Sayoko is an incredibly kind, but solitary, young kimono-clad lady who has certain supernatural abilities. She can see ghosts, and she frees them from their places of death by agreeing to let them haunt her instead. As a result, everywhere she goes, she is followed by an army of well-meaning spirits that only she can see. Her weirdness tends to throw any normal people who would have otherwise possibly become her friends.
Inaba is a poor college student who accidentally ran over her with his bicycle, before learning that the store where he had worked had gone out of business and his boss had vanished. Sayoko was not only very understanding about the accident, she even gave him money that would help him out until he found another job! Though Inaba's no fan of the supernatural, he was so grateful that he managed to pretend Sayoko wasn't weird at all, even when she started talking to ghosts. Sayoko, unused to this sort of treatment from others, fell in love instantly. Now she's become his next door neighbor, and, with a little help from her ghosts, she's determined to try her best to win his heart!
A supernatural romantic comedy, Renai Kaidan Sayoko-san will leave you laughing one moment, laughing another moment, and laughing even more. The greatest strength of this manga is its well-written comedic moments. The story does not feel forced and flows well, although as a slice of life manga, there are not too many notable developments. This is not an issue, as the development focuses primarily on the characters and not the story or world.
Starting first with the characters, we have your generic but believable protagonist, Inaba Den. One thing I like about seinen romances is that no character is perfect, and acts in ways that are
similar to a friend you may know in real life. Inaba definitely has many traits which I see in my friends all the time: reusing plastic bottles to put your own tea in? Check. Being incredible dense to his own romance, but relatively sharp regarding others? Check. Not believing in the occult but being too nice to say otherwise to someone who does? Check. Meanwhile, we are introduced to Sayoko in a slightly negative light - she's a strange character. And while she retains her quirkiness throughout the manga, we see - once again - many of these real human traits within her. As we continue reading, it is difficult to not relate to Sayoko's troubles in pursuing Inaba, and we feel a strong desire to support her efforts. For sure, stalking your crush is definitely on the creepy side, but I think many of us have also happened to "coincidentally" run into their crush before. Or perhaps you've also felt flustered and avoided your crush after confessing to them. Although it may be difficult to relate to these characters on a personal level, there are many personality traits and events which make you think, "Haha! I had that happen to me before, I know how exactly that feels." Unfortunately, with these types of characters, that also means that few of them particularly stand out. Although I do like the characters in this manga, if you asked me to pick a favorite, I would not be able to choose any of them.
Moving onto the artwork, as another user has mentioned, Renai Kaidan Sayoko-san has a more shoujo-y feel to its art. It is not dark and sketch-y like many other seinen manga, but I do not feel that is particularly an issue. One thing I particularly like about the artwork is how the author uses different sections of a pattern for different sections of Sayoko's kimonos - instead of using one large pattern for the entire kimono (looking at you Boku Girl). The characters are all distinguishable from each other, although some of the female characters share similar faces. Even the less-frequently-seen side characters are easy to identify. The only exception to this are the many spirits which accompany Sayoko: although they vary greatly in their designs, many of them appear only once or twice and are quickly overshadowed by the main spirit-cast. Aside from this, my main complaint with the artwork is that frequently, the author draws the human characters' hands as being far too thin and/or elongated. Sometimes the anatomy exaggeration is played for comedic effect, but it can be quite distracting in more serious scenes.
Overall, a summary:
+ Great comedic moments.
+ Realistic and varying cast of characters.
+ Easy to get into, little investment needed.
- Mediocre story, slow paced.
- Does not leave much of an impact.
So going in to this manga my initial thoughts was not that high. Mysteries girl plop up from no where and meets a boy. Sound like your standard type of romance manga. It wasn't clear for me until later that this supernatural setup and the girl Sayoko is a great mix.
The story is more or less told through varies of small encounters between Sayoko and Inaba in there daily life where Sayoko tries to get closer to Inaba through different methods. It may not sound too exciting at first, but once you get to know Sayoko better and better you will be surprised how
funny and unexpected the characters are in this manga.
The art is as always very subjective and is really hard to say how good or bad it is. But since it is my review I will try at least to tell you my thoughts on it. I like it. I like it since the mangaka have gone to the lengths of at least trying to have side characters to have there own look to stand out. The two main characters Sayoko and Inaba are kinda standard design thou, but even here the change of clothes and Sayoko hairstyle is changed from time to time and the backdrop is detailed, so the art is good yet simple when it must.
What this manga excels in is the character department at least when it comes to Sayoko. Sayoko is the mysteries and oddball type of character that you acquaints with from time to time in other storys. The twist is that we actually get to know Sayoko more or less from the start here and she is a refreshing character indeed. She is not that sweet and innocent girl like you might think. Even though she have those characteristics as well she is a bit of a stalker, pervert and jealous type of person and whats even more refreshing here is that she is all this without being your typical yandere girl. Then you have Inaba, kinda your standard type. Unlucky in life with job and girls, but is an honest and nice person. Really, Inaba is not that interesting type of a character but the mix between him and Sayoko is nice and it works quite well. Then you have your side characters which all do there job. You have a goofy type of guy who falls in love with Sayoko at first sight. Your greedy fortuneteller that do almost anything for money. Then you have the spirits that possesses Sayoko, they all try to help here to get closer to Inaba but are a bit worried over here methods to do so and they also act as her guardians and try to protect here from going to far in here quest.
Overall I would say this is a sweet and funny manga worth reading. It is not over the top type of manga neither is it bad. It works if you want something funny to read and are quite tired of your typical romcom.
If you look up the word "underrated"in the dictionary, you will find a picture of this manga.
It looks like shoujo at first glance (even the covers, I almost did not read it because of that), but it's a sweet and funny seinen manga with romance and slice of life elements.
The story in short:
Girl meets boy, falls in love at first sight and decides to rent the neighboring apartment to stalk him together with her army of 800 ghosts that are possessing her.
You don't have to know anything else - if this summary made you interested, you should read it - now.
-> It's a sweet story about a unworldly girl that experiences her first love - by stalking him. Her lack of common sense because she only had ghosts as friends results in funny, sweet and sometimes a little bit creepy moments. The ghosts do their best to help her out and to stop her, when she intends to do something too extreme... at least most of the time.
-> The style is a bit shoujo-like at times, but not to the extend that it decreases the enjoyment. The artist knows how to create funny moment through the faces of the characters and ghosts.
-> I love stalker girls and soft yanderes (no killing) in manga, so the girl in this story hit bullseye on me. She is cute, slightly perverted, madly in love and lacks common sense. Perfect comedy material.
-> The boy is okay but not that memorable. He is a good guy, dirt poor and doesn't like supernatural stuff, so he just thinks of her as a weird girl.
-> Not much to say here, loved every moment of reading it.
-> It's such a great manga, you should read the first 4-5 chapters to decide for youself.