If you enjoyed Mars, or like the traditional girl-hero, boy in the wings, fun high school drama, go read Othello. Go go go, because this is heaps of fun!
Othello (no relation to anything by Shakespeare so far) centers around Yaya, a girl with some rotten friends who’s way too much of a pushover. Yaya knows it, but she’s also lonely and the idea of leaving the only friends she has behind really scares her. What to do?!
New Year’s day of the year 2000, Yaya receives a letter from the past: specifically, a letter that the seven-year-old Yaya once wrote to herself. In the letter Yaya reminds her older self of the dreams she had and the games she played with her mother before she died. Yaya and her mother would talk about her dream of being a pop-singer and Yaya would imagine that, with the aid of a magical makeup compact, she could transform into a magical, pop-singer heroine called Nana.
Years later, as Yaya reads her letter and looks at the makeup compact that came with it, she feels more than a bit lost. Yaya gave up her dreams of becoming a singer and no longer knows exactly where she’s going. Soon after this, Yaya is pushed to the limit by her “friends.” She forms an alternate personality and begins transforming into Nana, who is everything Yaya isn’t. She’s tough, she sticks up for herself, and most importantly, she enacts justice when Yaya is wronged. The only catch is that Yaya doesn’t know this is happening!
Othello, vol. 1 ends with Yaya still in the dark, but wondering a bit about these memory gaps she’s been having. It also ends with a rather adorable musician/classmate showing an interest in Yaya and two very confused and dangerously annoyed “friends.” I have no idea what’ll happen next, but I can venture a few guesses. Either way, I’m definitely looking forward to finding Volume Two.
Othello, vol. 1
by Satomi Ikezawa
Del Rey Manga 2004