Cinta Untuk Dijual is one of Kaoru’s standalone romantic graphic novel about Miku, a part-owner of a failing Ramen shop who met with a rich girl, Virginia who is an ex-girlfriend of one of Miku’s friend, Julien. Virginia is a girl who never know any love besides the love of people with money and she always assume everyone loves and respects her because of her money. When Miku’s sister, Miya came out with an idea to dress up Miku as a girl waitress to help with her business, Julien used Miku (dressed in girl’s clothings) as a reason to breakup with Virginia. This infuriates Virginia and she decided to stalk-help Miku and ruined the business by acting like a spoiled rich girl and made Miku as her slave (*there’s a sponge bathing scene*). Embarassed, Miku tried to tell her the truth but Virginia found out the truth eventually and in her short time with Miku, she somehow developed a strong feeling for him. The novel followed Miku’s struggle to save his parent’s restaurant and Virginia’s journey in finding out the meaning of love.
As a short Japanese-inspired Shoujo manga, Kaoru had managed to weave a decent romance from one of the overused cliched rich boy/girl vs poor boy/girl storyline. The novel doesn’t fall fall short from being unpredictable and unoriginal. The plot does look like it being borrowed from some Shoujo manga. The character Virginia is quite similar to Maid Maiden’s protagonist and Miku does look like he came from Princess Princess.
The artwork is quite basic. Kaoru’s style might change but her overall character’s really doesn’t. The pseudo-manga=comic compacted scenes within the pages so, there’s lesser sense of filler ‘artistic’ page in this book. There are also some Shoujo-theme related to lolita and crossdressing which can be problematic to some local readers.
The story is sweet and such. But it lack depth and although it have some moments, Miku is very one-dimensional and Virginia’s story isn’t well resolved despite the ending. Its an okay standalone but as for a shoujo manga, it does poorly with originality.
p/s: I noticed Kaoru’s Goodreads page is still poorly constructed. Since my sister is Kaoru’s fan, she have a bunch of her books so I will be doing a proper review on all of her works (minus several missing books). She’s still a great Malaysian shoujo mangaka and honestly, I do want her exposed to potential readers since her graphic novels are multi-lingual ; English, Malay and Chinese.