A volume featuring two short stories. Calling You—A lonely pair of high school students begin to psychically communicate through the “cell phones in their heads.” Their connection grows, and they discover that they’re not only separated by distance, but by time, as well. Kids—a story about high school bullying and abuse.
Note: Kiyohara Hiro also did a manga based on the same story.
I think this manga is a clear example of how a bad storyboard can ruin a story.
The manga includes two stories:
Kimi ni Shika Kikoenai (Calling you), a one-shot about two highschool students who communicate psychically through cellphones they created in their minds.
Kizu (Kids), a story organized in two chapters, about a boy who can absorve the wounds of other people.
I have nothing against one-shots, or short mangas. I´ve read really good ones, and there are even some one-shots among my favorite mangas. I also think works should be judged within their genre and kind. Comparing a short and a long manga would be the same as comparing a short story with a novel. There is no use in doing that. But in this particular case, I think there was too much information to convey in such little space. At moments, the story isn´t clear, it´s too rushed, there are many gaps in the storyline, it´s chaotic. I think the art didn´t help either. I found it two "girly" and overly ornamented. The general feeling I got is that it ended up dealing with a deep and moving matter in a very superficial way.
To be true, the feeling I got may be related to the fact that I already knew the stories when I read the manga. When analyzing it, I cannot help but compare it with another version of these two stories, both drawn by Kiyohara Hiro, which are much, much better. They are two separate mangas, with the same titles: Kimi ni Shika Kikoenai, and Kizu. The first one has 5 chapters, the second one 4. They have a much slower pace, the character development is way deeper, the art is simpler, and has a more mature feel to it, which suits this plot better.
This version is just average. The story is still good. Otsu-Ichi´s story is still the same, so I can´t rate it as "bad". The problem is the adaptation.
I highly recommend reading Kiyohara Hiro´s version.
They also adapted Kizu in a shoujo style and I gotta say after reading both manga versions of the two stories, I lean towards the shounen one. Maybe cause I read the shounen first but there were some blaring differences when I compared the two. One of the most notable ones was how they were paced. The shoujo adaptions felt like they were two long one shot mangas with all the story content crammed into the pages with a composition that can only be called messy though its something that is repeatedly used in shoujo mangas. The shounen version paced each story within 5 chapters so there were more a short series than one quick story.
Another thing was its choice in artstlyes. The shoujo adaption used as seen a common style of drawing for shoujo mangas of the late 90s and early 2000s with extremely deformed facial structures, thin lines, super deformed character designs and heavy reliance on tones. This was a poor choice as both story's strongest elements was the mood it created of the existence of such a supernatural connection between two characters was shown in a normal, and mundane world. The shounen version captured this better with a slightly more realistic art style and darker toning overall. Also the shoujo style of the age was best used in light hearted/fluffy series of the comedy and romance genres that did not require the reader to focus too much on the actual settings or scenarios involved but more on the feelings being conveyed by internal monologues and parting images. They treated the stories more like a fantasy of a heart-beating romance between two individuals which doesn't complement the realistic and psychological nature of these stories.
The story of the two mangas in my opinion were interesting but not extremely so. They let the reader find interest in the situations where two individuals find a bond forming through their connection with a supernatural power but nothing greater ever seems to occur. Giving that both stories are short, there isn't much development into the characters beyond the scope of what the plot desires. In Kimi ni Shika Kikoenai, the girl was able to face her flaws and in Kazu the boy was able to get over his emotional baggage but nothing evolves beyond that. I guess you could call those very significant development in character for them but its not enough for us to really become attached to the characters, mainly due to the fact that both series where too short to give us anything else. The small plot twist in Kimi is also pretty predictable from the beginning as the possibility is directly given to the audience and there are an abundant of hints.
Overall I did enjoy the two series but it will probably become a forgettable read over time as they do not leave much of an emotional impact as Otsu-Ichi's other works GOTH or Shissou Holiday.