Uta, a teenage girl living with her older brother Reiichi and his wife Kaoru, experiences a feeling of great turmoil and unrequited feelings after realizing the fact that she has fell in love with Kaoru. Even after consulting her friend a few times, Uta just can't get the thought of Kaoru out of her head and the consequences that could leave their relationship tumbling towards a dark road.
Follow this grim and occasionally light-hearted coming-of-age story that chronicles the life of an average teenage girl infatuated with her sister-in-law.
This manga is amazing. When I read it, I get the impression that tMnR mind-melded with me when I read Citrus, saw all of the things I disliked about it and set out to write a sister (or rather step-sister, in both cases) story that made everything right again. Even if you're not a part of this mind-meld along with us, Tatoe Todokanu Ito da toshitemo depicts a much different, more serious and more realistic take on the "girl falls in love with her step-sister" premise that is captivating to read.
Our cast of characters this time around consists of Uta, an ordinary high
school girl, and Kaoru, her childhood friend who she was always close with. She marries Uta's brother, Reiichi, and on their wedding day, Uta comes to realize that her feelings for her all those years were feelings of love. The three of them live together as a family, and the story is dependent on the family dynamic from chapter one. Uta and Kaoru's dynamic is so sweet and heart-shaking that it actually made me cry. Multiple times. Uta apparently has a dark past and doesn't feel loved or accepted by her family, not only having left her main family but considering herself a freeloader at Kaoru/Reiichi's place and being always worried that she is just getting in the way, but nevertheless, her love for Kaoru is deep and unconditional. Kaoru is an angel, to the point where honestly, I have trouble thinking of anyone else in any series who I've just ~felt~ for as much as her. You can just feel her desire to make Uta feel loved and welcome, to ease the pain from her past.
The series hits hard and the atmosphere of it is generally dark. The bulk of it so far has been about Uta's angst as she struggles to sort through her feelings, and plenty of other not-so-bright stuff has already happened even though it's currently only on the 11th chapter (and it seems to be gearing up for a medium-length run if I had to guess? I hope it ends up being longer, though). The series does venture off for a little bit into the relationship of Uta's friend, but that isn't even out of place really, since Uta was staying at her place at the time and we see how it ties back into Uta and Kaoru's situation later.
The art style here doesn't stand out too much, but it serves its purpose very well and has sort of a soft, delicate feel to it, particularly the way the characters are drawn. I'm not the best at describing this, or judging artwork in general really, but either way I like it.
Final verdict -- This series needs more attention. I don't have any clue who the mangaka, tMnR is and as far as I'm aware it's her only serialized series at the time of this review, but she has entirely captured my heart with just this one series. This series is on pace for a 10 rating, and I don't fear it'll slow down or lose its spirit (which is what I'm usually the most wary of with series that start off well like this), though expect this review to be edited if it does so. I have went back to reread it even though it is still in progress and it is as good the second time as it was the first time. She knows what she's doing with this story and I want more.
This review is going to try and avoid major spoilers, thank you
So Tatoe Todokanu ito da toshitemo has a concept that basically sounds like it'll be something like Netsuzou trap or Citrus, as any of you who've read the description may already think, BUT it's surprisingly clean and self-aware.
Now for those of you who don't know what Tatoe is about, it's about a senior in High School, Uta, who falls in love with her new Sister-in-law, Kaoru. RED ALERT! RED ALERT! your brains probably thinking, but again, it's not what you think. A lot of the early chapters focus on Uta's conflict over the fact
that she is in love with Kaoru and throughout the story, she's simply trying to move on, which is something we can ALL kind of relate to.
Uta does actually gain a bit more than just being in love with Kaoru as the story moves on, but it's kind of a big thing in-universe.
Uta vents these feelings to her friend, Kuro, whose one of the best characters, just because I kind of agree with her mindset nowadays, Kuro has a very ROBOTIC view on love is the best way to describe it, and I think that's pretty cool.
As for Kaoru, I like her interest in making little things like necklaces to sell, and I am invested in her plot that I'm not going to spoil. I do love her attempts to try to help Uta, and how she's just kind of a sweet girl, but I'm not AS invested in her, as I am with Uta.
I do like these characters, but some of the side character plots can feel a little bland or boring. Though if these plots weren't included, things could feel a bit TOO focused on Uta, so there is an important purpose here, side characters and their plots ARE supposed to add to a story and its universe, after all, it's fine.
Now one thing that definitely helped this story was the art, which is kind of generic but has little details to make it feel more realistic. A fine example of this is Uta's hair. I love Uta's hair, not only the hairstyle she's using but the little details in how it's drawn that make me think it could be real. This series also looks fantastic when you add colour. it's coloured pages just suck me in with how gorgeous they look.
The last thing I want to mention is more personal. I know this review was kind of poorly structured, but I just wanted to talk about it, because after reading it last week I cannot get this series out of my MIND, which is ironic, because I normally wouldn't have been reading it when I was in my usual mindset, but I had read a yuri before this that was just BORING, and I felt for something more exciting instead, and it paid off, because this series has fairly compelling drama.
Since this series isn't complete yet(please give it a North American release so I can buy it), I'm giving it a 9 with a high recommendation.
I read 22 chapters all in one go, and I've got to say that this story flows very well and does a great job at conveying emotions to the reader. Although they have nothing to do with each other, I was reminded of "Kimi no Iru Machi". At times when reading sad parts, I would feel my heart drop and I could feel the sadness coming through the pages to me. Series' that can somehow transmit the feels to you are awesome. And, even though I have pretty much nothing in common with the protagonist, the storytelling is done in a way where I feel
like I understand some of her struggles.
There aren't a whole lot of chapters out yet, but I think this is going to be another series that's going to make you want to cry and eat a tub of ice cream. If you too enjoy doing this, then I would recommend that you give "This Love That Won't Reach" a read.