Forms of Love In Between Stations

This month’s manga was an oldie, but goodie find at the Dallas location, Anime Pop shop. Written by celebrated women’s author, Asumiko Nakamura, sprinkling her magic again with Maiden Railways. A collection of seven short stories.

Maiden Railways was originally released in 2009, translated in 2011 and re-distributed in 2019. I was introduced to the title by shopkeeper recommendation as a great introduction to Shojo manga.

Nakamura is more known for her Yaoi genre work, Classmates, which was later adapted into an Anime series. The follow up sequel Graduates was equally well received.

Getting back to Maiden Railways, each story shares the pitfalls of love between two people and finding a way to reconnect again.

Relationships at every stage of life are portrayed in a way that anyone can relate on some level.

The young tweens waiting at the station for a boy that might not arrive.

The older couple that’s forgotten how to be attentive to others wants and needs from a partner.

Lose of a relationship and finding another, Nakamura does a wonderful job recreating these fictional worlds happening in and around the romance car.

I was especially loving the old school vibe of the art direction. Bringing me back to the early days of Peach Girl and Marmalade Boy.

It still fascinates me to see how Japanese culture protrays relationships compared to my western upbringing. For example, the first tale that centers on a affair in action.

While western writers would have a tendency to make the cheating spouse a villain before the act, Nakamura’s character blames himself for not being the man his wife deserved.

Ultimately, Maiden Railways is a collection of romantic entanglements gone wrong. Finishing out with classic shojo resolutions with some surprising revelations.

While none of the stories are particularly groundbreaking, I do appreciate the care taken to tell them in a way that’s palatable for new readers. For a book that was released in the mid 2000s, the stories still hold up well in today’s world.

An even sweeter treat about this book is the author’s note about the railway that inspired her to write this.

Maiden Railways is a wonderful short read for your next train ride to the nearest happy place.

Do you have any recommendations for my next review? Let me know in the comments below.

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