Nosatsu (Charming) Junkie by Ryoko Fukuyama Vol. 1 – 16

Naka is an aspiring model with a problem: her face tenses up into a terrifying sight whenever she’s nervous. Umi is Naka’s biggest rival and the hottest model at their agency. When Naka discovers Umi’s secret, hilarity ensues behind the camera.

Average rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Series: Charming Junkie, Vol 1 – 16

Genres: Manga, Romance, Shojo, Young Adult


Volume 1

Length: 192 pages

Publication Date: November 28th, 2006

Nosatsu Junkie was one of the first manga I read in its entirety back when I was in high school. Because of this, I knew that I’d be going into this read with fond memories attached to the story.

Even with that, I genuinely enjoyed rereading this manga. While I’ve never been a model myself – nor do I ever expect to be – I found it interesting to read about young models learning to balance their careers with their schooling.

This is a fun read, though I don’t know how realistic it is. I highly doubt that many people would succeed at or even try to keep the secret that Umi does in the real world. Also, in this day and age, I doubt that it’s something that many people would need to do. The world is more accepting of things now than they were even 10 years ago. Without going into spoilers, I think it’s possible for someone to model the way Umi does in this story without having to keep the same kind of secret.

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*Spoilers ahead*

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Volume 2

Length: 200 pages

Publication Date: April 10th, 2007

Naka is pleased to learn that she’s landed another job… until she learns that Tsutsumi is going to be the photographer. Meanwhile, Ms. President is starting to worry about Umi’s secret getting out.

My favourite part of this story is the way the characters interact with each other. While this is only the second volume in the series, it’s clear that the main cast are already starting to change as people. Umi is starting to question what’s truly important to him; Naka is starting to realize that her motivations to get into modelling might not have been pure but she’s starting to actually enjoy the work.

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Volume 3

Length: 177 pages

Publication Date: August 7th, 2007

Umi and Naka are invited to the grand opening gala for the premier Knocks retail store. At the party Naka spills her drink on an Knocks’ infamous designer. Is this going to be the nail in the coffin of her seemingly failing modelling career?

As Umi and Naka continue to work together, their friendship continues to blossom from enemies to something more. Can they truly overcome their rocky start and get along? I love watching the development between the two. I really do enjoy seeing them struggle and overcome their own inner turmoil – though they’re a long way from this yet.

On a very small side note, I think it’s hilarious that Ms. President is never there when she’s being asked out on a date. It’s cute to see an adult with unrequited love in a coming of age manga. As an adult myself, I can promise you that we don’t always have things figured out. It’s nice to catch glimpses of this in media from time to time.

Can I just say I love the way that this volume ends? Umi’s there for her no matter what, even in the smallest ways sometimes. Though it’s also often in large and obvious ways (even if the people around them don’t notice).

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Volume 4

Length: 208 pages

Publication Date: December 11th, 2007

It’s been a year since Umi and Naka started modelling together for Junk. Mon-mo magazine is going to do a special feature on them which includes an interview with the models. Yet now that Naka realizes her feelings for Umi, she’s got a hard time being normal around him and ends up messing up the interview, causing it to be postponed. Her work at Junk in general starts being affected as well, causing the President of Junk to let her go.

Following the events in volume 3, it’s no wonder that Umi’s annoyed by the attention he’s getting. Having a secret he’s trying to keep no matter what is just getting harder and harder the longer Naka keeps being her dopey self. Sure Naka doesn’t realize how her behaviour is impacting Umi, but as the reader it’s clear to see. Even still, Umi only pretends to be bothered by the help that Naka constantly needs.

In a very cute change of pace, Umi gets sick and Naka has to be the one to be the supporting role for once. While not the most maternal person in the world, Naka does all she can to help nurse Umi back to heath. The Umi at the start of this story never would have let Naka get so close, so I really enjoyed this blatant way in which their relationship has grown and changed over even just their first year of knowing each other.

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Volume 5

Length: 208 pages

Publication Date: April 1st, 2008

She started out as a model with a terrifying smile but now everyone is vying for Naka’s love. Ikue tries his best to steal Naka’s attention from Umi, but it doesn’t seem promising. Meanwhile, Naka can’t stand Umi getting close with his new co-model Mihane to the point that she faints in the middle of a shoot. When Umi kisses her as she’s recovering, will Naka finally realize how she feels?

I’m not going to lie, it’s frustrating at times watching characters skirting around each other and not being on the same page. I know that this sort of thing happens in real life, too, but sometimes I wish I could just reach out and shake some sense into the characters. Okay, I’ll admit to feeling this way sometimes with my friends, too. It’s easier to see things from the outside sometimes – especially when we’re talking about a story and the characters within it.

That being said, I continue to enjoy the progression that each character is making on a personal level throughout the story. This being a reread for me, I know how the story ends. That just makes it even sweeter when I see connections being made when they seem so unlikely at the start of the story. Things aren’t always as they appear, and this story is certainly filled with a tangled web.

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Volume 6

Length: 208 pages

Publication Date: July 7th, 2008

Umi knows he’s got a year at max to continue hiding his secret, no matter how much he might wish otherwise. And damn if Umi isn’t going to make the most of that year. Umi’s set their eyes on becoming Heki brand’s model one last time. Photographer Ikue has other plans for the job, plans that might invoice Naka and put her relationship with Umi in a rocky position once again…

It’s great to see Umi with a goal in mind. Not only is the goal Heki, but it’s also not messing things up with Naka. It’s not an easy thing, trying to balance multiple goals at once, but Umi finally has the desire and dedication to try and reach those dreams. Yet making time to go on real dates shows how much Umi cares about both of these goals.

I also enjoy getting to see the secondary relationships develop more. People are messy, and so are their relationships. It’s great to see depictions of this in the series. Chi finally took the plunge and talked to Mihane, even if he didn’t expect things to go positively. He took his shot, and that’s what matters.

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Volume 7

Length: 208 pages

Publication Date: 2008

I’ll be honest here, I read the scanlation version of this manga and not a physical copy of it. The Goodreads Synopsis for Volume 7 is not in English, so I’m not quite sure what it is… Here are my thoughts on what happened in this volume:

I really enjoy the way that this volume starts out. Naka is always freaking out over things, so it’s entertaining to see her start the new year off with a panic attack. That’s not to say I think panic attacks are fun or anything to laugh about – quite the contrary, these things can be quite terrifying to experience and have serious consequences. That being said, it’s just like Naka to work herself up that much.

It’s great to see people growing up, seeing how they acted immaturely in the past, and being willing to fix it. Chi, Ikue, and Mihane are dealing with a truly stick situation, but they’re working through it. Even if they’re doing it super slowly…

I also enjoy other people slowly catching on to Umi’s secret. It’s something that they never wanted people to know, yet the list of the people in the know just keeps on growing.

Also, does anybody like warm strawberry milk here? I adore strawberry milk when it’s cold, but I don’t think I’d ever be able to enjoy it warm… (I have had warm regular milk, though. It’s a great tool to help you sleep.)

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Volume 8

Length: 192 pages

Publication Date: 2008

Once again, I cannot get the volume synopsis off of Goodreads. Therefore, I will be unable to give a breakdown of what happens in this volume. It’s safe to assume that the rest of the review will be like this – vague notions of what I enjoyed in each volume without a general breakdown and trying to avoid as many spoilers as possible.

It’s heartbreaking to see Umi dealing with his insecurities while trying so hard to overcome them. It’s hard to admit when you’re vulnerable at the best of times, let alone when you’re not positive your feelings are reciprocated. It’s clear the amount of growth Umi has gone through since the start of the story if he’s willing to show his vulnerability at all.

Umi isn’t the only one struggling with their insecurities. After such a successful location shoot, Naka isn’t sure why she’s still failing as a model. Things had just started looking up for her and her career only for them to take a nose dive again. It can be hard to grapple with the fact that things aren’t going the way you expected them to. It’s great to get to watch her overcome this fear – with the help of her friends, of course – and start to believe in herself again.

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Volume 9

Length: 192 pages

Publication Date: 2008

Here are some of my thoughts on volume 9:

Chi is such an amazing friend. While Mihane and Ikue might be skirting around their feelings for each other, Chi once again sets aside his own feelings to help his friends get back together. It isn’t an easy thing to put your own feelings aside and act maturely to ensure the happiness of the people you care about, yet Chi makes it look effortless. For a teenager, that’s practically unheard of. Chi might very well be one of the most selfless characters ever.

I also really enjoy the interactions with the student council throughout this story. It’s so clear that they care deeply for their president – even if their actions are almost always to tease and bother him. It’s also clear that they hope for the best for him. Their acceptance of Naka into their world – while she doesn’t join the student council – just shows what good people they are. Besides, who wouldn’t want to tease that president of theirs?

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Volume 10

Length: 192 pages

Publication Date: 2008

Volume 10 thoughts:

Umi’s relationship with his mom is hilarious. I love that they’re so similar. It’s like a glimpse into Umi’s future. Seemingly a hardass on the outside, but truly a softy that loves cute things on the inside.

Umi did pretty well keeping his secret from their mom, but the secret was bound to come out at some point. Umi’s mother’s reaction wasn’t what I was expecting (the first time I read this series, of course) – it was so much better. I enjoy the humour that was injected into this situation. It was a much better reaction than a lot of people would have had in real life to find out a secret like Umi’s.

In general, I adore the way that everyone teamed up together to try and keep Umi’s secret from the press. You know that you’ve surrounded yourself with great friends and family when they’re all willing to help you out when something like this comes up. They didn’t have to help Umi out of this bind, but it’s a very sweet thing to know that they were willing to go this far to help out a friend in need.

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Volume 11

Length: 192 pages

Publication Date: 2009

Volume 11 thoughts:

Chi really is an insanely sweet person. While he went around with Mihane having an almost date, he knew in the end that she was still in love with Ikue. Chi didn’t force Mihane to do anything on their “date”, and even went to the spot that three of them used to hang out all the time to get Mihane to come out and say that she’s still in love with Ikue. It couldn’t have been an easy moment for him, but it shows great maturity that he’s still willing to be the loving best friend – to both of them – and help them realize that they should give their relationship a second shot. It’s hard to get over yourself sometimes, especially when you like the same person as your friend. It’s great to see Chi being mature enough to take himself out of the equation. Even if it’s extremely hard for him to give up on the love he’s been holding onto for years.

As always, I enjoy seeing Umi and Naka getting closer to each other. Their relationship faces a lot of strange hardships, but they’re constantly pushing through them. No one wants to be stalked or forced to do anything they don’t want to, but when you’re forced into that situation it’s nice to not be alone.

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Volume 12

Length: 192 pages

Publication Date: 2009

Volume 11 thoughts:

An interesting part of this series is how much attention the secondary characters get. I adore how flushed out all of these characters are. They’re so much more than just plot devices or background characters.

For example, Uzuki’s struggle with loving hairstyle and makeup but thinking that working with him is dangerous. While rumors like these can be detrimental to your work – especially in the modelling and fashion industry – it can also be toxic to your mental health. What’s stopping you from believing these rumors when it’s all you hear? How do you keep believing in yourself if no one else believes in you?

One of the best things about Naka is her childlike innocence and the oblivious way she lives her life. Because of how oblivious she is, she’s able to help the people around her see themselves the way she sees them. She can tell that Uzuki is talented and believes in his abilities even when he doesn’t believe in himself. Sometimes all it takes is someone else having a little bit of faith in you to make it possible for you to believe in yourself.

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Volume 13

Length: 198 pages

Publication Date: 2009

Volume 13 thoughts:

It’s clear that aging is something that Umi is both worried and excited about. He’s worried that he’s going to develop into more of a boy, but he also can’t wait until he’s developed into more of a man. A hard contradiction for him to face, but it’s how his life has progressed.

He wants to stay young and cute so that he continue his work as a model, but he also wants to become more manly for Naka. Not just so that he can prove that he should be with her, but because he wants to be able to protect her. Knowing how naïve Naka is, that’s quite the admirable desire.

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Volume 14

Length: 188 pages

Publication Date: December 2009

Volume 14 thoughts:

Umi’s secret is finally out, and things are looking tough for him. While he loved modelling as a female, he knew his time was drawing to a close. Doors are beginning to shut on him because of his secret, because he was deceiving people. While he’d finally been given a chance to be Heki’s (backup) model, he lost the opportunity because he wasn’t being honest about himself.

However, by being willing to be true to himself Umi was given the chance to redeem himself. His path isn’t an easy one, having to overcome the perception others have of him now and their feelings on being lied to for years, but it shows dedication and strength that he’s willing to put the work in in order to reach his goals.

That in and of itself is a lesson that everyone can learn from. Pretending to be something you’re not can only take you so far. If you’re not accomplishing things as yourself you’re not going to be able to excel. It’s best to be true to who you are and push forward with the confidence that you’re the best “you” that you can be.

Also, it’s really cute that Naka thought Umi was going to tell her that he hates her. As if!

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Volume 15

Length:

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Volume 15 thoughts:

Throughout this whole story, Umi and Naka have been willing to chase after each other in order to be there when the other needs them. Even when not needed, they’re willing to chase after the other one just to be there, to be with them. Naka flying all the way to Germany just to tell Umi that she likes him back – and to tell him that he was chosen for the watch advertisement – was adorable. It shows just how far the two of them are willing to go in order to support each other.

I also really appreciate the confidence that Umi has in himself. While Naka is always down on herself and thinks that she doesn’t deserve what’s been given to her, Umi cherishes where he is in life. The contrast between the two is clear as day and makes it possible to showcase each character’s strengths in their own light.

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Volume 16

Length: 188 pages

Publication Date: February 2010

Volume 16 thoughts:

This is a really cute volume to end the series with. It helps tie up the lose ends from throughout the series, but also leaves the story open ended to make it feel like real life. Umi, Naka, and all of their friends worked hard to get where they did in life. While this series is just a tale of some friends in the modelling world coming into their own, it’s a great story full of love and friendships and the dedication to make your dreams come true.

One thought on “Nosatsu (Charming) Junkie by Ryoko Fukuyama Vol. 1 – 16

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