While the slice of life genre is more popular now than ever before, there’s not always a lot of realism among your average moe high school girls. X Diary was probably not intended to stand in contrast to such works, but it still does so. Unfortunately, it showed me that I like my unrealstic SoL.
Our heroes are Mingo, a comic artist, and Jerry, a musician, and they have just broken up. Told in what you probably know as a 4koma style, X Diary follows their daily life as they struggle with this decision and where to go from there. I’ve never been in such a
situation, but nonetheless could relate to the mood of the story – if nothing else, X Diary captures the pace of a busy but dull life quite well. Unfortunately, while that means you will nod along with the story, there’s also very little else going for it. Nothing really happens, not even the gimmicky events like going to the beach that other slices of life boast, so it gets dull quickly.
A similar thing could be said of X Diary’s characters. A good series has characters that one can relate to but are also entertaining; X Diary’s cast only embodies the first of those qualities, as they are very believable in an uninspired way. Unfortunately, the art of the series does very little to help readers enjoy characters: it’s more or less scribbles. The clean scribbles of an artist, but scribbles nonetheless. If this were a friend’s doodles about her past relationship, I would be impressed, but this is a published work, something that’s supposed to tell the readers something solid.
Despite its shortcomings, X Diary is a pretty enjoyable manhwa. The upside to its slow, uneventful story, art, and characters is that nothing gets in the way of it being an ultimately believable work. Still, if art were to always imitate life in this way, I think I’d get bored quickly; X Diary is an interesting quick read if you want something a little bit different and not the least bit flashy, but little else.