Confidential Confessions is a departure from your average shoujo manga; there’s no comedy of errors, no magic, and harsh realities intrude on romance. Following in the tradition of teen “problem” novels about drugs, sexual assault, and suicide, this series tackles tough issues that teens face. While there are subtle differences between Japanese and American teens’ problems, Confidential Confessions will no doubt resonate with American readers. Volume 1 contains two stories: “The Door” deals with the allure of suicide, “Mistakes” with prostitution. While the second tale (about a teen prostitute and the free-spirited street performer who renews her faith in love) is a bit clichéd, the first is excellent. Manatsu’s father abandoned her and her mother years ago, but her mother still hangs his shirts out their window to dry in a futile attempt to keep up appearances. Unable to live up to her mother’s expectations, Manatsu flirts with the idea of suicide. Then she meets Asparagus, so-nicknamed because of her skinny arms. Asparagus does more than flirt with suicide; she introduces Manatsu to cutting as a way to escape her pain. The two girls make a pact to die together, but as Manatsu approaches the edge she discovers that she wants to live. “The Door” is a compelling, believable story that manages to end hopefully without any pat resolutions.
Confidential Confessions deals with some raw subject matter, but it’s no more explicit than most teen “problem” novels. Readers who seek out such books will take this series to heart. It’s an important addition to the variety of graphic novels for teens. The series will be six volumes in all.