Known for the acclaimed "Oyasumi Punpun" and "Solanin", Asano Inio has established his talent with both imagery and the written word. His stories are most noticeable for their oppressive and perpetual sense of melancholy, and "Umibe no Onnanoko" is certainly no exception.
Umibe no Onnanoko (lit. Girl of the Sea) is a brief tale of two teenagers' sexual frustration. Where most anime and manga draw the line at a simple kiss or confession, Umibe no Onnanoko starts its first chapter with a sexual encounter. There is no build-up, no confession: the two just decide to share their loneliness by having sex with one another. It is
not a story based in the ideals of romance; Asano knows that the real world is not quite so innocent.
Following the experiences of Isobe and his long-term crush, Koume, the story quickly falls into one of despair and misanthropy. Koume was betrayed (a truth she does not want to admit to herself) by her previous boyfriend, used as a source of sexual pleasure rather than being loved and cherished as the kind-hearted person she is (or was). She knows that Isobe has feelings for her and soon finds herself exploiting his feelings to make herself feel like she is appreciated. She does believe another person would ever love her for her personality, so she uses the only thing she is a certain a boy would love: her body.
Unsurprisingly, things do not turn out well for the two. Isobe has his feelings betrayed and sees the girl he once loved exposed as a fake, manipulative nymphomaniac. His ideals of love and romance are destroyed in front of his eyes. He grows to hate Koume for it and devolves from an innocent boy into a depressed, hateful misanthrope. Eventually he does not even want physical intimacy with another person.
What is most appealing about the story is how natural it all feels. Everyone (well... nearly everyone) has known what it is like to be rejected or lied to by somebody they love. Sex is a natural part of an intimate relationship and sometimes it is not always a romantic experience. It can be heart-breaking, painful and even empty.
Asano uses dialogue well throughout the manga. Like its portrayal of sex, the conversations between the characters feel authentic. Teenagers curse with their friends and gossip about how big a girl's breasts are or how hot a certain boy is. There is none of the 'idiot friend' or harem set-ups common in anime. When two characters talk to one another, it feels like something a real person would say. This allows the reader to empathise with the story around them, but also brings something much more relevant: emotional resonance. There is a powerful scene where Koume asks Isobe what kind of person he doesn't hate (owing to his blatant misanthropy), and he simply responds with "Kind people." Everything the story had been buildings towards was encapsulated in those two words of text.
There is also a bit of side-story about Isobe's deceased brother, but it mainly exists to develop Isobe's character rather than simply existing as a distraction from the overlying story. The story is focused, and thankfully, given its short two-volume length. There is plenty of dialogue between background characters as well, which expresses that the world around the two main characters is alive and moving. They inhabit the world but they are not the world itself. They are just two dirty cogs cycling their way around an infinite world.
The artwork of Umibe no Onnanoko is beautiful, though that should come as no surprise given the author. Each character is given life and emotion in their facial expression, including even the background characters who appear for just one or two panels. There is no scene that feels lazy. There are even gorgeous, intoxicating scenery shots spread throughout each chapter (much like what is found in Oyasumi Punpun), though they are never there to take the reader's attention away from the story. Asano Inio is surely one of the best mangaka when it comes to putting images to paper, but he never neglects the story in favour of glitter and glamour. He conveys both the beauty and anxiety of life in his imagery.
If there is one major criticism to be had, it is that the ending feels abrupt. The characters had been steadily falling downwards and downwards, so far down that it seemed they would never be able to get out of their mess. And then they suddenly forget all their troubles and decide to live for the better. I suppose it could simply be rationalised as human beings being whimsical creatures, but it did feel lacking compared to the endings of some of Asano's other works. No doubt he could have expressed himself better.
Umibe no Onnanoko is not always a pleasant manga to read. It challenges the reader's perception of sexuality, romance and sincerity. The two main characters and the world that surrounds them are deeply flawed, imperfect existences. It is less concerned with ideals and more with providing a believable setting that the reader can understand and empathise with. All human beings need a healthy dose of escapism from time to time, but stories such as this are just as necessary.
It will not change anyone's beliefs, and while it is hardly a 'fun time', it is difficult to come out of reading Umibe no Onnanoko without the feeling that something a little bit more meaningful was gained.
Umibe No Onnanoko is quite possibly the worst piece of literature that my hands have touched in the past decade.
Now to be fair, I knew absolutely nothing about this manga prior to buying it. Perhaps I should have done my research. When the first sex scene came by I was surprised because, again, I knew literally nothing about the manga. But it was fine. Sex scenes aren't that bad right? I'm sure they have meaning. Oh look another sex scene. And another one. Another one. Another one. Dj khaled can't save me here this book is literally sex and bad story telling.
The actual story
is quite ridiculous and while the characters hold resemblance to what real teenagers feel at certain times- how they act as a whole is entirely exaggerated and unrealistic. You'd think that the author is a dinosaur based on their interpretation of teenager relationships. Yeah yeah, maybe I was the only teenager in highschool to not have sex every 5 minutes, but to be fair their rampant sexual behavior isn't the only problem. These kids are assholes to each other and its a wonder why any of them interact with each other.
The only reason I recommend you to pick up this manga is if you want to watch teenagers have sex. Well.. that's actually a pretty sketchy reason to pick this one up. I found no redeeming qualities in this book- no deep symbolism (wow people get sexually frustrated 2deep4me) and in general this was a bad and awkward read.
This is basically porn- bad story and characters but okay sex scenes.
After completing the first volume of A Gril by the Sea, (or Umibe no Onnanoko) I can say that Inio Asano has done it again. The main character of the story is a girl named Koume Sato, who experiences the ups and downs of relationships, mostly downs, with Inio brilliantly showing readers what emotions come with it. Just like every other manga by Inio Asano, reading A Girl by the Sea is an experience all its own; unique, heart tantalizing, comedic, and enjoyable. I gave this manga a 10/10 across the board because I believe that the story is excellent, the art
enhances the characters by portraying beautiful scenes that fit the mood said characters, and the characters themselves are interesting and are what gives this manga, in my opinion, the qualities to become Inio's best manga, possibly surpassing oyasumi punpun in the future.(POSSIBLY) The best part about the story, art, and characters are how they are all put together perfectly by Inio, leaving it impossible for me to give this less than an overall 10/10.
To a certain extent, all great artists are broken, in that finding something deficient in the material world, they seek to envelop themselves in the gaudy film of imagination. One of the traits of being broken is overwhelming sincerity. When loosened with the function of developing an exterior persona, comes the great gushing forth of black heinous bile, because much of life is raking through black heinous bile to find the glistening gems of Beauty and Meaning, and the Artist is the strange depraved entity who would rather seek to make Meaning and Beauty through sculpting the bile itself rather than dig like all others.
Well that’s not to say that the Artist can’t dig, but that he finds interest in globbing together various blotches and shades of brown and black in his spare time rather than follow into the process of unmitigated digging.
Sincerity, as an aspect of writing, is a very strange thing to grasp, because it involves the meeting of two completely subjective solipsistic souls somehow, in all the tempest, fog and rain, seeking each other through a few slight glimpses of clarity. Perception of Truth and Falsity are unequally distributed in the whole conglomerate of humanity, which makes one person’s Catcher in the Rye become another person’s pretentious overrated pile of shit. Much less, developing a ‘style of Sincerity’ is a completely ludicrous idea, given that if we accept the vast differences between human beings, we can’t foresee how anyone could even begin to develop a style that somehow gels with a large enough percentage of souls in the world that one could call it a ‘style’ in the first place, because style implies that the form has been crystallized through a continuous development, and the ‘style’ of an author is hardly developed in a single book.
Yet somehow Inio Asano, like Salinger, like David Foster Wallace, like Chris Ware, like Robert Crumb, like Hideaki Anno and like Charlie Kaufmann, has developed a cohesive aesthetic of Sincerity. Actually it’s a testament to the universality of Modern Ennui and Alienation that so many souls could feel so dreadfully and unspeakably disjunct from their souls that enough people actually appreciate a ‘style’ of Sincerity provided it comes from the context of modernized loneliness and despair, which is where much of the above mentioned authors write from. You could never conceive of this sort of Literature or Art in the ancient times when people lived in such drastically different contexts and had such separate lives. Most likely too, anyone who has not lived in a sufficiently developed and Modernized city would not be able to understand the aesthetics of Sincerity.
But the other thing that actually makes these artists and authors, well, Great Creators, in the first place, is that while coming in from a unified context, each brings their own innovations to the table. For Salinger it’s his unnervingly witty and powerful conversational style, for Ware it’s his absolutely clean and powerful grasp of the medium of comics, for Kaufmann it’s his twisted humor, for Crumb it’s his ludicrous and great anger towards society that spills over in all his weird cartoon depictions.
Inio Asano is a grand traditionalist (like how I’m aiming for a ‘traditional’ formal analysis here instead of a philosophical or a half-prose experimental analysis) in that his works are grand based on the power of formal content alone. That’s not to say that he isn’t ‘experimental’, but that unlike Ware, who experiments with form over content, Asano’s weirdness and off-key Surrealism takes place within the context and boundaries of the work, rather than stabbing the frame in the so-famous meta-fictional techniques of the postmodernists. Umibe no Onnanoko especially, is a through and through traditional work that aims at that very old and outdated concept of Beauty in detailed and distinct representation. While Punpun may have widespread moments where Asano cartoonizes, expressionizes or satirizes with a subversion of content, the form is never really broken. Panels are still placed normally without any form of ingenuity like that of Watchmen’s symmetrical placement or that of Ware’s complete destruction and manipulation of panels altogether.
But in terms of everything inside the frame, Asano has free reign. Following the tradition of Japanese atmosphere building, the very first chapter already builds up with a series of aspect-aspect shots of different parts of a seaside town, with a gradual buildup of dialogue bubbles spaced in this sceneristic void. The shots are all profoundly empty. The first appearance of Koume is effaced by the speech bubble. Below that frame, both Koume and Isobe’s heads are cut off (chapter 1 pg 6). The beginning scene is already rife with displacement and a lack.
Of course the aesthetics of Sincerity are mainly manifest in the ‘reality’ of the interactions and the dialogue. For a novelist this is easier because novels, no matter how much people want to deny this fact, are still at the bottom all Tell and no Show. The highly conversational Literature of Salinger and Foster Wallace make use of description, rhythm and psychology to weave up a tapestry of human conflict and emotion. Asano understands this and so likes to break up his works sometimes with textual interjections. Punpun was noteworthy in that one of the textual interjections was so massive that it had to take up the whole front and back cover of Volume 9. Chris Ware is the king of manipulating image and textual interjection and can lace his works with all sorts of literariness through the rigor of his placement. Since Asano is still firmly traditional in his framing (considering too that he’s writing more for a manga magazine rather than, like Ware, making her own entire book) he can’t control it as well as Ware so he has to use it sparsely. Yet, in that chapter 1 interjection, you can almost feel the ASMR-y whispering of a young girl in your head. (“Burnt out fireworks, seaweed, a child’s hat blown off by the wind” chapter 1 pg 7 Sparseness of imagery for poetic effect is especially prevalent in Japanese literature, most notably with the very tight flash fiction and stories of Kawabata and the whole tradition of Haiku)
Asano’s poetics of Sincerity are based around two things. The first is the willingness to depict the extraneous moments and actions of life. This means that the people in an Asano manga will talk about all sorts of things completely unrelated to the current story, as well as (going by the English translation) all the strange cuttings and meanderings of real conversation. Also because his style is more detailed and realistically oriented (closer to Real than Symbol in McCloud’s Big Triangle) he can pull off all the facial nuances of his characters. So when in the first chapter Isobe tries to kiss Koume, not only do their stances alone emphasize the awkwardness, but her arms drawing backwards, and the slight upwards crease of her lip to indicate a slight displeasure, and then turning her head away to fend off his advance, are all manifested in an absolutely small 3 panel moment-moment exchange (chapter 1 pg 14). Characters also make all kinds of references to Japanese media and talk about small things.
The second is in the impressionistic framing. Like a Roeg film, Asano will not really draw a linear line of events but make a psychological landscape. So when Koume realizes she’s menstruating (chapter 1 pg 21), the frame cuts to a parallel imagined image of Isobe naked, then cuts to a first person view of her looking at her bloody underwear, then cuts to the moment where she makes her move on Isobe, but then will draw back to a different point in their ordinary class life. For Asano it’s all in the details, not just in the big moments, but in the small. So when Koume talks about a date with Misaki, Asano will cut to a small brief picture of Kashima eyeing her out of the corner of his manga (chapter 1 pg 23), and the next frame doubles as both a point of view shot of Kashima voyeuristically viewing Koume’s body, as well as a displacing Koume’s face in awkwardness when she tries to defend Misaki from her friends. Then when Kashima interjects into Koume’s talk, he’s shown upside down to emphasize his playfulness, while her frame is diminished to show her being embarrassed by his interjection, only to enlarge again when she notices Isobe is taking notice of her. Awkwardness, mood, and mental state are all manifest in the placement of the frames alone.
You could say that Umibe no Onnanoko is ‘cinematic’ but there are still things that could only be done through manga alone. So in the same way the teachers in Punpun are exaggerated comically, Asano also exaggerates Misaki with manga specific traits (chapter 1 pg 26), like onomatopoeia. Yet this is still, like Solanin, the more ‘cinematic’ of his works.
Now to get to that very dark dusky vulgar area of sexuality. When you translate the pitch perfect composition of Asano over to the sex scenes, what you get is extremely high voyeuristic sensuality. Asano mixes up the points of view and frames to really subjectivize the experience of sex in a way that makes you feel like you’re really looking straight into the base primality, awkwardness and fluttering excitement of two souls trying to unite in the physical realm. Yet she can just as easily cut back to make the moment seem like an empty endeavor, to rehighlight the theme of whether love and sexuality are distinct, or whether a person can indulge in base pleasure completely cut away from connection altogether. The whole crux of the book is the sex scenes solely because these depict the pushing and pulling away of Isobe and Koume from each other. So the first scene is awkward, while the second scene is more detachment and comical because of the location and later it vacillates between sex done out of vacuous boredom and brief enjoyment to aggressive sensuality as the emotions between the two characters also go through ups and downs. Like one of the scenes (chapter 7 page 5) completely effaces the facial expressions altogether and while the scene itself is a brief montage of parts, the real connection comes with Koume and Isobe talking idly after the moment, in a scene that floats through their closed eyes and half tired faces, dreamily floating over their bodies and then pulling backwards into a shot of the city.
Asano is a true example of how far mastery of the form can get you. How much more real your characters become when your composition is a perfect mirror with the feelings of your character. These two volumes, and all of Asano’s works, deserves to be studied by any comic artist who wants to make it out there in the world and go beyond the ordinary and the banal to create really powerful art.
I'm writing this review completely fresh, having finished A girl on the shore just a couple of minuets ago, and it left such an impact on me that I felt I had to come straight to MAL and write my first review in over 3 years. Not because this was such a thought provoking or inspiring work that I felt I simply needed to tell everyone to read it as fast as I could, no quite the opposite, I feel as if this is one of the most DISAPPOINTING Manga's/Anime's I've had the displeasure of watching/reading. I honestly can not believe this is written by
the same author of Solanin, which I love to death even though it did have it's problems. "A Girl on the Shore" is nothing but problems however. Where do I even start?
Well I guess I'll start on a high note and say that the art is average. Scenes are well drawn and detailed, however (and this is a problem I have with all of Inio Asano's works) the faces -specifically the eyes- give me a weird uncanny valley feeling. So that's the best thing I can say about this manga. Buckle up because now we 'bout to get super negative.
The plot could not be any.... you know what I can't even finish this sentence because too many negative adjectives come to mind. It's all over the place, it has abysmal pacing, terrible direction, and even though a lot does happen, the plot never, ever, EVER, feels like it's going anywhere. I never felt like tension was building, or any conflict was moving the plot forward. If I didn't know any better I'd say that the plot only existed as a vehicle to move the 'story' between the sex scenes.
Oh yeah, the sex scenes.
There are sex scenes. So be prepared for that, because I certainly wasn't. Now I am no prude, and I am not one to just turn my eyes the second something edgy or challenging get's presented to me, but this manga was just too much. I don't want to spoil, but there are some sex related scenes that just serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever and only seem to be in there to shock you. If the blurb for this manga makes you think its a traditional romance, well it isn't, so if that's what you want, look elsewhere.
Now then, the worst part, the characters. Again, the only other work I've read by this author was Solanin, which had (in my opinion at least) EXTREMELY well done and realistic characters who where all relate-able in one way or another. "A Girl on the Shore" however, is the complete opposite. Absolutely none of the characters left an impact on me in any way shape or form. I don't remember a single name, and like I said in my first paragraph, I literally JUST finished this manga. Not only are they not relate-able or memorable, they aren't even LIKE-ABLE. A bad story can really be saved by good characters, but in this case the characters drag the story down EVEN further. EVERYONE is an asshole. EVERYONE. Everyone treats everyone like shit, so you don't root for anyone, so you don't care about anyone, so you just start speed reading to get this fucking drag of a book over with. It isn't like the twists near the end are unpredictable. Fucking hell you know the ending word for word by the 5th god damn page. This is not realistic character depiction Inio! No one acts like this even in middle school!
Overall, all I can say is do not fucking buy this. It's a waste of money and a waste of paper. My heart goes out the the tree that had to die just so it could produce this fucking mess. Even reading online is a waste of time, and if it's porn you're after, well buddy if you haven't heard you can find tons of it for free without a fucking tragically retarded story blocking everything. I'll be honest though, near the middle of the book there are 1 or 2 moments that had me thinking "My god is this finally going somewhere". But obviously no, it went right back to being shit. It gets one point added to it just because it fucking trolled me. It's safe to say that I'll continue to cherish Solanin, forget this exists, and never take a chance on Inio Asano again.
I feel as though Umibe no Onnanoko falls into the same pitfall of nearly every other story that tries to depict teenage romance/sexuality as something deeper than it actually is. Similarly to others, it lacks self-awareness required to properly tell these stories, and it aims straight to the 'punch in the gut' or 'shock value' to hold its narrative afloat. It's purposefully ambiguous, but, beneath that ambiguity lies absolutely nothing. It's a conservative layer atop that's trying to hide what lies beneath, but once you pull the curtain back, you realize that there's nothing there.
Greatest fault with Umibe no Onnanoko lies with the fact
that it's trying to add more flavor/depth to the teenage angst than there is. In reality, teenage angst is just teenage angst. Sexually frustrated 14y old kids are everywhere, and part of fun in reading stories like these is remembering what it used to be like and comparing. Because, in the end, Umibe no Onnanoko is a journey of two sexually frustrated teenagers being assholes to one another, period. There's no flavor of depth anywhere to be found, and even bothering to mask its potential complexities is just a waste of time.
Narrative in UnO is broken. Structurally, it doesn't work. It attempts to be more than slice of life story but fails because there's no lingering trace throughout its chapters. Early chapters just feel as an excuse to see two characters have sex and nothing more. Everything about them is purposefully obscured, but it works against the narrative. Aim of the story, I suppose, was to see two characters grow through indulging in sex, but for it to work, we have to have a baseline for both of them. Point A from which they'll grow toward point B. That point A is just vaguely hinted at at the beginning, and by the time we get it, character development is already underway so it loses its purpose.
There's nothing wrong with adding layers to a character to make it more complex, but when details are integral to the starting point of the character, it's just destructive to hide it. From the start onward, there's very little 'plot'. If you remove First 7-8 chapters, nothing changes. There's a girl that got dumped and there's a guy with a 'pick from the bucket' trauma. Once you read the ending, it feels as though the entire point of the 'plot' was to reverse the situations of the characters. However, as far too much screen time is gifted to, quite honestly, pointless sex scenes (they were neither hot nor symbolic in any way, they were just sort of there), the journey to that reversal is so short I was simply never able to get a good grasp on it.
To sum that bucketload of info short, it fails to convey its point properly because it pointlessly hides information from the readers, and even when it gets to that 'point', it doesn't work because it's far too short for what it's trying to achieve.
Art is one thing I kind of liked in UnO. It's not mind-blowing to the point it blew my dick off, but it had certain charm. Yeah, the faces are weird, facial expressions are all over the place, but disregarding that, it had a life of its own. There are a few really nice shots (one that stood out for me was a reflection in street mirror, however basic it was), and it's not too busy with itself.
We finally get to the characters. They're, uh, sexually frustrated teens. It's kind of depressing how I can't point out a single other thing about their characters. I suppose they're an accurate description of 14y old teens, seeing as nobody knows who they actually are at that age, but this only cheapens the whole 'let's go for a deep story' segment that nearly all stories of this type go for. They're two similarly-faced drawings of opposite sexes that like to screw from time to time. Oh, and they're assholes to one another. And, of course, in the end, one of the characters goes through metamorphism of his, uh, 'personality' at the expense of the others' happiness or something.
It's hard to take these characters seriously, and therein the largest problem lies, something that I mentioned at the start of the review. The story takes the circumstances of these characters WAY too seriously to the point that it all loses impact. Its attempts at subtleties don't work because they aren't enhancers but rather integrals, and, in the end, you're left with a story that tried to be far too much.
In the end, though, it's probably one of the better (bad) teenage 'coming of age' stories. For all its faults, at least it's not 'too much in your face' with what it's trying to do. Yeah, ending is lackluster, 20th chapter is just pointless as it adds absolutely nothing besides saying 'oh, look, she moved on... kind of', but, in the end, for what it was, I enjoyed it somewhat. There are some cute moments between the two and even though sex part was really overplayed, I guess it's better than 'the girl is literally begging me to fuck her, but I'm too embarrassed to do it' stories.
Definitely not as good as some reviewers are claiming, but also not as bad. I've come across a lot of 'pointless sex' stories recently, and this has been one of the milder ones. Still, considering that first half is basically just two teenagers fucking, and second half is just your everyday teenage woe is me downward spiral, and ending is just nauseatingly trying to be more than it is, it's not a good manga by any stretch of the imagination.
This manga was so great that I hated it by chapter 2, but I kept reading anyway, and you know, I got an even greater love for this manga the more I read. Things happen, then more things happen, then things that happened before are just kinda dropped or lead to anti-climax, then you wonder why they happened in the first place, then it's over. It's great.
With story-telling that falls flat, characters that are all uninteresting assholes, an unfulfilling ending, and foreshadowing that's on the level of the girl protagonist wearing a shirt that says, "You will love him", what's not to absolutely love?
serious, this manga tries to tell a story it itself finds interesting, and tries to convey messages, but it all falls pathetically flat upon execution. Virtually all of its messages were hand-fisted, and in one case that came out of no-where, it felt like the author took one of the themes they wanted to get to in the story but couldn't find an appropriate place to write it in at, put it into a potato sack and just slammed it into the back of the reader's head over and over; "Hey, this is a pretty clever thing I'm trying to make a point of, right?!"
The art is okayy, the paneling isn't terrible except for a few points where I had to go ahead a couple panels before understanding what the hell was trying to be conveyed a couple panels before, and the pretentiousness is arguably high.
There's no reason to read this manga. Unless you want to look at two 15-year-olds going at it or feel as unfulfilled as two actual 15-year-olds going at it, don't go near this.
Before I begin this review I just want to say that if this is the first manga by Asano Inio that you've read, please please do not be put off the rest of his work. This is the single worst piece of work that he's done. Not even one of the worst, the absolute worst. I don't update here all the time but I think I've read all of his work and I'm a huge fan, but this one is pretty terrible overall. Also this is my first review! Sorry if I ramble a little
Honestly, this is just another teen romance but with a heavily
dark and sexualised theme. I've read a lot of shoujo and josei manga but I feel like this story was meant to expose the realities of romance (rejection/you won't always end up with the person you like/sometimes sex comes first and love comes after) but also exaggerate and dramatise it too. The thing that ruined this manga for me was how the two main characters' relationship literally revolved around sex (plus the fact that they were like 15 in middle school just put me off a lot - never swiped through pages of a manga so fast), and there was a lot of unnecessary sex scenes involved - like, entire chapters of it... Perhaps some of it was intentional for character development? But as much as I think I can't really find the point in a lot of them.
There's also the darker theme of suicide and depression, which at first felt like a side story but eventually consumed the manga. This actually could have redeemed it because I feel like this theme is much more suited to the author, but in turn I felt like the ending was very rushed and kind of random (trying not to add any spoilers here).
None of the author's manga are meant for those who read manga just for visuals and fan service. I gave him a 10/10 for art, maybe I'm a little biased as an artist myself and a fan of his work though.
I'd like to point out that Asano's characters across the board are always very complex and flawed. Majority of the time, you will not like the characters that he creates, and this is because he makes sure that you won't. It's realistic in a sense - how many people do you know, that you actually like? One character from Oyasumi Punpun (one of Asano's more popular works and honestly a masterpiece) quotes that "It's not a manga you read to escape from reality, it's a manga you read to fight reality". In my opinion, he does not write to give you false hope, even his art style doesn't depict every person to be perfect. In fact, he tends to amplify the flaws in character and in the way they look too.
I really did not enjoy reading this manga much at all. I feel like the whole sex thing just really put me off, and if it were taken out it might be much easier to read and also it would give the author some space to expand on the characters a little more - because when you look at his other manga you'll realise that the character development is everything. The sex scenes are just a huge shock to the system and after you recover from that shock you realise that the characters are lacking in this one and the story is very average and generally quite played out.
However, once again if you've read this and don't like it but enjoyed certain aspects of it (mainly how dark it is + themes of suicide and depression) then please check out Asano Inio's other works - you will not be disappointed!
I decided to read this manga out of boredom so I have no knowledge of what it was about, now that I have finished it, here is my honest review. This manga was just really distasteful, let me tell you why:
The story discusses about two characters, Keisuke and Koume, who are in a sexual relationship. Keisuke has feelings for Koume, Koume knows about his feelings so she decided to use him for her own satisfaction. Basically.
The art is very good. I have no other comments about it.
The characters are dull, I know that the manga is supposed to be realistic, but that
doesn't mean the characters can't be interesting. The fact that people say that this is good because it shows a realistic point of view to this type of relationship makes me laugh. It's not "realistic", it's exaggerated and boring, those two words aren't even supposed to be together!
In ANY way possible, this manga is not enjoyable.
Wanna read a manga with good story? No, you don't.
Wanna read a manga just for sex? No, you don't.
Wanna read a manga that MAKES YOU FEEL A TINY BIT OF ENJOYMENT? NO, YOU DON'T.
If you just wanna read it because of the art, then go right ahead. If looking at a page is amusing for you, that is.
The art is outstanding.
The whole text below is SPOILER-ish.
I don't like the stuff that didn't happen because the stuff that did did. The point in that for me is that I did grow to care about it. One of the things I was not entirely in sync with was the certain 18+ scene. I love the significance that I had thought it represents though; Him loving her so much that her everything is perfect.
In another life.. I hope I'll get to have someone to have some perfect moments with, such those few for me perfect moments in the story.
I guess the word for this story
I was reading it without thinking to myself "Yea, sure.". Isobe's back story and the way he handled his response to the blogger were unquestionably realistic for me.
I would like to see Isobe and Sato see each other once again, by accident, with the whole meeting lasting a moment, making it immediately apparent how even still in that moment of the future they'd jump back in to their old selves and act immaturely without coercing themselves in to doing the "right thing" and prolonging the encounter, their image triggering a relapse of the past for each other.. That's just one way it could happen.. Stories that do this to me, make me think like this, what more can I get, I guess.
Will they ever grow up to look back thinking how what they've had was exotic, perfect, rare, and be put on a smile by the thought, knowing it's already been 10 years since and that the past is dead..
Sato did such a huge thing for Isobe in the end and he'll probably never have gotten to know of it.
During their time, it was just time, as it was coming to an end, the value of it became more palpable by the day.
In the end, you don't know what you have until you've lost it, and with that experience of the past, Sato is at the end seemingly on the beginning of another story. But is it another story, or will it now just be living? That stage of her life was already writen.
Will it bring to saying the words "I love you.", before she actually feels the feeling, will it make everything hard because she'll be awkward with herself not feeling the feelings she thinks that she should feel and if the situation was over would feel? This is getting too subjective of me.
Sato's childhood friend, Kashima.
Exactly as it goes with some "childhood friends", from my experience.
They're not some big existence, they're just people you've known for a long time.
Full on spoiler from now on:
In the end, on the last few pages, you can see how there could've been told a lot more, were Inio to have included how Sato and Kashima had met. That time when Kashima called for Sato to come to him, so his squad of friends could tell him if he's taller than her yet. She unhesitatingly obliged. That surprised me, I literally thought that they were going to bully her. On the last few pages, I was given so much more context. He casually goes about hinting at her that he wants to be with her. And it's not just that, it's that he hinted at her that he STILL wants to be with her. Like with NieR:Automata, it seems to me that a whole segment of plot took place before the narration began. He's obviously been head over heels for her for such a long time, BUT, I think that the unnarrated plot part is that she knows that. He was ever truly only her childhood friend though. The sort you're good with, but the sort that isn't so much an anime childhood friend, but a real life childhood friend.
"Umibe no Onnanoko" relates the story of two people who crave of filling the emptyness within themselves.
Story : 8/10
Koume, our main protagonist, originally thought that sex was the only way of pleasing her first crush, Misaki. She accepted to do sexual things with him, thinking he would hang out with her but she was actually wrong. He was just using her as his toy. She then realized how heartbreaking having sex could be. In order to move on, she used her childhood friend, Isobe (who had loved her for many years), as a cure.
And here we go : they begin a « no-strings-attached » relation.
The fact is, some people
could relate to this story.
We all try to be complete. We all want to escape from loneliness. When nobody seems to misunderstand us, we’re hurt, so, we tend to grab anything which could possibly save us from this nasty feeling.
Characters : 9/10
I will only focus on the main protagonists.
Koume acts egoistic, she only thinks about her own desires. She abused Isobe in order to fill her need for attention ; she NEEDS to feel praised, to be wanted by someone because of her loneliness (she only has one friend). She has a void within herself, a kind of nerosis she tries to fill with sex. She’s afraid of being left behind, we can feel it when Isobe takes his distances from her, but the point is she doesn’t want to be seen by his side at school, because she’s popular, and he’s considered as a kind of loser.
Isobe is quite the loner. His dad is always far away from home because of work and his brother committed suicide a while ago. All he wants is for his lonely home to be filled with warmth again. The only way of escaping his demons is to ask Koume to date him. After a while, he gets tired of having sex with Koume knowing she doesn't want to get involved : therefore, he gives up on her and tries to find his own happiness by falling in love with a girl he saw in a picture.
Content : 9/10
I saw some reviews saying that this manga only shows sex scenes, but there is definitely something deeper behind the scenes.
I think there is a tie between how Misaki used Koume and how Koume used Isobe (at the beginning of their relationship). They both were the toys of puppetmasters.
She was hoping that someday Misaki would love her, and Isobe hoped for the same. Sex was, in fact, a way to gain love.
They are both bored by what life offers. The more the story progresses, the more the characters pick up weird kinks (scatophily for example): it can be explained by their despair. They don't fit in with the society or with people in general and don't have any shame in sharing their sins with eachother, because in the end, they're both outcasts.
They have nothing to lose, not even their pride.
Art : 10/10
Everything Asano draws can be considered as a masterpiece.
A heads-up before reading: This story includes a lot of sexual content and can be quite dark and gloomy. If you do not enjoy these type of stories, I recommend that you stay away from this one.
WARNING! Subjectively Speaking, this review contains spoilers.
Review: Through a sleepy, small town,a story is told of two lovers( Koume and Keisuke), that love each other, but are not brave enough to admit it. However, that does not stop them from using each other, reflecting the term, "friends with benefits". However, as time passes by, they become more fond of each other, but as mentioned before, can not admit this
because of the complex situation that they are both in. On the side however, actions are portrayed that show they really care about each other, and wouldn't want the other to go away. Some of these actions even risk their lives, putting danger in front of their own self for the benefit of the other. However, as the story comes to a close, Keisuke is tired of doing these things, and decides it is better for both of them if they don't continue their love interest. At the same time, Koume is falling in love with him, and cannot believe the denial she receives when she asks if he will go out with him. The story closes with them in their high school (11th grade I believe) and shows that Koume has found someone else, and has accepted the fate of what transpired years ago.
My thoughts: I was kind of shocked at first with the amount of sexual content at first, but overtime, it made sense in my head of why they were doing it. The characters themselves don't have a large personality, but it is fine in this story to not have a huge one. Both characters are seen struggling in different scenes, and it is portrayed in a very realistic manner, and can be quite relatable. The artwork is exactly like other Inio Asano works, in the fact that it gives off a ugly character, but beautiful art-style, and shows a more realistic protrayal of events. It is a great read if you like drama and romance, because it gives you a variety of both.
I'm not sure what I would have liked with Umibe no Onnanoko, but as of now I can say I'm disappointed. All I can say about the moral code in Umibe no Onnanoko is that I've seen it done, and better. I struggled through all 20 chapters waiting for something to pique my interest, but I was all but disappointed. Keisuke seems to find no value in the feelings of others, and no interest in living, and that's all the development of his character that I can comprehend. He's depressed, and probably depressed to cater to all those other misanthropic teens out there who might
find enjoyment in this book. Koume seems to be an unfortunate girl with the fault of falling for assholes such as Keisuke, and that's really all I can gather.
The ending was less than disappointing and really didn't hold much weight to it, and neither Keisuke and Koume developed more depth to their character. Maybe I'm missing the whole idea that humans are shallow creatures and do not hold much value, but I look for narrative and am left disappointed when I can't find one. The art is fine, not average but not fantastic either, as I've also seen this style in other manga. There were a few disproportionate neck to head lengths, but I'm really just nitpicking with small details when looking at Asano Inio's drawing skills as a whole.
While this is my personal opinion, I still think that Umibe no Onnanoko is a lacklustre manga without story or character development, and that many people would find it to be rather shallow and boring throughout the 20 or so chapters. Maybe some readers might find enjoyment from the sexual scenes in Umibe no Onnanoko, but I really couldn't have cared less. I've seen the whole misanthropic theme done better in loads of other manga, and think that if a manga is a struggle to get through, it doesn't deserve more than 5 stars out of ten using a numerical rating. While it's not completely terrible, I really don't think it deserved my time.
"I just know that tonight again, my brother will be calling me from outside the window.
First off - the elephant in the room: there's sex. Lots of it. But I don't get how poeple are surprised by this if the whole story is about a "no strings attached" (read: sexual) relationship, it's even in the synopsis. But it isn't an ecchi/hentai type of sex, in my opinion the sex scenes are there to show the sexual relationship the story is about, as - you know - showing a s e x u a l relationship without s e x would be
hard. Though some of the sex scenes may be hard to swallow (if you get what I mean *cough cough*chapter 14*cough cough*), so this may not be a suitable read for the faint of heart. But enough about that.
What a terrific manga.
The manga is about two teenagers, who both went through their own shit, and decided to form a "no strings attached" relationship to just feel better. Author tackles topics quite rare in this type of media, such as unhealthy relationships, suicidal thoughts, and more quite standard real-pessimistic Inio Asano specials. Though I don't quite know how to feel about the ending, but the rest more than makes up for it. A great and unconventional love story.
Love him or hate him, Asano's cityscapes are absolutely stunning. Some people say the way he draws eyes makes them uncomfortable, but personally I'd rather look at his sometimes uncanny, closer-to-human-proportions style, than another generic-looking manga with "the Clannad complex". lol
I actually think the author did a pretty good job writing teenage characters (in a bit of a pessimistic way of course): depressed, stupid, sex-obsessed, often egoistic. Thanks to the time skips, we can see them slowly growing up and learning new things about themselves.
I loved it. One of the few pieces of media which _almost_ brought me to tears. (But that's kinda unfair to say, 'cause there's only on piece of media as of writing this which made me cry actual tears :P)
TL;DR: Cool, you should read it as long as you don't mind sex scenes and you aren't really, really easily disturbed.
tl;dr: A short manga that shows character growth in a broken relationship very well.
This manga is pretty short, being only two volumes, but it uses them incredibly well. The two main characters were really interesting and also felt like they had good chemistry, even though they really shouldn't be that way. Now by that I don't mean the standard story of two archetypes that shouldn't be getting along, though that's also somewhat the case, but rather their personalities just don't seem very compatible and their relationship was incredibly unhealthy. However, despite that, while it is certainly turbulent, there is somewhat of a calm peaceful feeling that
is conveyed when they're together that just makes them being together feel incredibly right. Isobe undergoes a lot of development over the course of the manga, wherein he starts depressed without any real hopes for life and hatred for everything, but ultimately ends up overcoming all that, and ending on a heroic note. Koume was different, in that her problems seemed to be more related to her being self-centered and not honest with herself, which she does manage to overcome. However, despite all that, their relationship doesn't develop, or rather I suppose showing how and why it couldn't develop was how it developed. It felt fitting, incredibly emotionally impactful, and in context was a necessary end to their character arcs, so I can't say I was dissatisfied with it. However, it still made me really sad, and quite a bit more than I would expect for such a manga with only two volumes. This is mostly directed towards the second to last chapter however, as I felt the last chapter was entirely unnecessary, as it didn't really add anything, and furthermore softened the impact of the previous chapter. The art was pretty good to look at, but more importantly it along with the pacing definitely helped in terms of creating the right atmosphere and tone throughout, wherein I think this manga used what I call empty frames, where there's no dialogue or anything actually happening, really well.
Its hard capturing how sex and desire conflict with a blossoming maturity both physically and emotionally as a teenager.The two lead characters in A Girl on the Shore are entangled in a sexual relationship that neither can quite make sense of. It is portrayed as a source of comfort and exploration and confusion especially when confronted with each outside the bedroom.
While the sex scene are very -very- explicit, Asano really lets the story develop in a series of artfully crafted moments, gestures, and even facial expressions. Sato's struggle with her modesty, shame and her sexual awakening (instigated by her crush
on an older boy who assaults her) and Isobe's depression and grief over his brother's suicide unfold in a really authentic way. That is to say one that is not always satisfying but heart-wrenchingly realistic.
I only bought Umibe no Onnanoko because of the author, while i didn't expect it to be as good as Goodnight Punpun i did expect some level of similarity between the two.
A Girl on the Shore feels like its replacing deep, thought provoking mature themes with sex. I did come into it expecting at least one sex scene but it was a bit ridiculous at the amount of them. If it focused more on the character's psychological state more i think it would've been more enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, it does show the character's psychological state, just not as much as i would have
liked. The ending was also weak in my opinion.
The art was amazing, as expected. Had a few full page panels which were really nice.
Overall an enjoyable read that i would recommend. If it had focused more on what the characters are feeling rather than what they are doing, it would've been better.
This manga is not the type of manga
you should read to enjoy.It's nothing
like a rollercoaster,not a rocket
nor a speedboat. It's a slow
and quick ride towards subtlety..
I wouldn't say it's boring either,
because it promises something in each
new chapter. It's like witnessing a story
or a happening
in real life, it's nothing too exciting
but hey it's 'something'.
The first thing I'd like to point out is
how the characters are built. They're
built upon pessimism,nothing new
and nothing good either. They have their
emotions and personalities that don't
shine at all but that's just how the author wants his characters to be. 'Realistic' enough that they become dull,common and predictable.
desperation of the author to give the MC a little bit of
substance and sparkle in his role by giving him a depressing background. It feels forced,just like Oyasumi Punpun. It's so transparent it's almost hilarious. Should the sex scenes be mentioned? Should that be pointed out? Is it worth it? Hmm let's see.. The sex scene doesn't add much. It takes a large chunk of space but it's nothing special or intimate at all. It is shown that the girl wanted him badly, she offers herself to him because she 'loves' him,but in the end, she's just another girl who wants self validation. I don't see anything romantic in this manga. For me,it's just
a story. Nothing special,nothing beautiful
but definitely something I would never pick
I find the strong dislike of this manga amusing. To be honest, it's not for idiots/idealists/prudes/escapism.
It's a very realistic manga dealing with chaos, love and pain, with a fair amount of ambiguity. It's not a fun or light read, it's a piece of art that doesn't try to make a point, instead it aspires to capture a segment of reality through a lens of beauty.
The pacing is quite unique, it's the embodiment of a sleepy town, where months can go by and nothing happens. In the same chapter, without it explicitly being stated, time will jump. I personally find it very beautiful and stimulating.
characters are realistic, they're hormonal teens dealing with growing up.
It can't be argued that the artist shows very good technical skill.
The ending: Some people seem very confused that the two hormonal teenagers' feelings could ever change... Not only that, the ending (and story) is symbolic of a life cycle of love itself (Awkward/Painful->Tender/Pure/Bliss->Awkward/VeryPainful->->->Nothing)
This isn't my genre at all but I loved this manga. I'd recommend this to somebody who's looking for something a bit different and an honest piece of art.
Maybe instead of a review, this is more of like an afterthought. First of all, everything gets a 10. The art just fits perfectly with this type of story, something more realistic compared to the normal exaggerated type of style. (Nothing wrong w those styles btw but I feel as if a more realistic style for this matches the type of story more.)
As we grow, we're sure to experience several of these feelings. Relationships with people all happen eventually and what happens, happens. Life just goes on, with the many conflicts we experience and the solutions we come to. I think that's expressed very
well in this story.
This story covers a girl growing up and her romantic (?) relationships. After a heartbreak, she flocks to this boy who likes her, who she also rejected previously. As things go on, they involve each other more and more into their daily lives, with the boy still in love and the girl only using him for her comfort. And as the girl realizes she has feelings for the boy, the boy tries his best to not focus on her too much. Of course real life isn't as nice or romantic but in a way, I'm sure many people can understand or feel the same. It's one of those that end with a bittersweet ending and that's perfectly fine.