Fate brings two people who live in the same condo together on a typical afternoon. Ozawa (26) has just broken up with her boyfriend of five years and was in the process of trying to rebuild her life when she meets Oyamada who lives a couple floors below her. He is somewhat of a loner although he does have a few friends and his room is cluttered with all the random stuff that his impulse shopper brother sends him. Ozawa takes an interest with all the things in his room and the two start a friendship that slowly turns into something more.
Moving on a recent relationship breakup sure is hard, even harder if that past relationship had span for quite long period of time and what makes it really hard for a person to erase the bitterness is the way that person still lurks on the past, eventually becoming insecure to what her former lover had become or worst plotting a revenge to that person that broke his/her heart.
But what if you have something to preoccupy yourself with? Perhaps burying yourself under loads of work, breaking sweat on a particular sport or embracing a new hobby--things that could help rehabilitate not only our heart but also our mind.
Now this brings us to the starting premise of this manga....
Bonnouji story revolves around the life of a boy and a girl in their mid-20s who lives in the same condominium. The girl's name is Ozawa, 26-year-old working lady, who had just recently broke up with his 5 years live-in partner. Then she met a boy named Oyamada in the most crucial time in her entire life - the moment she needed to use the bathroom. If you think things will go sticky from here on then you're getting the wrong idea, for his room wasn't filled with tons of porn books but instead, it was decorated with souvenirs, collectible items, figurines and boxes. Yes, you've read it right, boxes and...some more boxes. And what do these boxes contain? Well, that's one of the reasons why you should read this manga.
After she saw Oyamada's bizarre room and opening a box, they chugged down a wine-looking liquid that they got from the box and they got laid... Oh wait! they didn't...instead they talk about how brokenhearted Ozawa is then Oyamada comforted her and that's the start of their friendship. And everyday, driven by curiosity, Ozawa comes to Oyamada's room to unravel what lies inside the boxes.
There aren't many complications and twist in the story, aside from the ones I've already said, for this is just about interactions between characters and eccentric boxes with a hint of romance. Being a quintessential slice of life romcom, the conflict faced by the characters in this manga aren't as grave or heavy as you expect to come out from a story that is rooted from a broken heart. Angst, envy nor extreme sadness are nowhere to be found; in fact, the atmosphere is just light in nature and refreshing. There aren't any absurd dramatic moments nor stupid misunderstandings that are most of the time the reason why usual 'romance' manga stretch out for too long.
The flow of the story is episodic and slow but the slowness is not a bad thing in itself, for it takes it time for the readers to feel their daily life and to make out a bit of development in every chapter. It may look like that only each day are passing by every chapter but in reality, weeks are passing. From time to time, you'll get to read remarks like 'Oyamada-san hasn't been visiting for weeks now', basically that's just that. Also, events are taking place into two places, the condo and Oyamada's working place.
The characters aren't deep; however, you might think that they are very shallow and plain-- not enough to put a spice in the story-- but that just contributes to the charm of this manga which is its simplicity. The girl is in her twenty-six and the boy's age wasn't given but it seems that there is a gap in the age of characters, with the boy being younger one, but isn't really felt with their interactions and there is a potential for romance between the two.
The art is great. Sketchy sometimes but isn't lacking when it comes to background or other details and it fits the atmosphere of Oyamada's somewhat messy round. Also, each character has a trademark look: the main guy wears a glasses and has slightly long hair, and the main girl has a very long black hair. The dialogues aren't misleading too, despite being all over the place some times because of the art, some lines has a small doodle like a face with glasses hinting that the character with glasses, which is the main guy, is speaking.
The girl is 26 but she doesn't really look like one. It could be that my image of a 26-year-old character looks older because of the other manga that I've read that has female girls in their mid-20s or she's just drawn to look young way because she is portraying a cute, either of the two or both.
I enjoyed the entire first volume of the manga and will read some more later. I like how the anime is fun and light that despite having a combination of 'Seinen' and 'Romance' tags, there seems to be little to no sex jokes present. Not that I hate lewd humor but I'm surprise this one manage to get by and give me a few chuckles without being dirty. I did catch myself laughing and smiling on some of its cute moments. Overall it's great.read more
Mangakas of the romance genre often try to spice up their plots by putting their main couple through many dramatic obstacles in their relationships like third party involvement or family affairs, dragging the readers along for a roller coaster ride of heartaches.
Bonnouji has none of this. Nothing really happens. The best way to summarize this is that 2 apartment-mates meet and fall in love. And yet it manages to capture your attention from page 1 all the way to the very end.
Relationships don't need to be spiced up and dramatized. Bonnouji zeroes in on the comedy arising from the awkwardness and trickiness of 2 people falling in love. It reminds us that at the end of it all, love is about companionship, and it is wonderful.
It's a simple read with simple art to match. But don't make the mistake of thinking it lacks depth. Get ready for lots of cringes and chuckles, and loads of warm fuzzy feels. It's truly a manga that'll put a smile on your face :)read more
So while looking for alcohol related manga’s like Bartender, a random person on a chat introduced me to Bonnouji. This may not have been about alcohol but I still fell in love with it. It’s a very simple story about a man and woman falling in love. There is nothing really over the top, no harems for Oyamada to pick from, no really large conflicts or supernatural intervention. After all the anime and manga I have read over the years, I was surprised this was actually a manga (don’t you love sarcasm?).
The characters are very simple, and sadly sometimes a little to simple. Ozawa is rather spacey at times and doesn’t really grow at all though the story. She just goes through her life as a normal business woman, responsible and hard working while trying to get up in the world, but when she is in Bonnouji (Oyamada’s room) she acts like a child. Half the time I didn’t even believe she was almost 30 with how childish she was. Oyamada really wasn’t any better, being carefree pretty much. He would always have fun opening one box after another from the items his brother would send him and living each day as though there was going to be something spectacular in the next box. These two worlds have really different feelings to them, and yet they seem to collide in odd ways as the two get more and more attracted to each other. One would even think, maybe, that Ozawa is only using Zenji to get out of her daily routine and to help her forget her ex. That is a big question to ask and it is one of the main reasons I kept reading the manga, not because of the artwork, but because of the story inside. That to me is the real reason people should be reading manga in the first place.
What bugged me was the fact that there was no good way to judge time at all. The chapters held themselves together well with the stories and playful antics but there was no way to figure out time. They would say it every once in a while that a year has passed, that a couple months passed but it doesn’t tell you out loud. It’s only a small hint.
The art style is pretty sloppy, sort of a mash together of lines but I think it sort of works. What doesn’t work though is how strange the proportions sometimes end up, with squashed heads and large hips at some points. They don’t even look like adults half the time because of the inconsistent way the characters had been drawn. I thought for a while they might have been just teens at a couple points, especially Oyamada. There is a bit of a warning I have to add to this by the way, there are a couple sex scenes (though they are not made to be the main focus) and many mature talks about romance. This is not for younger people. The background goes from highly detailed to almost nothing a lot of the time though I wonder if that is just time frames getting in the way.
This was worth every moment of me reading it and I think everyone needs to at least try to read it at some point if they love romance. read more
I loved this series for a couple reasons, the first of which is that it's lighthearted. There's no major drama, but it focuses on the interactions of the characters in a fun way through their daily lives. The romance never felt forced, and was fun.
The art never stood out as something amazing, but was good. The characters were all distinguishable from each other and the character design was distinct. Where things excelled in the art department was the designs and life of the apartments. The setting was great and it helped to give the series life.
Overall, I loved this series for its characters and how light and easy going it was. Definitely a fun read.read more