Short Stories A Toast to the Nape of Your Neck By: Maki Murakami Kaori, upon finding a teenage boy passed out in the street, brings him to the hospital. It turns out he had anemia and she donated some of her blood to him, as she had the same blood-type. The boy is shocked to learn this from the doctor. That boy, Shintaro, turns up at her school and...proposes to Kaori. He starts going to her school and basically stalking her, much to her annoyance. Kaori soon finds out that Shintaro is in fact a vampire. He needs to feast on her in order to survive, but he loves her. When another vampire comes to find out why he hasn't yet drank her blood to save himself he (once again) proclaims his love, touching Kaori's heart. She allows him to bite her. Shintaro is saved from destruction, but now Kaori is stuck with him, as he still insists on making her his bride. Firstly, I must say that I absolutely adore Ponta, Shintaro's rabbit-like guardian. As for the story itself, he characters are cute and the plot is amusing. There is comedy, slight horror (with the vampire and all), and romance. This appeared at the end of Gravitation volume 4. The Last Supper By: Setona Mizushiro Cows have dies off due to war and disease and are now made using human DNA. The can speak and look similar to humans, but people still eat them and treat them as cows. After her father was eaten, Lamda the cow decides to run away. Unfortunately he is caught, but before that he helps a little boy, Mitsuhiko, learn to ride a bike. The boy then insists Lamda become his servant instead of being eaten. Soon trust builds and Mitsuhiko and Lamda become friends. When the Black Plague hits Mitsuhiko he is in danger of dying because the only cure is cow and every cow except Lamda is gone. Mitsuhiko refuses to eat his friend. He orders Lamda to run away and that he will come looking for him when he is better. Mitsuhiko finally gives in and eats a cow given to him, only to learn it was Lamda. This is a pretty dark and ironic story. It was at the end of X-Day volume 2. I don't know if this would be okay for younger readers (it's pretty sad). Step By: Shuri Shiozu Kurara is very protective of her (younger) twin brother, Tomoya. Their mother died when they were young and their father left their mother before then. When rumors start flying around that Tomoya is gay and going out with his friend, Taketo, Kurara stands up for him, assuring everyone it's not true. The thing is, Kurara doesn't know if the rumors are true or not. She refuses to accept that her brother is dating Taketo, someone she finds very annoying. When she catches them in a compromising position she freaks out and won't listen to what her brother has to say. She can't believe her brother would leave her...like her father did. Taketo eventually gets through to her, telling her what she was only Tomoya putting make-up on Taketo. Tomoya wants to be a make-up artist when he is older, but was scared to tell her. He practices on Taketo, as they are both in the drama club. You know, it is never actually made clear if Taketo has intimate feelings for Tomoya, so I guess the reader is free to draw their own conclusion. This was a cute little story, not a typical 'girl tells her crush she loves him' story. There are strong hints of shounen ai and Kurara and Tomoya's past is pretty sad, so discretion is advised. This story was at the end of Eerie Queerie! volume 1. Astronomy Club Ghost Story By: Nami Akimoto This is a short story (around 30 pages) about a young girl who has just entered her school's astronomy club. The other members tell her about a scary story that is said to have happened there long ago. They say if you see the ghost of a dead girl (the main character in the horror tale they were telling her) you would die within one weak. She sees the ghost! But is it really a ghost...? It's a sweet romance story. The characters are basic and a little dense. It was in the back of the first volume of Miracle Girls. It's suitable for all ages. The Day A Whale Flew By: Megumi Tachikawa It's about Kaoru, a young girl, who has a crush on this boy in her school. On the first or second page the boy says he has liked hr since last year. Kaoru didn't have time to respond, and that's the basic plot, Kaoru trying to confess back. It gets complicated when she is stood up by him, and is told he was sent to the hospital. Kaoru panics, until she finds out it wasn't "him" who got sent to the hospital. One thing leads to another and he gets slapped. How will it turn out? This is a really cute romance story. I found it funny near the end. It was at the back of Saint Tail volume 6. This is also suitable for all ages. The 16 Year-Old Tiara By: Megumi Tachikawa This is a tale of Shiho, another young schoolgirl. She develops a crush on Nitta, one of her classmates. Nitta has looked out for Shiho since the first day of school... and is usually hard on her. Shiho is a real pushover, and really shy. So, she has a hard time telling him her feelings. Another romance story, that is very sweet. This was also at the back of Saint Tail volume 6. This is also okay for all ages. The Tiger and the Chameleon: A Promise For One Week By: Masami Tsuda This is a story of a shy girl (Koharu) who can't stand attention and a boy (Toshiro) who doesn't care what anyone thinks. When Toshiro accidentally brakes Koharu's glasses he becomes her 'eyes' for a week. During that week Koharu realizes how being in the spotlight isn't the end of the world and slowly falls in love. I guess exact opposites do attract. A sweet romance story appearing in Kare Kano volume 1. This okay for all ages.