Songs to Make You Smile is a compilation of one-shot manga written and illustrated by Natsuki Takaya, the creator of the popular Fruits Basket shojo manga series. This compilation was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2010. Songs to Make You Smile is rated “T” for teens; after reading this manga, I would agree with this rating.
There are four one-shot stories in this release, as well as a bonus chapter for Tsubasa: Those With Wings (which is another manga series by Natsuki Takaya). All four of the one-shot stories share a theme; they all deal with misunderstanding other people.
The first story is the “title story” for this compilation. A high school boy named Atsushi is misunderstood by his peers, because his face naturally has a mean look to it. A girl named Anzu has been teased since middle school, because the other girls though she looked spacey on purpose in order to attract guys. Atsushi, who is a vocalist and songwriter for a band, knows that Anzu is a fan on their music. He makes it his goal to write a song that will make Anzu smile.
The next story is “Ding Dong.” A teenage girl named Chisato is dealing with her father passing away in a car accident, and is living with the woman who became her stepmother three months before her father’s death. Chisato’s mother died when she was very young, and her father tried raising Chisato by himself. Chisato believes that neither her father nor her stepmother truly loved her.
“Voice of Mine” is the third story in the compilation. A teenager named Shu attends a music school, and is also the son of famous musicians. While Shu is succeeding on his own talents, many of the students believe he rides on his parents’ coattails and has pulled strings in order to get the attention that he does. One day, Shu meets Futaba, a viola student who is being bullied by her upperclassmen. The two of them support each other in their situations.