If you read enough manga (like I do), eventually you’ll come across a series that involves a human woman or girl in a relationship with some sort of mythical being. These stories make for great romances, since you not only have the drama of a romance, but the tension of havnig a human dating an immortal (or at the very least, a being that is not human). Think of these sorts of titles in the same vein as your classic paranormal romance series, but instead of limiting themselves to vampires and werewolves, manga authors will often pair up their heroines with demigods, demons, and dragons, in addition to other mythical creatures. The books on this list all feature a girl or young woman in a relationship with some sort of inhuman being. There’s a range of situations, personalities, and even levels of interest, but in the end, one thing’s for certain–these are some magical romances!
Kamisama Kiss is one of my favorite manga series. Nanami Momozono’s deadbeat father skips town to avoid his debts and leaves her to fend for herself. Soon, Nanami is kicked out of her house wih nowhere to go. After she saves a strange man from a dog, he’s so grateful that he offers her his house, telling her that he no longer needs it, and leaves her with a parting kiss on her forehead when she accepts his offer. But, when Nanami arrives at her new home, she realizes it’s not a house, but a shrine! And that man is the land-god! (Or, rather, he was the land-god). By kissing Nanami, he’s passed on his godhood to her–making her the shrine’s new goddress. Being a high school student was hard enough, but now with prayers to answer, a hot fox familiar who absolutely hates her, and a whole otherworld full of yokai who want to eat her for her powers, what’s a poor girl to do?
Asahi falls into a pond in modern day Japan and wakes up hundreds of years in the past. Unfortunately for her, her red hair and grey eyes attract some unwanted attention and the people sacrifice her to the Water Dragon god as his “bride”. But, something is different this time. While the Water Dragon usually allows his “brides” to drown, Asahi intrigues him and he rescues her, keeping her trapped under water with him and stealing her voice. And then, without warning, he releases her back into the human world. Now, trapped in the past, surrounded by people who fear and distrust her, and followed by a mysterious deity who despite his coldness seems very interested in her, Asahi must learn how to navigate her new life and find a way to return home. The Water Dragon’s Bride is a beautiful, lush story, perfect for readers who are interested not only in the romance and mythology, but in the historical setting, as well.
Tohru Honda’s life is turned upside down by a family tragedy. Forced to live in a tent on someone else’s property, she soon catches the attention of the mysterious Sohma Clan, who are curious about their uninvited new tenant. Fortunately, for her, the Sohma’s are kind and welcoming. Unfortunately for them, Tohru discovers their secret–due to a family curse, any time a member of the family is embraced by someone of the opposite sex (outside of the family) they turn into an animal from the Chinese zodiac. In gratitude for their hospitality, Tohru decides to help the Sohmas break the curse. But, will that be enough to heal the hateful rivalry between Sohma cousins Yuki (the rat) and Kyo (the cat)? Add in everyday high school drama, and a budding love triangle involving Tohru, Yuki, and Kyo, and things become a lot more complicated. Fruits Basket is a classic series and a whole lot of fun.
Life has not been kind to Chise Hatori. The penniless orphan has been passed around from family to family, denied love, treated like garbage, and ultimately abandoned. Finally, in a fit of desperation, Chise decides to sell herself into slavery, believing that at the very least, being a slave to someone will provide her with food and and shelter, if not exactly love. But, she gets the surprise of her life when she’s purchased at auction by Elias Ainsworth, a seven-foot-tall mage with a cow skull for a face. After dropping a huge sum of money for Chise, Elias declares his intention to take her on as an apprentice, as he sees great magical potential in her. As a “sleigh beggy,” she’ll become a powerful witch who can draw magical energy into her body–with limitless potential power. And as though this news was not shocking enough, Elias also announces that she will become his wife. As Chise learns to work with her new magical powers and navigate the strange new world her husband inhabits, she just might discover that her worth is far more than she realized. The Ancient Magus Bride is a sort of Beauty and the Beast tale, with a terrifying man who just might be softer than he appears. Also, I have to say that I have never seen a skull be so expressive before!