Synonyms: Bursting With Impatience, First Love Canon,Liars' Engagement, Lovesick Over My Best Friend, Mental Age Limits, On My Tiptoes in October, Pure Water Adolescence, Summer Nude, Hidden Name, Chatting in our Pajamas
Junsui Adolescence (or Pure Water Adolescence) is a sweet manga about two women in love, a school nurse and a student on the health committee. I feel the need to state that it does not have any sexually explicit material, which is actually very refreshing - this is all about the characters. It's about their emotions, their insecurities, and their baggage.
Now technically, there is another story in addition to the school nurse one, and it's about two best friends that love each other but don't realize it/can't express their feelings for each other. I thought this story was just as good as the first
one, and both stories progressed rather nicely. There's drama because of the age difference between the first two girls in their story, and because of the insecurity and jealousy of one of the best friends in their story. All of this comes to an acceptable end, which I had no problems with. You won't find yourself staring at the last page and re-reading it a million times, but it wraps things up nicely. The worst part about the story is that events can be a bit unclear; I found myself going several pages back on a few occasions, trying to connect the dialogue to what was occurring. That aside, I really enjoyed the story, it was heartwarming and kept me reading for the 8 chapters it lasted. I wouldn't have minded a few more chapters, but that would just be extra, the story is complete as is.
I'm no art critic, nor do I care much about the art in manga, so I'll keep this section short and it won't have much of an impact on my final score. The art is okay, the girls look nice, but not particularly impressive. The scenes are well-drawn and I never found myself distracted by the art, but at the same time, it didn't stick out for me at all. As I mentioned before, certain events are not completely illustrated, leading to a bit of a disconnect between the dialogue and the story. For instance, there's a part in the story where the nurse whispers something to her girlfriend, and gives her something (I won't spoil it). Before this happened, the nurse was talking to another student, who is not drawn during this exchange. The student appears to not hear the exchange or see it, but since the background in the exchange is not clearly drawn, the reader is left to assume that the nurse and her girlfriend left the room, which is apparently the case. But as I read this, I thought: "Huh? Did he see that? Did they just reveal their secret? They look like they're doing this right in front of him!" It's unnecessarily confusing. Okay, that went on longer than expected. Moving forward...
This manga is all about the characters and their romance, so the success or failure of the series is largely dependent on how developed the characters are. Obviously, with only eight chapters and two different stories contained within them, there's a limit to how much we can learn about each character. However, I thought the mangaka did a very good job of making the reader understand the weaknesses of each character and their motivations for making the choices that they've made, not to mention their personalities. The mild drama that develops between the couples is very believable and sincere, and the balance of what each woman wants for herself and what she wants for her partner is well done, providing the reader with a better understanding of the selflessness (or the selfishness, depending on the character) of each woman. By the end of the manga, I felt that I had a decent grasp on the feelings and personality of each of the characters, with the exception of Abi, one of the two best friends in the second story. I think she could have used a bit more development, as the second story was more focused on her best friend Kiiko. Regardless, both stories had strong characters that I actually cared about.
I thoroughly enjoyed this manga. I thought it was very tastefully done, was a real-life scenario (well, the parents don't ever show up, but honestly, I don't think that matters all that much, we only have 8 chapters here), and most of all, had a strong romance that hooked me. Actually, I should say romances - I went into this thinking that there would be only one story, but I got two nice, heartwarming stories that left me with a good feeling and a sense that I had finished reading something worthwhile, at least worthwhile enough that I could write my first review on it. I'm always impressed by short stories like this that manage to win me over; I used to always think that a story needed to be long in order to make me care about the characters. However, stories like this have shown me that this is not the case at all. This is a great example of a short yuri manga that isn't short on plot. It is a delightful read that leaves just as quickly as it came, and at only eight chapters, I can't see why this isn't worth a shot for anyone who likes yuri or wants to at least give it a chance.