Tokimeki Tonight Library

History

Tokimeki Tonight was serialized in the shōjo manga magazine Ribon between 1982 and 1994, with a concluding chapter being published in 1999. It's a comedic fantasy epic about three generations of heroines: Etō Ranze, the daughter of a werewolf and a vampire; Ichihashi Narumi, the girlfriend of Ranze's brother Rinze; and Aira, Ranze's daughter.

special anime issue 1 from November 1982 special anime issue 2 from February 1983
Anime special issues from 1982 and 1983

The manga is notable for being created with the purpose of "media mix", i.e. it was already decided before the serialization that a TV anime version was going to be produced and broadcast along with the manga. (This is also how Sailor Moon originally came to be.) However, the manga became so successful that it continued long after the anime concluded, and it was one of the top series in Ribon for its decade-long run.

It is believed that the manga has sold more than 28 million copies, although this estimate is from 2006, before the release of the revised edition (2011-2012) and the ebook edition (2013), which must surely have pushed the number higher. It is one of the top-selling, most beloved shōjo manga in history!

Please see below for more historical information about the series, and the individual pages for the heroines (Ranze, Narumi, and Aira) for details about plot and characters. The rest of the site deals with the various biproducts to the series, such as the anime, a fanbook, various spin-offs, and so on, and also contains a collection of color pages and furoku.

Timeline

mm.yyyy

Event

06.1982Tokimeki Tonight begins serialization in Ribon (July issue), with what would later become known as the Ranze arc
10.1982Tokimeki Tonight anime begins airing on Nippon Television
09.1983The anime ends with 34 episodes broadcast
04.1987Ranze arc concludes (May issue)
08.1987A side story featuring Ranze is published in Ribon (September issue)
11.1987A side story featuring Ranze is published in Ribon (December issue)
01.1988Serialization of the Narumi arc begins in Ribon (February issue)
05.1990Narumi arc concludes (June issue)
07.1990First part of Futaba side story is published in Ribon (August issue)
08.1990Futaba side story concludes (September issue)
06.1991Serialization of the Aira arc begins in Ribon (July issue)
09.1994Aira arc concludes (October issue)
10.1999The concluding chapter of Tokimeki Tonight, Hoshi no yukue, is published in an autumn extra issue of Ribon "aki no bikkuri zōkango"
10.2000Romantic Album fanbook is published
2002Tokimeki Midnight, a spin-off to Tokimeki Tonight, begins serialization in Cookie and Cookie BOX (early spring issue)
03.2009Tokimeki Midnight concludes in Cookie BOX (spring issue)
07.2009Itsumo tokimeite sequel to Tokimeki Tonight is published in Cookie (September issue)
08.2009Itsumo tokimeite sequel to Tokimeki Midnight is published in Cookie (October issue)
08.2013Makabe Shun no jijyō, a collection of side stories to Tokimeki Tonight, is published as a tankōbon
04.2015Etō Mōri no kakekochi, a second collection of side stories, is published as a tankōbon

Note: Japanese magazines go on sale weeks or even months before the official publication date, so a July issue of Ribon magazine always goes on sale in early June, and so on.

Historical background

The early 80s, when Tokimeki began serialization, is considered a turning point in the history of Ribon magazine. During the 1970s Ribon had marked itself as a leading shōjo manga magazine, with dramatic hit series by Ichijō Yukari (Designer, Suna no shiro), influential comedies (Kinoko ♥ Kinoko, Watashi wa shijimi!), and the "Otome-tique" movement (Mutsu A-ko, Tatekake Hideoko, Tabuchi Yumiko) broadening the magazine's appeal to a much bigger audience than before, making it popular among high school and even university students, as well as male readers.

furoku by Mutsu A-ko and Tachikake Hideko furoku by Tabuchi Yumiko
Examples of "fancy" furoku from Ribon (Shōjo Magazines Furoku Collection)

The furoku that came with Ribon at this time were also considered influential, and books such as 2007's definitive Shōjo Magazines Furoku Collection spend a significant number of pages on the "fancy goods" style* paper stationary furoku by the Otome-tique artists of the time. These furoku were highly fashionable, and helped mark Ribon as a magazine worthy of being read by fashion-conscious high school girls.

* "Fancy goods" is a Japanese term describing merchandise such as those created by Sanrio, particularly in the 70s and 80s. "Fancy shops" selling these goods were all the rage.

Many of the new artists who made their debut at this time, including Ikeno, show influences of the Otome-tique movement. But by the time that Tokimeki had become popular, the magazine's tone had changed almost completely: Tokimeki itself was a comedic fantasy series featuring middle schoolers, not anything like the dramatic love stories between adults that Ichijō Yukari preferred to write, or the atmospheric and fashionable slice-of-life stories about high school and university students that the Otome-tique writers favored. The other hit series at the time, Honda Keiko's Tsuki no yoru, hoshi no asa, was also about middle schoolers, and featured a more "wish fulfilment" type of story about a girl who is pretty and smart and excels at sports, with whom all the boys fall in love, and who just happens to be cast as the heroine in a major movie although she didn't work for it, and so on.

Ribon magazine cover
Ribon issue with Tsuki no yoru, hoshi no asa and Tokimeki Tonight as the two top series on the cover

Historically speaking, Ribon is considered to have "degressed" at the start of the 80s -- from a magazine that even adults could enjoy, to a magazine that "merely" contained manga intended for its original target demographic (young girls). This trend continued into the 90s, when many of the protagonist became grader schoolers (Kodocha, Akazukin Chacha, Aira arc of Tokemeki) and many of the manga were "magical girls" series (Hime-chan no ribbon, Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, Diamond Pink).

Whether you agree with the assessment that Ribon has become "worse" since the 70s, I suppose, is a matter of taste and perspective. But looking at the historical context of shōjo manga magazines at the turn of the 80s, I do believe the shift in tone and audiences was intentional: while Ribon had a circulation of 1,3 million in the late 70s, Nakayoshi was the leading magazine at the time with 1,8 million, largely influenced by the explosive popularity of the Candy Candy anime and manga. Candy Candy is a sprawling epic in the tradition of classic English-language children's literature (Anne of Green Gables, Daddy-Long-Legs, and Alcott have all been cited as inspiration for Candy Candy), and very much targeted at a grade and middle school audience. Ribon and Nakayoshi have been competitors since they were first published in the 1950s, so you often see parallels in the editorial directions taken by the two magazines through the years. The magical girls series in 90s Ribon, for example, were clearly inspired by Nakayoshi's Sailor Moon.

And the numbers tell us the editorial direction was a success: by the end of the 80s Ribon had a circulation of two million, and in 1994, it broke an all-time record for shōjo magazines with 2,55 million. All of this history of Ribon coincides with the serialization of Tokimeki, and probably also plays a part in why Tokimeki is still popular today: aside the fact that it's a very, very good manga, it was also read by literally millions of people and was serialized at a point in time when Ribon just kept getting bigger and bigger, even becoming a cultural institution: when Japanese adults think of "leading shōjo manga magazine", they think "Ribon", even though Ribon has long been surpassed by Shogakukan's Ciao in regards to circulation.