The only thing in Tetsuo's mind is art. The beauty, the nature, and the quality of art. One woman watches him handle his art. Her name is Akira. She watches as he constantly tries to draw day after day, and she oversees the completion of his work at a local art exhibition. Akira apparently has become interested in Tetsuo's love for art and his work. One rainy night, Tetsuo notices that Akira left her umbrella and he decides to deliver it to her. He finds her and gives her the umbrella and doesn't use it as he claims that the umbrella isn't his. As Tetsuo leaves, Akira tells him to wait. He turns around and finds Akira bringing her lips towards his... Love has bloomed in the middle of a rainy night.
A wonderfully composed work of art written by Yoshida Motoi. Natsu no Zenjitsu conveys something genuine and pure that transcends this literary genre we call manga and places itself at the level of realism, depicting real life in full form. Essentially this title is a portrayal of two adults, intertwined in an enigmatic romance that's handled with composure and maturity.
When I speak of maturity, I'm not referring to school girl romances you guys think maybe "mature". No, I'm talking about a series dealing with adults and real problems, justified and consented sexual encounters, debacles solved through intellect, and magnificent artistry to boot. Natsu no Zenjitsu isn't some Shoujo tripe series, read for horrendously cliche' romantic stimuli.
In retrospect, Natsu no Zenjitsu is a calming and thought provoking Slice of Life serialization; that doesn't necessarily intend to stress some excessive plot on it's readers. However it does pose something elegant and beautiful that I think everyone can relate to and enjoy. The premise of this title deals with a young artistic who lacks inspiration in his life, one day he find his muse; that being an older women named Akira.
The older women/younger male relational dynamic is handled magnificently throughout the course of this series. There's a definite difference in the level of maturity between the male and female lead; so in that regard, I find it most interesting in the way these characters grow as a couple.
A problem I find with the anime and manga mediums is their lackluster performance in depicting realistic romantic encounters that a male reader would enjoy. The shounen demographic is filled with romcom series containing 'moe' harem members and inept male protagonists with seemingly no redeeming qualities who somehow manage to attract teenage girls at a rate which would make Justin Bieber jealous. Of course the seinen demographic is a better place to look but 'ecchi' is often the order of the day with a fixation on sex often resulting in there being no actual story. As a result I wasn't really expecting a whole lot when I started reading 'Natsu no Zenjitsu', but after the first chapter the series had already broken a number of my preconceived prejudices about romance in manga. NNZ is a skillfully written and nicely drawn series which realistically depicts the ups and downs of a somewhat unconventional adult relationship. Although by no means perfect, this series really excels in its creation of realistic characters who have believable insecurities about their relationships.
Written and drawn by mangaka Yoshida Motoi (author of the deservedly infamous and highly controversial 'Koi Kaze', but don't let this put you off) NNZ narrates the relationship of Tetsuo, an introverted art major in his early twenties and the older gallery employee and art writer Akira. The story is primarily introspective with a strong focus in depicting the thoughts and feelings of Tetsuo and Akira. It is however the story's treatment of the challenges that a relationship between a young man and an older more experienced women can bring which really stand out. Yoshida convincingly and maturely deals with the tension and insecurities each partner feels at the gap in their age. As Akira falls more deeply in love with Tetsuo her anxiety over whether a relationship with a much younger man can really lead anywhere in the long term becomes much more pronounced. Equally the romantically inexperienced Tetsuo can't help but worry that he isn't living up to Akira's expectations. The differences in the way each of the main characters think and the concerns they have show the marked differences in their ages and levels of maturity, which isn't immediately evident through the art. By focusing on the characters and their struggles so strongly the manga maintains interest and makes the reader care about the relationship at a more than superficial level. The pacing of the manga isn't particularly well balanced however. After an initial blitzkrieg at the beginning the romance plot is placed on the back burner with only a cursory treatment for a number of chapters. However this drop in action on the romance front is largely offset by the switch in focus to the development of Tetsuo's character, as the struggle of a young artist serves as a secondary plot driver. Tetsuo's love for art and frustration over his abilities and inspiration define his character and make for an interesting slice of life drama. The story contains a number of useful insights into the difficulty of making a living through art. Another positive is the way the manga develops the supporting characters. Each of the supporting characters are quite interesting and play an important role in the story and the lives of the main characters. The supporting characters are also quite diverse and work well to illuminate the personalities of the mains.
The art is wonderfully drawn, with the character designs particularly well done. Although lacking in detail in long shots the art captures character expression well and compliments the dialogue. All the characters are diversely drawn with real differences in body shape and facial features. I didn't think that the designs for Tetsuo and Akira highlighted their difference in age strongly enough, but this isn't a problem as the age difference is demonstrated more through the way the characters act then the way they look. The background art is nicely drawn however often sparse as the manga makes greater use of many small panels with close ups of the characters over that of large scenery rich panels.
This is a seinen manga series and as such does contain a number of 'H' scenes (despite the absence of an ecchi tag on MAL). Although not excessive they are also by no means limited to one or two occasions either. Unlike other seinen series there frequency does no overshadow the story but complements it quite well, helping the reader appreciate the adult nature of their relationship as well as the difference in the maturity of the characters. In other words the series is a romance drama with some 'H' scenes rather than a 'H' series with some drama. That said the scenes are often explicit and have a tendency to grow progressively more daring as the series progresses. As a result the series is not appropriate for younger readers (although me saying so has probably encouraged more than dissuaded you).
Overall this series is quite enjoyable with strong, interesting characters and nice drawings. I would particularly recommend this series to older guys with an interest in romance, university life and art. So if your looking for a seinen romance which has a bit more depth than this series is worth checking out. read more
Love in the late teen to early midlife certainly had a difference ways to go, if we still called it the same love, as the love is differ with every individual. Here , a young man painter step trough the life with a different perception and value that realistically will held same with every reader that passing or still while reading this , value for the romance they had.
Never one thing could stay the same from the initial, as the whole things will changes during process is held the same way with human live, human love. Leading passive way too will give the same result because, no matter what, there will always be a action reaction in life, no matter how small it is.
Natsu no Zenjitsu trying to convey this to the reader, that life is not that predictable, no matter how you keep it, nurture it, protect it, love it. Yet here, even if it is gone, nothing could stop it and life would still go on as the way it coming from.