Yorozuya Toukaidou Honpo is a manga by Saenagi Ryou, published in Hana to Yume (first edition in 1999). It ended with volume 9, released in 2002.
It's the story of Yoshitsune, 18, who runs a detective agency. He's the only employee though (at the beginning at least). In the first chapter, his client is a model, Kaori, who receives strange letters from a certain "snowman"...
Yorozuya Toukaidou Honpo (Yorozuya for short) stands quite in between the two main manga styles: it has shojo manga and shounen manga elements. Being a detective story manga, it follows the same principle as Ayatsuri Sakon or Yami no Matsuei (or as Detective Conan or any other similar manga I guess, though I haven't read them). The main storyline is constituted by the sucession of criminal cases, there's usually a case by chapter, at least at first, then they last a few chapters (but never a whole volume). Also, unlike most shojo manga, there isn't really a love story (I've only noticed a little one so far).
If you don't like blood, don't be scared there's almost nothing here. The cases don't concern murders but strange and unusual events.
Aesthecially speaking, Yorozuya is nice (of course, I wouldn't have bought it!). The pictures are quite clear (landscapes and characters), the composition of pages is shojolike (rather free) without falling into absolute chaos. The character art style reminds me of both Murakami Maki (Gravitation) and Yuki Kaori (Tenshi Kinryoku). Sometimes faces are maybe a little too angular, but it improves with each volume.
I really like Saenagi-sensei's coloring. With a mix of bright colors and pastel shades, her illustrations are very lively and dynamic. It can seem quite inappropriate for a detective manga, since it usually involves murders etc... and the colors generally used are dark shades. But here it adds a little joyful tone which is also present in the stories themselves.
To get a better idea of the art, have a look at KonekoTachi.
Yoshitsune is Yorozuya Toukaidou Honpo's hero. He's 18, and recently became an orphan, when his parents died in a fire. Since then, he has nightmares and is scared of any kind of fire.
His father was a inspector and Yoshitsune seems to have learnt his job from him. It must also be what pushed him to run his own detective agency. He takes his job very seriously.
Yoshitsune looks like Shuichi from Gravitation: same kind of hair and face, and sometimes similar reactions: he moves a lot when excited or angry. Yet most of the time he's rather quiet.
Kaori is Yoshitsune's first person to ask his help in the manga. He's only 16 O.o and is a professional model.
Don't you think he really looks like Yuki Eiri from Gravitation? Except that Kaori has long hair... Yet he behaves more like Hiro from the same manga. He's a cool guy who cares a lot for others, and he'll make friend with Yoshitsune very quickly (and won't quit him! lol!). Kaori helps Yoshitsune in a way too, with their newly-born friendship.
You will also see that he can totally change his character, but there's a reason though...
*spoiler for chapter 4*
Like Kyou, APP is the result of double personality troubles. In the beginning, APP was the main character of a novel which passionates Hyuuga Shuuhei. Then Shuuhei decided to 'become' his idol. Why? Because APP is Shuuhei's exact contrary: APP is daring, strong, and self-confident, he's the kind of man Shuuhei would like to be. Still both are so different that they can't merge: Shuuhei flees his own personality performing as APP. He's a pretty complicated character on that point. ^^;
Don't steal the translations to put them on your site without my consent. You can save them on your disk though. :)
I discovered two days ago that there's a Yorozuya Toukaidou Honpo Drama CD! It was releazed some time ago, and it seems it covers the chapters from volume 1. I've found the names of the seiyuu doing it, they were written in kanji but here's what I've recognized:
Yoshitsune's voice is done by Ishida Akira. Yagami Yukinobu is played by Koyasu Takehito (yaaaaaaaay! It's a shame we should hear him only in the first story!). APP (you'll know who this character is later, but he's the long-haired guy in the red and black suit on the picture on the top of this page) has Okiayu Ryoutarou's voice (one of my fave seiyuu! he played Crawford in Weiss Kreuz, K in Gravitation, Shigure in Fruits Basket etc... ^.^)!!! Takagi Wataru did Atsushi's voice, and I couldn't find the seiyuu who played Kaori (I only know his name is Chiba).
You can find more informations on Japanese pages, and you can even download samples on the Hana to Yume official site! ^_____^
(05.22.2002)A second Yorozuya Drama CD is coming out this month! More exactly in two days, on May the 24th!