In real life, child raising is one of the last things I would ever expect to be doing in the near future. Moreover, I have no experience whatsoever when it comes to children and infants. Many of my friends would be surprised that I would ever even approach a seinen manga on such a subject. Simultaneously, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the manga and felt compelled to write its first review.
Yoningurashi is an extremely light-hearted slice of life manga that centers around the simple life of a wife and husband and their two kids. To be
honest, I am surprised that such a plain manga could even be published. There's nothing particularly interesting or hilarious about their daily lives, yet this manga has a unique charm that makes it altogether satisfying.
The story is quite simple: there is none. It's simply child-rearing between a somewhat dysfunctional couple. Admittedly, this manga is also more unique in this regard; most manga with a similar storyline are focused on the troubles of a single parent or someone who found themselves in odd circumstances that required child-raising. Yoningurashi is a simple and refreshing twist to the overly complicated plots that are often present in this genre.
In hindsight, the art is my only complaint for this manga. The art is extremely simple and barebones. Although there isn't necessarily anything wrong with it, the simplistic art style pushed me away initially. However, the manga does benefit from the art by depicting the children to be quite adorable. Moreover, the childish simplicity of the art is very suitable in comedy scenes involving the children's innocence or naive stubbornness.
Now we get into the meat and bones of the review. The characters of a slice of life genre anime/manga determine whether or not it is enjoyable. In this manga, the characters are not complex nor do they make you scream in their adorableness. The characters in this manga are realistic and pleasing. They appeal to some of the more minor emotions such as nostalgia and content. With their straightforward personalities and realistic attitudes, these are characters that the reader can easily relate to.
And thus, this brings us into the next topic. Usually when it comes to manga, I am a binge reader. I start in the afternoon and read for hours until I finish the series. Typically when it comes to slice of life, I tend to drop the series or avoid them altogether because their is simply not enough to compel me to keep reading.
However, in Yoningurashi, their is a mysterious atmosphere of relaxation and nostalgia that didn't let me tear myself away. The experiences of the two kids reminded me of my own childhood and the two parents revealed to me my own parent's struggles as they tried to raise me. The situations that arise due to childishness made me face-palm, yet I couldn't help but laugh.
Personally, I am not an expert in this genre or area of manga at all. However, the simplicity of the synopsis paired with the relatively enjoyable first chapters made me keep reading this manga. There's no surprises or drama or parts that will leave you dying with laughter. But what it does have, is some sweet and heartfelt moments about a couple raising their children that may make you chuckle along the way. Overall, this is a great manga is you are looking for a slice of life that isn't quite as outrageous about its way of presenting itself.
Just personal scratch.
Advised, possible spoilers.
Opinion & Informal
Looked fine. Proportions and anatomy looked alright. I noticed feet were always drawn sideways, never really showcasing different angles such as diagonal or straight on. I felt that there wasn't that much physical dimensionality to the characters: 3D-ness or roundness; shading and perspective. Basically, pretty simple art and character designs. Not too much in the way of nature or panoramic shots. No impact shots at all. Characters tended to usually face in the same direction which was straight on, usually. Detail was sort of lacking and a lot of closeups were pretty basic. Supporting backgrounds and
extras looked alright.
Panel Progression: 6/10
There were times that I felt a few more panels could have been helpful in making the flow of the chapter clearer. There were some cases where things just "happened" or glossed over quickly. Some events happened just because they were explained in words by the characters; it would have been nice to actually see those events since this is a family-oriented manga. The pacing was usually a bit too fast to appreciate certain events or develop the characters. For example, when the MC mother got a fever and the MC husband made her breakfast in bed, that bit was finished in 2 or 3 pages: She gets a fever, he notices, he makes her breakfast, next event. It would have been nice to develop that atmosphere more and I found that there were a lot of cases like this. There was a good amount of supporting tones and the panel layout was decently thoughtful. No flair in the form of dialogue or panel cutting.
I found it hard to connect to any of the characters or any of their emotions or problems. The MC son quickly began to become annoying as he had the same "gag" or formula for 95% of the manga. The MC daughter honestly showed the largest character development in the story because she actually learned things and expressed her feelings or ideas. The MC dad was either shown raising his voice at his kids, trying to stop their antics, escalating the antics, or yelling at the supporting family's wife; this same formula was constant until the very end of the manga albeit one or two exceptions that weren't pulled off too well in my opinion (what I explained with the breakfast in bed bit). The MC mother's role in the manga was mostly just to express how hard being a parent and having wild kids are. Much of her bits were just personal asides on her commenting how hard it is for her to manage her family. The character dynamics between the members of the main family as well as between the main family and supporting family left much to be desired. The interactions within the main family felt like they were just following a formula and whenever the supporting family became involved, it just devolved into the same gag where the MC husband gets into a yelling fight with the supporting wife: the kids were shafted in almost all these chapters for that boring trope.
Plot & Development: 6/10
Nothing wrong with the plot or its setup. The introductory chapter was abrupt and just went right into the story, but it would have been nice if there was some lead-up at least. I thought the development of the story was okay. It didn't feel too interesting to me because I mentioned earlier that it began to feel like a formula or that many of the same scenarios or gags were recycled. For example, the many of the main son's bits were either going pee/poop or involving the idol-girl, followed by the parents fixing it. There was a variety to the daughter to keep page turning. How can I put this? I picked this manga up because I ended up reading a few other family-oriented things such as Yotsuba&! and For My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat The Demon King. Compared to those, I feel that this manga didn't do a great job in getting me to like or at least sympathize with any of the characters. The character's personalities in this manga felt a bit flat and static. I definitely appreciate the simplicity of their lives and the down-to-earth vibe that this manga was going for, but I just personally feel that the execution wasn't for my tastes.
Appropriate as it set things up for the off-page future. Not much else to say other than that it felt like a very average open-ended towards-the-future ending. I didn't feel motivated or interested to continue on with their journey because I could probably guess it would be the same-old same-old.
This wasn't a bad read, it just wasn't as interesting or "different" like some of the other family-life focused titles I've been reading. The manga didn't try too hard to give the characters any deep personalities or relationships. Once the initial dynamics was introduced, the narrative didn't stray from it at all which ended up making most of the later interactions feel boring or uninspired. Worth reading if you have time to kill as the chapters are pretty short and the overall manga is only about 2 or 3 volumes.