Not All Girls Are Stupid is an avant-garde short story collection centering on women and their relationships. Very different from starry-eyed, romantic shojo manga, this shows the ups and downs of relationships . . . sometimes more often the downs. Also, unlike shojo manga, it shows a lot more, and because of this has received a Mature rating. Most of the relationships are about male and female lovers, though there is a bit about lesbianism in here, and there’s also a few chapters about a woman getting ready to have a baby.
In more than one story a woman is with a man who’s already in another relationship, and she has to figure out what to do about that. Multiple women realize the man she’s with is not all he’s cracked up to be and she’s better off without him. One woman deals with a creepy stalker. And while these stories often show the darker side of relationships, it’s not all depressing. Instead, it feels gritty. Q-ta has a unique way of telling stories, so that you can easily flow from one to the next in this collection.
The artwork is sketchy and often doesn’t have a lot of background detail. It has that “underground comics” sort of feel to it. These stories were originally published during the 90s. Star Fruit Books has published some other work by Q-ta — Pop Life, Pop Life Volume 2, and The Blood Red Boy. Since a lot of the same old kind of stuff usually gets translated into English — and the more unusual stuff stays off-limits — it’s nice to see a book like this get a chance.
This book would be good for manga fans who like something a little different. That’s especially true if they’re interested in seeing something by a female mangaka who writes and draws about love in relationships in ways not portrayed in more mainstream manga. Anyone who enjoys Not All Girls Are Stupid could also check out the other Q-ta books Star Fruit Books has released.
Story & Art: minami Q-ta
Publisher: Star Fruit Books
Translator: Dan Luffey
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.