 – May 24, 2016
Number of Volumes: 12
Hikaru Tsutsui is a high school student, often shunned and mocked by his peers for his otaku nature. One day, after arriving late for school, he is forced to clean the pool together with Iroha Higurashi, a beautiful girl with a very bad reputation. Later Iroha asks him to go out together and Hikaru accepts, but the two can only be together for six months, at the end of which the girl will have to change schools due to the work of her father.
Original Run: July 27, 2007 – present
Number of Volumes: 10
Ryuuji Takasu is a Japanese student who has just returned to the 12th grade and who lives alone with his mother. He would love to be an ordinary high school student, but he has one flaw: his intimidating eyes. Because of his sinister demeanor, stupid rumors keep circulating about him, including the fact that he would hit anyone who dared to jostle him and that he would be ready to kill, while he is a very sensitive young man.
Because of this, he has great difficulty in making friends; the heaviest to bear is the absence of a romantic relationship. Luckily, he is in the same class as his best friend Yūsaku Kitamura and his crush, the pretty Minori Kushieda.
Short-lived joy as he will literally run into the local tsundere, Taiga Aisaka (nicknamed the pocket tiger because of his small size and aggressiveness). In particular, he will discover that Taiga is in love with his best friend Yusaku.
It is then the beginning of a sulfurous relationship between these two, between this tsundere who will take advantage of him and make him his housekeeper and incidentally a punching bag, but who keeps him close to him in order to get closer to him. Kitamura, while Ryuji hopes to do the same with the energetic and no less odd Kushieda.
Original Run: February 2007 – December 22, 2011
Number of Volumes: 10
Kyōko Hori is a bright and popular high school girl, contrasting with her classmate, Izumi Miyamura, a gloomy boy and supposed otaku wearing glasses. Outside of school, Hori is a homebody who dresses simply and takes care of the house and her younger brother Souta. One day, when Souta returned home injured, he was helped by a stranger with multiple piercings.
This person is revealed to be Miyamura. While surprised that he is a different person at school, Hori is upset when Miyamura saw his true appearance at home, but the two agree to keep their true selves a secret from their classmates.
12. Kono Oto Tomare! Sounds of Life
Original Run: August 2012 – present
Number of Volumes: 26
In the Tokise High School koto club, student Takezō Kurata Kurata is the only member of the club, once the rest of his classmates have graduated. While trying to recruit new members by spreading the word about the club, Kudō Chika announces that she is joining. Kudō is known as a juvenile delinquent who changed his attitude thanks to his grandfather and developed a passion for koto.
Another new member is Satowa Hōzuki, considered a girl prodigy of the [chordophone] instrument. As time passes, more members join for their own unique reasons, getting to know each other, making new friends and romances, but all with the same goal of playing in the national koto competition.
Original Run: August 11, 2008 – April 23, 2012
Number of Volumes: 20
Mashiro Moritaka is a 14-year-old high school student who is gifted as a cartoonist, and has a crush on Azuki Miho. Mashiro was the nephew of Mashiro Nobuhiro, a mangaka known as Taro Kawaguchi, who drew the Super Hero Legends manga, which appeared weekly in Weekly Shonen Jump. Nobuhiro dies from overexertion and fatigue, since he slept little.
The death of his uncle greatly affected Mashiro, who lost all hope of becoming a mangaka. One day, he leaves a notebook in the classroom, which contains a drawing of Azuki. Returning to the classroom, he meets Akito Takagi, the smartest student in the class, sitting in the back. Takagi promises to return Mashiro’s notebook, on the condition that they make a mangaka duo with him, to which Mashiro adamantly opposes.
After returning home, Takagi calls Mashiro, saying that he is going to confess to Azuki, so that he can accompany him. Mashiro meets Takagi in front of Azuki’s house, and just as Takagi was about to propose, Takagi reveals Azuki’s dream: to be a voice actress. He then proposes the idea that he will make a mangaka duo with Mashiro and they will make a manga that turns into an anime, so that Azuki will be the voice actress of the manga’s protagonist.
In a moment of mixed feelings, Mashiro proposes to Azuki that, when that dream comes true, the two of them will get married. Azuki, after entering the house scared of him, promises him that it will be so, and that as long as it is not so, they will communicate through e-mails, which gives Mashiro a new vision of life, and encouragement to achieve this dream.
14. Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro
Original Run: November 1, 2017 – present
Number of Volumes: 13
Naoto, a shy second-year high school boy meets a first-year girl, Nagatoro, and his quiet and monotonous life is completely turned upside down: it all begins when, in the library, she and her friends accidentally notice the pages of a manga fallen to the ground next to the young man and drawn by him; after the group begins to comment on him in a contemptuous way, Nagatoro realizes the Senpai’s embarrassment and laughs at him until he is reduced to tears.
Since that day, Nagatoro spends her days in the company of Naoto, constantly bullying, insulting, and teasing him. In a short time, however, it becomes increasingly evident (for the reader and the other characters, but not for the protagonist) that the girl’s attitudes are actually not sardonic, but well-intentioned, and flirtatious, and that the girl has developed affection towards him: as the events progress, in fact, something begins to blossom between the two that is more than just what it seems to be.
15. Say I Love You.
Original Run: 2008 – July 24, 2017
Number of Volumes: 18
Mei Tachibana is 16 and has never had a boyfriend and feels lonely. Suddenly, of all people, the crush at her school is interested in her: Yamato Kurosawa. Mei falls in love with Yamato and the friendship develops into a real and serious relationship.
The two have to survive different crises and collect their first experiences together. Above all, Aiko Muto is against the relationship. Over time, Mei makes new friends and Aiko ultimately recognizes the relationship.