After the disappointment of the last manga I read (that being Hideout), I decided to return to my guilty shoujo pleasures. From first glance this manga seemed to hit two of the notes that I really love in any genre: sweetness and having a tie-in with fairy tales. With a title like Like a Cinderella, it was easy to imagine a pauper to princess type of story, but what I found beyond the cover page wasn’t quite so fantastical.
This short comic—it’s two chapters long with each chapter having roughly twenty pages—by Fuuka Mizutani follows a young girl, Chiaki, who, after an appointment at her dentist’s, finds that someone has left with one of her shoes, leaving her with a mismatched pair. Luckily for her, the shoe not belonging to her is still her shoe size so she’s able to return home despite looking a little strange. Chiaki does want her shoe back—it’s her only pair—but the nature of the shoe intrigues her and causes her to think of the girl that walked off so easily with the incorrect shoe. As opposed to Chiaki’s ratty old sneaker, the assumed elegance of the woman who left her heel behind allows Chiaki’s mind to wander. And more and more she dreams about meeting this woman in real life.
Luckily, the dentist’s office is more than willing to help. The receptionist tells Chiaki that the woman happens to have appointments scheduled a while after her own, and if she is willing to wait Chiaki can meet her in person. At first, Chiaki is thrilled by the idea. However, after thinking about it she becomes worried that she’s not pretty enough and the woman will think of her as nothing but a nuisance. In an attempt to combat these feelings on the day she’s supposed to meet with the mystery girl Chiaki dresses up in a fancy dress and goes out of her way to look like she imagined the other girl would. The pressure is too much though, and she ends up running home, embarrassed.
She gets over this fear quickly when she recalls that this other girl already knows what she looks like. How does she know that? Because Chiaki put up a “have you seen this shoe” poster in the dentist’s office with her face on it. This girl already knew what Chiaki looked like and still wanted to meet with her—she also told the receptionist that she wanted to meet Chiaki in person as well. So with renewed resolve Chiaki waits for the mystery girl, the comic ending right as they meet.
The second chapter in this series merely covers the series of events from the other girl’s point of view. And indeed like Chiaki thought, she is a bit of a princess, but a charming princess. Though short, I feel like Like a Cinderella has a lot of heart in it. The characters are really relatable and the simple art style has an air of normality and comfort to it. Even though it didn’t exactly have the fantastical elements that I usually expect in my fairy tale-themed romance comics, it still shows that sometimes seemingly fantastical things can happen even amongst the daily grind of life. I’d recommend a read through should you get the chance: it’s cute enough to make you smile, but short enough that you can read it in under half an hour. A pretty good combination if I do say so myself.