Shouko is still a virgin, and hasn't met a man yet who lives up to her standards. Her friends look up to her -- and would in truth like to give her more than just their respect -- but the only one Shouko looks up to is her famous actress mother, for whom no man is good enough to dedicate herself to. That's when Shouko meets the rumor and reality of her mother's new boyfriend, Ujou. Ujou is different from the others -- an aloof college student 17 years younger than Shouko's mother. The passion that Shouko sees between them becomes what Shouko desires for herself, but while forbidden fruit may be sweeter... it is also more deadly.
When we’re kids we think of our parents as perfect. Some of us want to grow up to be just like them because the love they give is almost tangible. As we grow up we start to notice things that prove that theory wrong, and the people we think highly of and aspire to become are no longer them--parents got lost in our own transition. By the time we’re an adult we see them for what they really are, a perfectly flawed human who just does what they can and we go back to admiring them, if we’re lucky enough to still have
them that is.
Looking at this manga and thinking about it now, flaws take up a whole new meaning.
The plot is simple, Shouko a high school girl with a famous mother, is tired of not being noticed as anything but her mothers daughter. When her mothers tells her that she has to move into the apartment because their house (the one Shouko lives in) is bombarded with paparazzi, she does. There she meets her mother’s new boyfriend, Ujoi, who happens to be living with her. I want to say she was attracted to him but that’s not exactly it. She is tempted by the idea of taking him away from her mother. Just to finally have one on her and so she does.
Shouko is just a teenager. She acts like a spoiler brat sometimes but at the end that’s what she is, just a teenager. As a young adult she needs a mother, someone to notice her, give her attention. But she doesn’t have that, instead she is out staged by her own mother because of being a celebrity. Constantly living in her shadow and she snaps. Her character is shallow and impulsive and she doesn’t think about anyone but her self. Actually her character if said that way is very realistically displayed.
Not to get started on the mother who I wanted to slap in every other scene. It just goes to show you that just because we age, doesn’t necessarily mean we start acting like grownups. She is a really bad example of a mother and had no redeeming qualities I could see. Not towards her own daughter anyway. Though she did take care of her material needs I guess, if that counts. Her alone takes a point off the rating for her obvious role in screwing up her own daughter, and also, I refuse to believe mothers act that way. Yeah, call me gullible.
Ujou, I’m not exactly sure of his role in all of this apart from being the guy who slept with both the mother and the daughter. I am sure he has other issues, but I stopped caring for them as words started coming out of his mouth. He didn’t seem to care about any of them and at the same time had a lost, empty look in his eyes. Maybe that was his role to begin with. To himself, he had talents (outside the bedroom) and wasn’t putting it to any use. Didn’t even know if he wanted to until they get taken away. When the option gets taken off the table is when you realize you wanted it all along. Life is cruel that way.
I felt for Shouko and her situation but her best friend's, Miu, story broke my heart. You get hints of it in the beginning because of her hostility towards men as a whole, but it’s not until a few chapters later that your suspicions are confirmed true. Being a victim of sexual abuse is one of the most horrible things that can happen to anyone, Miu knows that first hand.
She was probably harder to describe than Shouko. Not because Shouku’s problem were minuscule or not important but in my opinion pale in comparison. For the sole reason that Miu didn’t feel she could tell anyone while Shouko spoke about what was bothering her. At one point she was close to saying something but she didn’t and hoping that person would notice and ask about it, but they didn‘t.
The part that got to me was that her own best friend wasn’t there for her and was so busy with her own things that she didn’t bother to look Miu’s way when there was clearly something wrong and the signs were always there.
To be taken advantage of by the people expected to protect you is brutal for a young girl, any girl, any person actually. I can’t say that Miu’s actions were justified in what she did, having not been in that position. But I felt for her character, more so at times than the protagonist who didn’t care for anyone but herself.
The art on this one, is average. If I think about it, really think about it, the art was mostly insignificant. Yes it matters and we know it’s there, obviously, but the bigger picture was these four people and what they were going through. Although I have to hand it to the mangaka for the making them look their despair in their eyes. I saw it, if anything else.
I want to say that the ending tied everything up in a nice bow and doves flew by as cherry blossom petals fell to the ground. The ending, it wasn’t like that at all. For some characters, what happened was merely a speed bump in their drive to work. For others it was the words, “To be continued,” at the end of a book. For the unlucky ones, is killing the monsters in a nightmare and opening up the door to freedom only to find it’s another quest. Either way the ending sucked. It didn’t tell us anything. We might as well have paid for the movie, liked it enough, and then the power goes out and nothing. At the end people just walked it off, like if it was nothing. Except for the ones who got screwed, metaphorically speaking.
What I got from this manga isn’t something necessarily in the subject, but it did make me appreciate my own family a little more. So, appreciate what you have today, because it may not be here tomorrow. That includes people.
The Extra Story “Angel Night” is a more uplifting story and yet still sad. Which I think is the recurring theme of this author…
It was about a girl who's life isn't going as she hopes and being on the brink of suicide gets scent an angel to collect her soul. The characters are better in this one, by better I mean less hostile and evil.
I won’t go into depths on this one. If you get something free with your purchase, just take it…
I actually didn’t like this one, it was just weird.
It’s a story about a mother and daughter who live under a constant spot light. Shouko’s mother is a famous actress and Shouko is her proud daughter. Their relationship takes a turn when the feeling of jealously is brought to the surface.
The character development was probably the only redeeming quality. Shouko, oh boy… thank god she seemed to mature at the end. Though she’s probably still the most shallow and vain character I’ve ever come across, she does find her own means of self-worth. Shouko’s mother ends up seeing her daughter as a woman when
the stability of her own relationship with her boyfriend becomes rocky. Her higher status as a unique mature woman crumbles into the normal fears and reality of all humans. The mother and daughter fight like high school girls over this man who feels nothing for either of them. Shouko is bitter towards her mother for always being the center of attention and wants to feel superior by stealing her boyfriend. Her mother just seems like she needs to be in control.
Ujou’s character [the man they fight over] was the only one that seemed relatable to me .He’s an attractive guy who’s just become lost. He doesn’t give off any true feelings for anyone or anything. It isn’t until he loses something important to him that he begins to show any passion.
Shouko’s friend Miu has her own side story. I’m not sure what this characters point was other than to show Shouko’s lack of concern/awareness for her friends. From the beginning you can pretty much guess what’s going on with Miu and she’ll probably be the only character you’ll feel anything for.
Maybe it went over my head but I didn’t really get anything out of this manga. It left me dissatisfied and irritated by the majority of it.
Story: 6 [havent read anything like this before]
Art: 6 [weird at times]
Character: 7 [good]
Enjoyment: 4 [decent]
Overall: 6 [fair]
Ok, since there are no reviews for this manga, then I'm going to write one.
Oh, by the way, this review may contain spoilers, so don't read it unless you haven't read the story. Don't say I didn't warn you.
I'll start by saying that this manga, at least to me, seemed REAL. It's not complicated or confusing, but rather simple to understand. It starts with Shouko, the daughter of a famous actress, that has been out-staged by her mother all her life. At first, she is proud of her mother, but as the story goes on, she becomes jealous of her mother, as everybody that sees
her only looks at her as her mother's daughter. It's just that she only realizes this after she meets Ujou, her mother's new boyfriend. Then, she started to realize just how jealous she actually is on her mother, and thus she wants to hurt her. She sleeps with Ujou, but when she sees that even this doesn't work, she plans to go into the entartaiment world as well. Simple and clear.
I've read other reviews that were dissatisfied with the ending. But hey, maybe they expected some typical shoujo happy ending, where the two protagonists get together. To be honest, I was expecting this, too. So I found the actual ending good, a bit unexpected if you want, and realistic, something that happens quite often in the real world. (I'm not talking about the girl stealing her mother's boyfriend, I'm talking about the two of them NOT getting together).
And here we are, the characters. The main ones, the girl, her mom and her boyfriend. They are all conceited and self-centered and mainly think only about their own problems. They aren't depicted as bad in the manga, and they are similar to the people from real life. For example, Shouko, the daughter. As I said, she has been out-staged all her life by her famous mother, and nobody except for her 2 friends actually saw her for who she is, but for her mother's daughter, which isn't exactly something pleasant. She only realizes that she is jealous of her mother after she meets her boyfriend, Ujou. And what does she do after that? She rebels against her mother and in order to hurt her and to win against her, she sleeps with Ujou. Then, she goes into the entartaimant industry to win against her mother on her own. I believe she does fall in love with Ujou, but she doesn't realize it. And I think that all she had done was in order to step back from her mother's shadow and shine on her own. Again, pretty simple to understand.
Now let's take Ujou. He is a cold person and a talented pianist. He doesn't particularly like playing it though, he rather does it out of obligation. He has to get his left arm stabbed in order to realize how much he actually loves playing the piano. And I don't think he loves neither Shouko or her mother. More like, he accepted to be Hisako's boy-toy out of commodity, as she was willing to pay his tutisions. As the story goes on, he starts to get annoyed by this and thus plans to hurt Hisako, using Shouko. In the end, I don't think he loves either of them, he was just causing them to quarrel, as they both loved him. He leaves in order to have his arm re-operated, but he doesn't come back afterwards. And why would he? He is just as self-centered as Shouko, actually more than her in my opinion, only caring about his arm and his piano. Yeah, I agree, in the end I think he did notice and acknowledge Shouko, but this doesn't mean he fell in love with her. So there was no reason for him to return in Japan after the operation.
And finally, Hisako, the famous actress. She was a rather good mother to Shouko, until she and Shouko met Ujou and started to quarrel, becoming aware of their most hidden feelings for each other. She doesn't want to lose to Shouko, not realizing that Skouko feels the same way, being another self-centered character. She portrays the seemingly perfect woman, beautiful, elegant and successful, but in reality she is only another ordinary woman, with worries and fears like any other's. After Ujou was out of their life, I believe that she and her daughter went back to how things used to be.
And the last character I'm gong to talk about, a supporting one this time, Miu/Umi. In my opinion, she was the only character that actually cared for other people's problems and feelings, beside her own. She was a good friend, better than how Shouko was to her. She was sexually abused by her step-father and she was maybe a lesbian. If you ask me, enough problems for somebody to get conceited and think only of herself. But no, she actually think of other people, even if her problems are maybe more serious than Shouko's, for example. She doesn't do anything to her father even if he rapes her every night or so, because she knows how happy her mother is because oh him. She prefers to endure it than to take away her mother's happiness. Also, she wants to protect Shouko from Ujou, a thing I believe it's right, since Ujou was using her (Shouko) anyway. In the end, she is able to tear them apart, which may be a good thing. I think her character is the saddest one of the manga, because she doesn't solve her problems or find happiness, like the other characters. She is unable to tell somebody of her step father, and she doesn't find happiness, even though she is the one that deserves it the most.
The art is fine, nothing special, but somehow different from the standard shoujo art. It's not the worst I've seen out there, but not the best either. The profiles of the characters could have been drown better, but aside from this, I don't have much I can complain about. The expressions and the faces were ok, you can see when the characters are surprised or sad.
In the end, this manga was a good read, for me it seemed like a touch of realism, where the characters are different from the ones usually seen in shoujo manga. They seem real, and they choices they make don't feel weird or unreal, but real, something we could also do if faced with similar situations. If you want a rather realistic manga, that has it's drama and that has a rather sad ending, not the usual happy one but one that could also in real life, then you could read this, it might open your eyes a bit that not always things go the way we want them to.