Sakuya Shiina lives with Kanade, her male cousin and foster parent. In times of pain and sadness, she's always taken comfort in looking up at the stars. One day, a mysterious boy suddenly shows up at Sakuya's house for her birthday. He leaves her with kind words, but she has no idea who he is!
All she has to go on is his name--Chihiro! Not one to let that deter her, she sets out in search of him with the reluctant help of her two best friends, Yuuri and Sei. Everyone says that Sakuya should just forget him, but she's oddly drawn to the curious boy. Then, a twist of fate allows them to meet once more! Will this meeting bring them closer together... or will the feelings between these lone stars remain forever in the dark?
Finally finished reading Hoshi ha Utau, by the infamous Takaya Natsuki of Fruits Basket fame. If you've read that manga (not just watched the anime), you'll understand what I mean.
For 9 volumes it was pretty damn good. Straight-forward shoujo. Then the inevitable Natsuki Twist. Made me seethe with anger until the very last chapter, where it rectified it.
I'm not sure I'm "over it" yet because it essentially cancels out the rage-inducing twist, but at least it ended well.
I guess I'd recommend it if you like some relatively heavy romance. It's slow, almost like Toume Kei pacing,but she's like the exact opposite in which she puts
you under a deluge of thoughts (Toume Kei has a distinct style where hardly any "inner thoughts" are used, making it difficult to understand what people are thinking). If you tire of the standard romance with super bright sun-light main characters you might like it. But there's a lot of emo-ness, as you'd expect from her stuff.
Hoshi wa Utau is a shoujo manga written by Natsuki Takaya, known for Fruits Basket. While Hoshi wa Utau does not really compare to Fruits Basket, it's still a solid shoujo manga that's really worth a read. Spoilers ahead.
The plot isn't anything really new or ground breaking, but it works well enough and is still enjoyable and engaging.
The story is both sad and uplifting at the same time, and Natsuki Takaya manages to balance these elements really well. There was also the twist at the end with Chihiro going back to Tokyo to help Sakura. Although it was obvious that Chihiro and Sakuya
would end up together in the end, I actually thought the story's message would have been more effective if they didn't end up waiting for each other and walking off holding hands into the sunset.
The story's message deals a lot with moving forward, and it would have fit with that message nicely if Sakuya could have accepted that although Chihiro would always hold a special place in her heart, she can't keep waiting for him forever and she needs to move on with her life. It had the potential to be a very true-to-life and touching depiction of first love.
But instead, she doesn't move on at all (She thinks about it for about 10 seconds only to find Chihiro waiting for her) and waits for Chihiro for years until he finally DOES come back. That whole turn of events seemed to kind of contradict the entire message of the manga, although I'm completely not surprised it turned out the way it did. (If it didn't, there'd be a lot more bad reviews of this manga, lol!)
Natsuki Takaya's art is very clean and solid, and her talent with lighting and shadows really shows. In the earlier volumes, the characters were sometimes hard to tell apart, but they become more individual and unique as the manga progresses.
My main problem with the characters is the heroine, Sakuya. She's a very typical shoujo protagonist, and in the early volumes was nearly insufferably bland. She gets a little more development as it goes on, but she's still many times over less interesting than any of the supporting characters.
Luckily, the supporting characters are interesting and dimensional enough to make up for Sakuya. Her friends, Hijiri and Yuuri, are both a ton of fun to watch and I ended up loving both of them a lot. The romance between Hijiri and Saki was really endearing and I enjoyed it a little bit more than Sakuya and Chihiro's, honestly.
Chihiro, while sometimes so angsty to the point of ridiculousness, is an interesting enough love interest. You care about him and really want to see him grow.
Although not perfect, Hoshi wa Utau is a very good shoujo manga with a very uplifting message and some pretty likable characters. If you really enjoy shoujo/romance manga, this is definitely worth your time.
To start, I just need to get this off my chest: The English title drives me crazy. Like, it looks like a mistranslation and very obviously should have been 'Twinkling Stars' or something and nobody caught that?! Anyway...
I'll be honest. I picked this one up because I'm a huge Fruits Basket fan. If I wasn't already in love with Takaya's work, the summary never would have caught my attention enough to buy even the first volume to try it out. But I had faith that there was going to be something deeper, and I think that faith was rewarded. The romance really wasn't what resonated
with me in this story, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm not typically one for romance anyway. And to get that out of the way...
Not the best love story I've ever read. Some touching moments, but something missing overall. To name a few things that really stuck out to me, I think they immediately got off on the wrong foot. The mystery with Chihiro was interesting. And I think that was certainly enough to make Sakuya sufficiently curious to track him down and get to know him better. Especially after he leaves her that night with some really touching words. (Even if he couldn't have possibly understood the effect his words would have on her at the time.) But I definitely think she jumps to the conclusion that she's in love too quickly. And the extent of Chihiro's angst-- especially when we're just getting to know him-- was a little off-putting for me. That romance cliche where a love interest is perfectly normal and pleasant one day and then suddenly comes out with the dramatic 'I hate you' the next? Not a fan in general. Definitely didn't need to see it here. But I will say I think their love story is wrapped up nicely by the end. And the night they share together right before his return to Tokyo did have me genuinely emotional.
That said, I did like all of the characters. (With the exception of the parents, who were all written to be kind of one-note villains.) That was the one thing I was most looking forward to-- Natsuki Takaya's ability to write characters with emotional, dark backstories. And all of the characters did feel fleshed out. More importantly, we get to see them all grow and develop as human beings over the course of the story. I loved the family story between Sakuya and Kanade. I thought the 'twist' with Sakura was predictable, but I did like her character too. And Chihiro played his part well, even if he felt a little bland sometimes. In this regard, all of my expectations were met.
So at the end of it all, I did enjoy this series. I feel like the romance they were aiming for didn't quite hit its mark, but I wasn't really in it for the love story anyway. And if you're a fan of Fruits Basket and all the dark stories and character development it offered, I think you'll enjoy this one as well.
i might be biased since i'm a fan of Natsuki Takaya's previous work which is Fruits Basket...
even so Hoshi Wa Utau does not deliver to a mainstream audience since the plot is quite slow.the intricateness,the drama is thick but the comedy is thin.dont expect the same humour from fruits basket...
i recommend this manga to those who enjoys a slow but meaningful story;that is hoshi wa utau.
perhaps at an earlier stage you might find the characters typical after all the heroine is a typical cute but foolish girl..but as i thread on the story she grew on me,she has so many flaws but her strong will
to live and her love for the stars touched me.
and for the hero of the story which is Aoi Chihiro,aside from him being very good looking and smart and all that,he bears the pain from his past love.which of course leads to the unrequitedness of the story..
but as for me the character Kanade interest me more than the main lead Hero.Kanade or better known as Kana-chan is the one who acts as Saku's guardian.He's quite a grumpy character and i cant wait to learn more about him in the future chapters.
overall it is a good read for me,be patient when reading because the drama starts around chapter 17 or 18..but you might be intrigued by it from chapter four if i'm not mistaken.hope you'll enjoy this manga as i did!