Summary: After first losing his parents, and then his guardian, Akira finds himself at the estate of his father's estranged family, whom he didn't even know existed. His grandmother expects Akira and his cousin Rei to live there to determine who will take over the massive Takatou empire, but Akira doesn't want anything to do with the fortune. Rei convinces him to stay, not for the money, but so that they can be a family...
Makoto's Notes: Koujima-sensei has always written one-shots or short serials, but you could tell she had something big inside of her. With the right story and the right pacing, she created an extremely popular Cinderella story for BeXBoy. It has well-deserved wide appeal, and a pair of her cutest leads yet.
Akira's own father described him as "Energetic and annoying, but cute". That's pretty right on. He's completely clueless as to the wealthy family his father walked away from, and gets lost on the massive grounds of their "castle". A lot. Poor guy. He's a country boy trying to adjust to city life, as well as being unprepared for the Takatou family in-fighting. Fortunately, he has a very amusing (though not always kind) assistant and an over-protective bodyguard, not to mention Rei. Rei is stylish and beautiful and collected, but he's been isolated since childhood and doesn't play well with others. (He also falls asleep so often in so many random places, he borders on narcoleptic.) Rei has fond memories of Akira's father, as do certain other family members, and that's where the trouble starts.
There's a fair bit of culture clash, not just between rich and poor but also Japanese versus Western. Everybody is too touchy-feely for confused Akira-kun... either way, I always enjoy reading a Japanese view of American values and customs. The panic on Akira's face every time he meets a "gaijin" is hilarious.
Outside of the family tree issues, this really isn't too difficult to follow. All kanji have furigana, and there's even a few lines in English here and there. I had to look up a lot of the grandmother's lines, but she doesn't appear too often, and most words I didn't know could be figured out in context (or by how much Akira freaked out following it).
Warnings and Suggestions: It's a sweet Boy's Love story; the two lead characters are cousins. They're also teenagers, so be aware of age issues as well. There's one scene of non-consentual "groping", and a bit of implied brother-complex. A lot of kissing, some nicely unresolved tension, and a beautifully clichéd necktie scene.
ISBN 4-8352-1121-9 (Volume 1)
ISBN 4-8352-1363-7 (Volume 2)