The story centers on grade schooler Nanoka Koyanagi, who meets a short-tailed cat and three different women as she is out taking a walk. The first woman is Minami, a high schooler whom Nanoka sees has many wounds on her wrist. The second woman is another high schooler, constantly called a "whore" by her classmates. The third woman is an old lady, trying to live out her twilight years in peace.
'Happiness does not walk on its own to you. You have to use your own feet to reach it.'
What is happiness to you?
A simple question, but the number of answers is almost infinite...
This may be a manga that could help you find your own meaning of happiness.
I decided to read this because it was done by the same author and artist involved in 'Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai' (KimiSui). This is based on the novel of the same name.
The story focuses on Nanaka and her interactions with various people as she tries to find the best answer for the meaning of happiness,
a homework set by her teacher.
Mata, Onaji Yume wo Miteita introduces the reader to various forms of happiness. Minami-san, a high school girl who deliberately hurts herself. 'Abazure-san', a mysterious young woman. The old lady who lives alone in a wooden house. All these people have deep regrets in their lives try to rediscover their meaning of happiness along with Nanaka. The manga is very successful in trying to group all these different types of happiness together into one. During Nanaka's journey to find her own answer, the story naturally makes you question your own meaning of happiness and life... As if you're in a dream or under a spell, the story enters your mind and opens its world to you. This is why I really like the title of this manga.
'I Too Saw the Same Dream' is not just a story about happiness. It also presents us with hardships as well. Loss of loves ones, failing to take a chance, giving up on achievement, fear to build courage. These hardships enable us to try to move on, which is why, in a way, they may be essential. Seeing Nanaka witnessing/experiencing these hardships and learning step by step how she might cope/help was a joy to watch. Despite her age, she is such a mature character...
The fact that we have characters who not only live very different lives but also have varying ages is crucial. The views of various people on their own source of happiness highlights the ambiguity of the meaning of happiness. It gives us a picture on how one's meaning of happiness can change over time. Regardless of age, we always long for some form of happiness, even if we sometimes think we've given up. But those who think they are used to living without happiness will never be able to experience it... This is the main lesson I learnt from the story.
Pacing was great. It didn't feel like anything was rushed. However I haven't read the novel so I'm not sure if this is a good adaptation. I'll have to buy it and read it myself. I'll update this section by then.
Predictability is the only major flaw I could find. Until around half-way through the series, I didn't have a clue where this was going to lead. But after a certain point it became more and more obvious what was going to happen.
However I can kind of see that there weren't many options to make the story less obvious, considering the length of this series and the ending. Therefore, if you're someone who wants to read something unpredictable, I wouldn't recommend this.
The art is by the same person who drew KimiSui. So if you want to read a manga with similar art to KimiSui, I suggest you to read this.
Personally I think the art style fits better with this manga instead of the other one because the protagonist is of a lower age here. In KimiSui, the characters looked a bit too young to be considered high school students.
Nanaka is brave, determined and smarter than your average elementary school kid. She simply enjoys life without caring about how others see her. This is especially true when she ignores being isolated by the rest of the class due to her straightforward personality. It was refreshing to see a protagonist who is not a high school student.
Yoru Sumino manages to make Nanaka a mature character whilst still preserving the typical pure innocence you would expect from a child. This is perfectly presented through Nanaka's common lines on the meaning of life: 'Life is like...' By combining various features of daily life from a child's point of view and her broad imagination, we get quotes like these:
'Life is like a lunchbox. Because you can't put everything you want.'
'Life is like a fridge...'
'Life is like pudding...'
'Life is like lunchtime...'
Would an adult be able to say lines like these? Maybe, but I doubt a lot of people could. In the busy society we live today, adults would typically think more about the money side of things and living without any worries. To me this really emphasized how adults and children live in different worlds and view things in a different light.
Minami, 'Abazure-san' and the old lady all have some form of development along with Nanaka. As they give advice and hints to find her answer they also find their own happiness from Nanaka. I won't go into more detail than this because it will easily spoil the story. You will understand when you read it.
Kiryu-kun is a very shy classmate who sits next to Nanaka in class. He gets bullied by a few classmates because of his hobby - drawing. After a certain incident, he does not come to school anymore. Nanaka tries to help him to return, but it is not as easy as she thinks...
I find the reason for Kiryu-kun getting bullied before the incident very weak. I don't think anyone would think drawing is strange, though it might depend on what you are trying to draw, I guess.
'To those who are weary, a sweet and warm story'
This is what was written on the cover of the Korean translation of the novel. I haven't read the novel myself (yet), but this phrase is what led me to read the manga...