Nina's neighbor, Kyousuke, is starting high school while she's still stuck in junior high. Just walking to their nearby schools together isn't enough for her—especially since they keep running into Yuiko: a beautiful, outgoing girl in Kyousuke's grade who also seems to harbor feelings for Nina's next-door neighbor.
First let me begin to say that there is nothing out of the ordinary about the story and you will not regret not reading this story. But, I really wish there was more attention for this shoujo manga. I feel that the little attention it gets is undeserving as the execution of this story is well-done in my opinion.
Like the summary, you could already tell the story is ordinary. Kyousuke is a guy whom Nina crushes on but of course the problem lies with him not being able to reciprocate her feelings and him dating a girl in high school, Yuiko.
I thought, and still
do, that the way Kyousuke was presented was highly realistic. He's been with the heroine for all of his life so when she confesses to him of course he cannot look at her in a 'womanly' way. He knows her flaws, her likes and dislikes already, her past and how she thinks. There's nothing new that he would find from her so that's why he manages to be so comfortable with her and be unromantic. Some people who read this manga will become annoyed or even hate on Kyousuke for that (I did), however, when it comes down to it: wouldn't you agree with his actions? A childhood friend confessing to another childhood friend where they've known each other for all their life cannot just suddenly jump in and be all lovey-dovey towards one another, especially if they have never considered them to be a romantic interest. That's why I like the manga. Kyousuke is a realistic character and he's a likeable guy too. He's nice to everyone, he tries his hardest and he doesn't bully anyone. He makes mistakes and isn't perfect.
That's why Nina likes him in the first place: a perfectly nice guy and he's always been her knight-in-shining-armor and to keep him close to her in that way still she knows that she has to be dating him. When she finds that Yuiko manages to date him she immediately tries to confess instead of muddling in despair. It's nice. She isn't the typical shoujo girl where all she does is cry out her heart and wait for someone to rescue her. Instead, she confronts the problem be the result beneficial towards her or damaging. She is pretty innocent too yet not to the extent where one wonders if she's a real human being.
She doesn't know what a relationship is like and when Kyousuke tries to touch her in a 'romantic' way, she rejects the action. A question that arises is: when you like a person and cannot touch them, what does that mean?
I'm not sure as I've never been in a relationship and neither does Nina get it. I think that Kyosuke saw that she does not know what she's trying to get herself into. After all, this is her first love and that's another realistic aspect to this manga.
What is love? What does the warmth of being beside one mean? What would you do for the person you've known for your whole life who is starting to become out of your grasp? What would you do for someone who's changed yet you still continue to like them, even when they're cold, would you still manage to give them your shoulder?
The questions are answered in this manga, and if you'd like to know then I encourage you to find out. You will not regret venturing. There are times where you want to hit your screen but at the same time you can understand where the other person's annoying personality comes from. *cough*Yuiko*cough*
The feelings that Tonari no Atashi spouts from me is frustration, happiness and sadness. I can understand so many different aspects of the characters in this manga even though I just want to shut out the character and not find out as their actions seem despicable to me. Again, Yuiko I'm looking at you. Of course I'd tell you more about her but let's just leave her as the one who's dating Kyousuke. If you want to know why I dislike her then check out this manga and it's not just because she's in the way of Nina becoming Kyousuke's girlfriend.
Once you understand a person, you cannot whole-heartedly dislike them. Sigh, but hey that's a redeeming quality of this manga.
Again, Tonari no Atashi is not a once-in-a-lifetime manga and can be quite predictable yet it still leaves you gripping and wanting to know more about the fate of Kyousuke's and Nina's relationship. Although, if you're not the type of person who's into drama then this isn't the manga for you.
That probably seems like the most generic line one can say, but most shoujo manga portray love with a pink lens that colors it as sunshine and rainbows. Reality as we know it is that love can be unrequited and bittersweet sometimes. And sometimes what we think is love may just be fondness or obsession. This series takes a unique approach to that, but its real reward is that it gives the reader the ending that they (and the characters) deserve.
Someone perusing for a quick read will see the synopsis and pass this manga over for having a cliché premise. It's true that
there isn't anything particularly original about the plot, but it is the execution of it that makes Tonari no Atashi a rewarding read.
The characters give the initial impression of being simplistic, but the mangaka does a thorough job of gradually adding different facets to each one of them. The relationships between them are layered with numerous conflicts. And while it's not particularly psychological, it will get you thinking. Love isn't just about having certain feelings for a person, a key part of it is timing and effort. Sometimes, even if feelings are mutual, missed timing will eliminate the possibility of a relationship ever existing between two people. This series carries a certain message to it: say what you want to say in the moment, because if you pass it up, you will regret later when the opportunity has passed.
This series is not without its frustrations. The slow pacing at the beginning and the way our protagonist pines after Kyousuke blindly might have you thinking that this is going to go like every other manga of this genre before it. Patience is required to see it through, because it does do a bit of running around in circles around the same problem. But it does eventually find its wings and take flight after the halfway mark.
One of its biggest pros is that it explores the four main characters thoroughly enough that you come to the end with a begrudging acceptance for each of them. Even if you aren't a fan of Yuiko and how vindictive she can be throughout, she has her moments where it's hard not to sympathize with her. No one is completely unlikeable or irredeemable.
The art is adorable, crisp, and clean, but it's not particularly stand-out or creative. In this area, the manga receives average marks for what it is—a bit bland and traditional but nevertheless easy to read and enjoyable.
Although it verges on averages on many points, Tonari no Atashi scales above the rest by at least a hair on account of its solid execution and rewarding conclusion. It's not the most exceptional, life-altering manga with stellar characterization and plot twists, but it delivers more than what it promises in its premise and that's enough to make it well worth the time spent.
Mod Edit: This review may contain spoilers.
Here's the thing about this manga: if you like it, you'll hate the ending. If you hate it, you'll love the ending.
I confess to hate-reading this entire thing, and I'm shocked it paid off. But let me tell you: this is basically 39 chapters of netorare frustration and it is painful. I swear, I almost cried and I don't even like the main guy.
On that. Out of four main characters, three are incredibly unlikable. Kyousuke is probably the one that got to me the most; after our main character admits to being jealous of the new girl he's met
and in love with him, he gives her the cold shoulder and immediately starts dating the girl. And rejecting her in and of itself is not wrong, but he treats her so carelessly that it's as if they weren't even childhood friends. He rejects her with a cold "I can't look at you that way" (with no tone of apology, with no "thank you for your confession, I hope we can still be friends") and comes to her a day later saying "I'm not going to hang out with you anymore. I'm dating the girl you were jealous of." And when the girl he leaves her for - Yuiko - asks him not to see her at all anymore, he tosses away his longtime childhood friend like a day-old sock. Of course over the series, he starts missing her and trying to secretly hang out with her again, but you definitely get the feeling of "too little, too late" and also "how about you pick a fucking girl, asshole."
Yuiko is so evil you almost don't mind it. Whereas you know you're supposed to like Kyousuke, you're not really supposed to with her, so there's nothing to fight against, no reason to shout off rooftops how much you want to murder her ass. But Yuiko is also not really evil; she's manipulative and emotionally unstable, but it's because she's incredibly insecure. And you can tell why she is; her ex-boyfriend severely mistreated her and her new boyfriend - who promised to take care of her and that he liked her - clearly has a lot of unresolved feelings for his next-door neighbor, who has made it painfully clear she likes him. The thing is, though, even though you understand her, her underhanded methods get iritating and tiring after a while. But also, that goes for most of this manga: irritating and tiring.
Nina isn't anywhere near as unlikable as the two I mentioned before, but she is tiring. She's way too desperate for Kyousuke, and when you watch her cling desperately to the guy who treated her like nothing, you really feel like she doesn't know her worth. Her clinging stops right before it gets intolerable, but even as you watch her try to move on as much as she can, you see it's incredibly hard for her and you get frustrated that she's hung up on such a jerk. Personality-wise, she's very standard shoujo, to the point of being overdramatic.
There's another guy who comes in later, but it's much later so I won't say too much about him, other than that he's the stereotypical unrequited-love shoujo character who comes in and makes the guy who rejected the main girl jealous.
So about this series: If I could take the time I spent reading this back and use it to read something else, I probably would, but I'm glad I kept reading this once I was a sizable chunk in instead of dropping it. Honestly, this manga was really hard to read and I hated nearly everybody, but there's something to be said for the fact that I couldn't put it down. I was so engaged I was literally yelling at the characters as I read. I'd recommend this if you can take ntr and unrequited love, but you need to be able to take it while also standing firm against the people who caused the ntr pain.
Also, spoilers for here on out.
You can probably tell this by the fact I like the ending, but she doesn't choose Kyousuke. Just letting you know because I'd hate being 40 chapters in a manga to find out that my guy lost. But let me tell you, being 40 chapters in a manga I expected to hate because a shitty guy was gonna get a happy ending while a good guy was gonna get a bad one and then finding out she chooses the good guy? It saved my fucking life. I believe in humanity again. But damn, was this story frustrating as hell.
Even though i haven't finished the story i find it kinda disappointing. The characters are dumb, i didn't really like them. I couldn't feel close to them. The story is not your "cliché" shojo but it was weird. I couldn't understand why the characters were doing some things, and the creativity was poor, The art was OK.
But it's not so bad and if you like those kind of story it's a good catch.