Jin is a rock artist in the making, and in a relationship with Tama, a wanna-be bread maker. However, as Jin's popularity grows, he feels he doesn't have enough time for Tama, and breaks up with her. Tama agrees to call it off... A little too easily. The two go off their separate ways and decide to meet new people, but is their relationship really truly over? Watch their piping hot love slowly unfold!
In the world of long-running romance manga, harems and misunderstandings that critics refer to as "forced drama," it's hard to find romances that are neither completely dependent on angst (the staple of most "serious" male-oriented romances) and emotion nor the at times overly formulaic stories of female-oriented romances. Boku to Watashi no Henai Jijou (the Circumstances of our strange love) manages to avoid both of these, coming across as a simple and unexceptional but warm manga.
=Story - 7=
Boku to Watashi no Henai Jijou's story starts out not with the start of a love affair, but the end of one. Aspiring lead singer
of indie band Notorious Orphan Jin announces his decision to break up with his girlfriend and aspiring baker Tamami Tamagawa, who quietly accepts. However, neither of them leave satisfied, and their attempts to adapt to their separation proves to be a difficult journey. To be really honest, the story is not something stunning. While hardly formulaic, the ending is stunningly predictable, the plot twists simplistic. The jokes are not stunningly funny nor are the details well-fleshed out. Boku to Watashi no Henai Jijou is neither a groundbreaking manga nor one that will likely top any charts
And yet, the story is cute in its simplicity. It's a very simple love story--not without drama, but not to excess; not brilliant, but far from inane. Even while largely guessing the end result, the seventeen chapters in Boku to Watashi no Henai Jijou are all heartwarming, both in the way Jin and Tamami struggle with the obvious fact that neither accepts their breakup, and the way both of them try to live on without each other. While the story is hardly an exercise in worldbuilding, the story is sufficient in its level of detail. We never find out how Tamami and Jin met, nor how they started their dreams or how Notorious Orphan came to be--and we don't need to. This story is about Jin and Tamami and their time after their breakup, and author Amano does not indulge in the worldbuilding often necessary in far longer-running or serious manga, and it's satisfying in its own way. Where breakthrough/"brilliant" series such as Code Geass or Clannad or FLCL or Gurren Lagann are satisfying in the same way you feel after crossing a marathon (sweaty, exhausted, gasping, sometimes wet with your own feces and piss), Boku to Watashi no Henai Jijou is satisfying in the same way you feel after a relaxing walk at night. It warms not in a burst of fire like anime that make your heart race, but in the weak but steady glow of a candle. It might not be something every reader is looking for, but in my opinion, Boku to Watashi no Henai Jijou's subdued but constant sense of warmth is just as good as an emotional rollercoaster such as Clannad.
=Art - 7=
In reflection of the story's simplicity, the art style of Boku to Watashi no Henai is straightforwards--neither spartan nor elaborate, just sufficient. The backgrounds are always pleasant, but the amount of detail is limited, which goes along very well with the story's directness. An overelaborate art style would have made that series seem unnecessarily pretentious.The art of the characters is, like the story itself, unexceptional but always enjoyable.
=Characters - 7=
As before, the characters of Boku to Watashi no Henai do not have much depth. We know almost nothing of either Jin or Tamami's backstories, and certain characters such as Tamami's bakery coworker whose name I forget, or Hotaka the deliveryman come off as a little two-dimensional. However, it hardly interferes with the focus, after all, is on the romance between Jin and Tamami, and while the side characters are necessary, they are the props that hold up the stage onto which the show is mounted. Even though one knows very little about Jin or Tamami, the latent love that remains between them makes itself clear. While the authors may not have put much effort into the scaffolding, Boku to Watashi no Henai's characters are more than in-depth enough where it counts.
=Enjoyment and Overall: 8=
Boku to Watashi no Henai is one of those manga whose individual aspects you may consider lacking, but add up to be greater than the sum of its parts. Its story is not stunning, it's characters not extremely well-fleshed out, the art functional but far from elaborate. nevertheless, I intensely enjoyed all 17 chapters which I read instead of studying for my Stats exam. While it's not going to be a breakthrough anywhere as far as I know, it was simply and solidly good throughout, keeping the reader emotionally invested in spite of the lack of detail. To an extent, the way the Mangakas managed to put together such a sweet story from so little is an expression of a skill just as important as the ability to come up with revolutionary new manga and anime.