After her mother abandoned her and her father remarried, high schooler Mao Motomiya is left feeling like she doesn't have a place where she belongs. One night, her childhood friend Hiro Nakamura finds her in a shrine eating cheap convenience store food and offers to take her to a restaurant. Their subsequent heart to heart leads to Hiro suggesting that Mao move in with him.
To Hiro who has lived apart from his younger siblings all these years after their parents passed away, bringing his family back together in the once-lively Nakamura home begins with the first step of giving Mao a loving place to belong.
When Mao reluctantly accepts his invitation, she is surprised at how easy it is to settle in with her longtime friend. Now she must deal not only with mending her relationship with her father and helping the oldest Nakamura brother attain his goal, but also her growing feelings for Hiro.
Such a nice manga! Honestly, there`s very little i would change in this story. Very, very good shoujo manga (also worth noting that this was my first completed shoujo too!) from beginning to the end. Ain`t gonna lie, my first impression was quite bad, mainly because of the art and the fact that the heroine looked way too young and i didn`t like the age gap between the two main characters at all. That and the fact that i was kinda tired back then of annoying love triangles and shoujo/shounen romance tropes (still am), so i really didn`t feel like reading it based on my
flawed initial impression, which led me to drop it instantly.
Luckily, a few days ago, i decided to give it another try and i`m honestly quite happy i did it, because i had a blast reading it! A very good and compelling story about family and love that has way more to it than what meets the eye.
If i had to summarize Taiyou no Ie in a single word, it would be "genuine". It`s a really genuine manga, with very genuine characters dealing with very genuine issues, both romantic and familiar. The drama never feels forced, it never felt too light nor to dark either. Just right. The character drama here also feels amazingly cliché-free, and the way it tackled the usual shoujo tropes was truly refreshing without never being annoying. The last arc with the heroine`s mother (little spoiler here, i`m sorry) was also extremely powerful, imo. The way the author handled the whole deal was superbly done and even a bit surprising given how realistic and deeply emotive it was. It was also the ultimate "puzzle piece" in Mao`s development as a character and in her relationship with both her family and Hiro, and it finally gave, in my opinion, the necessary balance and impulse that the story needed to be more than just good. To become special and all the more worthy. With such a great final arc, not only it gave a fantastic sense of completeness to the development of pretty much every single character in the cast, but also made the overall theme and even the main duo`s dynamics all the more significant and poignant. At the end of its run, it managed to turn into something great and clearly one of the best romance manga i`ve read.
You know, I always feel like the best stories, the ones that really leave a mark on you are those that end up being greater than the sum of its parts. The ones who manage to be consistent from start to finish, especially with their characters. The ones who get progressively better and whose incessant narrative crescendo results in a giant, virtuous, compelling bang. A lot of stories manage to achieve amazing climaxes throughout their run but somehow end up lacking the consistency (perhaps even talent) to always deliver and make the whole thing as satisfying as it promised to us readers, consequently falling short of making a definite impact at the end.
And i gotta say that Taiyou no Ie was truly a wholesome experience, with some of the finest writing i`ve seen in a while. Sure, it may not be groundbreaking, but not only was able to deliver a truly powerful message, but also did pretty much everything right, in a very genuine way that only a few manga can. And i think that`s the biggest praise i can possibly give it.
This is one of the sweetest manga I've ever read. It's lighthearted, funny, and entertaining. I never felt bored while reading it. It was not the best that I've ever seen, but it was definitely worth reading.
While the story progresses slowly and steadily, Taiyou no Ie leaves nothing unsatisfactory. Even the ending was good (and this is rare! Most mangakas rush the ending and as a result ruin the story).
I fell in love with every one in Taiyou no Ie. I wonder how I am going to let them go.
First of all, each character in this manga is unique.
There's Mao, a high school girl who sucks at cooking and is hesitant to opening her heart. There's Hiro, a dense and child-like man who cares so much about others that he often forgets to take care of himself. There's Daiki, a seemingly cold brother who is actually stronger than the average boy...the list goes on.
Furthermore, I love how the characters are realistic. Taiyou no Ie doesn't really follow that cliche storyline where one day an evil woman comes to separate the main couple. Rather, there is Sugimoto (Radical), who is sweet and mature (unlike most other shoujo characters, who are very selfish).
The characters are also hilarious. I love how clueless and dense a lot of them are.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I actually really liked the art! It is one-of-a-kind. I mean, I've never seen any other manga with this kind of style.
I thoroughly fell in love with the heroine of this manga. I think I'll be comparing other characters to Mao for a long time. Despite my love for shoujo manga, I often find myself frustrated with the main characters, mostly because I worry about the messages that younger girls might get from them. Mao doesn't fit into any of the typical shoujo archetypes, though. She has a difficult past, but she's neither perpetually gloomy nor defiantly (and obnoxiously) cheerful. She's emotionally clumsy, but not a complete spaz or oblivious to the feelings of others. She's inexperienced at life, but not helpless.
She cherishes the people around her, but she doesn't rely on them to save her in every chapter. And, most importantly, she has her priorities in order. The thing I love most about her is that she never lets her romantic interests take precedence over family. It's incredibly refreshing and, with her past, makes for a very believable character.
Okay, taking the spotlight off of Mao for a moment, the overarching themes for Taiyou no Ie are the ways in which people form relationships and cope with loss. This isn't anything new or groundbreaking, but it is the first time in a long time that I've seen such a realistic portrayal of such a wide array of imperfect characters. Not just in manga, but in any medium. It's really easy to fall back on the "dark and brooding and can't open up to anyone" trope when you're talking about hardships, but it's clear that Taamo really pushed to make sure every character had their own unique thoughts and feelings that were completely true to them.
The only minor complaint I had while reading was in regard to the art. Overall it's very beautiful, but there were a few times when it was hard to decipher facial expressions because of an oddly placed reflection in the eye or a mouth shape that was just a little off. Tricked my eyes a little bit, but maybe that's just me. I loved Mao's eyes, though. And Mao's facial expressions. And Mao. Did I mention that Mao is my favorite?
**SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!!**
Another thing that really bothered me--and is the reason that I'm rating the story as a 9 instead of 10--is that Hiro basically proposes to Mao at the end. From what I understand, large age gaps aren't as taboo in Japan, so I can overlook that... ish. But no matter how you look at it, it was a really irresponsible thing to do. For some reason, despite his obvious desire for a family, I had a hard time believing that Hiro would actually say that to a high school student before they'd really tried being a couple, especially since he knows what she's been through since her parents' divorce.
What would a little girl do if she feels she isn't welcomed and needed in her own home?
I'm sure that many of us (not all of course) don't pay attention/care when our parents or relatives welcome you home because it is normal. Taiyou no Ie makes its readers know how important it is for some people to be told a simple greeting 'Welcome Home'.
The story (which is already written in synopsis) is very unique and is, alongside the character development, the strongest point of this manga. It is realistic, lighthearted,one of the most enjoyable and it just warms someone's heart. Taamo, the author
and the artist, managed to throw everything which is clichè in every shoujo manga out of the window. It has a slow pacing which was advantageous to the plot. I even read a discussion in mangafox where the thread maker said he/she stopped at some point because the romance of this manga is REALLY slow. I think it is because the main priority is both of the main characters family and not the romance (one of the said thrown out clichès in shoujo).
The art is very pleasant and original. It fits really well for showing the characters' emotions. The character designs are lovable. In every panel, the scenes, characters, and places are drawn in a particular way, atleast for me. In a way that the fundamental objects, people, building etc. which symbolizes the dialog/narration are most of the time drawn alone. Thus, you can see the importance of that particular object while you feel sometimes bad, sometimes happy or both for that thing. (I'm sorry for that, I can't explain that part properly)
As I said earlier, the other main point of this manga is the character development. Most of the readers who has finished this has only 1 if not 0 characters they hate, because every single one of them will just grow on you, some are better, some are not that influential but that is an another matter. The idiom 'Slowly but surely' applies to Taiyou no ie perfectly -that's exactly how the story and character development went. Plus, depending on the situation, the point of view changes from time to time, because of that method you can understand why that person did that sort of thing, the reason why is he like that etc.
Even though the heroine is quite a crybaby, I didn't hate her (most of the time I do hate crybaby female chars if not always) because I could understand her and her position because Taamo did an excellent job depicting it.
The main male is 7 years older than the girl. Probably because of that, he is responsible and had always thought the consequences before he does something. He isn't that kind of main who is popular, got chased by girls lalalala then gets together with the mc. He guides and helps Mao as an adult and as a friend and viceversa which eventually makes them have an unbreakable bond.
Taiyou no Ie is just one of the best shoujo out there because of the reasons I mentioned and I did not, cuz you know, spoilers heh. Though for me, this is still the best shoujo I've ever read. I don't consider myself as a fan of this genre but I read them even though I can guess what will happen next, unlike psychological-horror and mystery genres. But this is different, a manga of that genre in which the mcs helping each other to build their families back is where their love came from, unlike boy (famous) and girl (not popular) or viceversa meet then one of them falls in love, some plot twist but in the end they're still together. Maybe I'm a bit biased giving it a 10, but it's worth atleast 9 or 9.5. I really reallllyyy enjoyed and loved this manga. It even made me think, if this how my older sister (mother side) felt for me. I think someday i'll just ask her ^^. First time, I read a shoujo prioritizing families and trusting others and that's what made this manga so warm and fun to read. First time, that there is no beach/pool scene at summer too xD
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