Kazunari Usa's dream to live away from his parents is fulfilled when they allow him to move into an old boarding house called Kawai Complex. With his landlady providing him meals and his parents covering his rent, Kazunari finally achieves the peaceful life he longs for, as he is ready to enter his first year at high school. Or so it seems...
Upon moving into the boarding house, Kazunari finds out that he has to share a room with resident masochist Shirosaki. He must also live under the same roof as Mayumi Nishikino, a drunkard with a hopeless love life, and Sayaka Watanabe, a seemingly innocent college student. Although he is surrounded by these unique characters, Kazunari still counts himself lucky to be living in the same building as Ritsu Kawai, a second-year student he has a crush on.
As Kazunari settles into the boarding house, he soon realizes that the inhabitants of Kawai Complex are bound to add a twist to the life he has been hoping to live.
Bokura wa Minna Kawai-sou is the kind of manga that will catch a reader's attention in the first few chapters itself. It manages to live up to the expectations of people who have seen the anime adaptation and come to the manga looking for more. It's a Slice of Life so the main plot progresses at its own pace, but you'll never find yourself getting bored of it. There's always something entertaining going on at the Kawai complex.
The story itself isn't something extraordinary. It's a tale of 6 people - 4 adults and 2 students, each having their own eccentric personalities - living in the
same housing complex. What makes the manga special is the way the chemistry between the characters works. Their daily interactions make your heart flutter and make you chuckle, also managing to make you laugh out loud at times. The tone of the manga is consistent throughout - you'll often find yourself smiling as you read the chapters - and it's hard to stop reading once you get attached to the characters, which is bound to happen sooner than later.
The romance between the main couple is the driving aspect of the story, and the fact that it gets proper closure is something to look forward to. No one wants to be left hanging when it comes to ships, right? Every character has a role to play, and the way their personalities have been written is what causes the comedy to work very well. They all compliment and play off each other, making it an amusing read.
Being a character-driven story, it's interesting to see how each characters' quirks, habits and back-stories are revealed as the story progresses, adding newer comedic elements for the readers to look forward to. There are several running gags in the manga, like Shiro's masochism, Sayaka's phobias and how her bare-face is always covered in mosaic, Chinatsu's pseudo-sadism, Usa's makeup phobia and Mayumi's hate for innocent, pure romance.
The lead couple - Ritsu and Usa - form an adorable pair. While Usa's character doesn't change all that much, watching Ritsu's character develop and open up to Usa is a heart-fluttering experience which leaves you wanting for more. It happens very naturally and realistically, one of the reasons I consider the romance to be great. There are no accidental panty shots or boob grabs which would cause the characters to blush uncontrollably - no, had that been the case, I wouldn't be here writing this review. It is simple and innocent, without much drama involved. The side characters are like a cherry on top of the cake and their appearances are something to look forward to - they play a major role in furthering the romance.
The art is very clean and appealing. Panels featuring a single character look especially great, since the mangaka goes all out with the details. My favorite panels are the ones featuring Ritsu blushing. The mangaka did an incredible job at making her look enchanting in those panels, and I often found myself coming back to look at particular panels to admire the artwork. (#TopTierWaifuMaterial)
Overall, I think it's a great read. It's oblivious to reality however, so don't go about comparing the manga to your real life since that could possibly send you spiraling into several days of melancholy.
A manga like Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou can really mess you up. It can destroy your libido for weeks, make getting out of bed hard and going to work/school/neet-activities even harder. Overall just suck the will to live out of you. Why? We'll get into that later.
The story is not anything spectacular, in fact, in five years when I've read more this and that, I'll come back and call it slightly generic. But in a industry that thrives on re-using scenarios and ideas, you always have to have something special to succeed. Some cases it's a twist that has never been seen before (for example
the first usage of tentacles). Some cases it's as simple as a well written story and characters. I'll let you figure out which one applies to this series.
Lets chew on the story a bit.
Like implied, cliches do occur. But what makes Bokura wa Minna different in my eyes, is that it does not dwell on these matters. There is no need to rip your hair out out of frustration, no need for unnecessary screaming at the monitor for not giving us what we want, because the progress is smooth and natural. Yes, the story has a slow pace, but that comes as a given when one of the tags is Slice of Life and not Hentai. The clothes are not supposed to come off at page 2. As long as they come off before the series ends. Author, take notes!
Driver on the story is romance, seen mainly from the focus point of Usa Kazunari, the male lead. The struggle for the attention of Kawai Ritsu is full of embarrassment, hardship and heartwarming moments. I'd call it basic moe-shit, if not for the realistic way it is presented. Not once did I roll my eyes when the characters blushed up bright red, because it felt natural. And when someone makes it hard on Usa because f*ck youth, I did not pause my reading for a cigarette and curse the author to the core of the planet, because it isn't used a break for the story when handy, but as a source of comedy from the very beginning.
And if romance is on the drivers seat, comedy is riding shotgun, and in charge of the dialogue. And hentai, who was left out, would be shocked to see what this guy is writing.
The series does give you a scent of comedy from the very beginning, but you'll be surprised just like I was. It gets dirty, specific and shameless. I mean, how many times have you heard/read the words dick and cheese together? For me, it was a first, but I might be just a inexperienced virgin, who knows. The comedy goes deep, and for many beyond the borders of their comfort-zone.
Naturally, the comedy comes mainly from the characters and their interactions. The small community of the Kawai complex includes two males and four females. And in my eyes, every single one of them deserve the title of a main character.
The dirty adult trio that is tasked with the dirty jokes and being a nuisance to Usa, the lovely but surprisingly scary grandma, and our main character couple that are in charge of the awww-moments. They all play a significant role in making this manga what is is, and their chemistry is either freakishly good luck or work of a genius author.
Usa Kazunari is not a main character who would be in the finals when MC-world championships are held, but he is a likeable and not in any way a bland boy, who's job is to be the foundation of the romance and a gear in the comedymachine, and I'd say he's earned his paycheck.
Kawai Ritsu / senpai / Rit-chan is a female lead that can be described with one word: absolutelyf*ckingadorable. She is the quiet type with character, in other words a bookworm with balls. She's a valid reason for an adult man to say "I prefer 2D women" and give a cold shoulder to the smelly 3D ladies, and after reading this manga, the women can only shrug their shoulders in defeat.
Now, for the last point, the art. I do not emphasize art when comes to anime/manga, but this one did manage to send shivers done my spine from time to time. The overall quality is high, and when the artist goes for the close-ups on characters showing various emotions, I froze and stared at the screen for a moment in awe.
Overall, asks the rating system, and I declare awesome, touching and hilarious. I encourage you to pick it up, and witness the joys and horrors of living in the Kawai complex.
Oh, right! Why is it so depressing? Right, right. Well, simply put, after reading this and comparing it's environment and overall life to your own, don't you just feel empty and unfulfilled? It painstakingly oblivious to the real world and it's ways, and that just a f*cking bummer. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go re-watch the anime and sigh oh. so. deeply. between episodes.
This is the most recent review of this Manga, as the other 2014 one is not what one would describe this manga.
Who am I kidding? It's still adorably amazing.
I'm assuming you read the synopsis, by the way.
Manga in short: Underrated SoL romcom that is legitimately funny and actually progresses in romance.
Art: Decent, above average at best. Sometimes scenery in the manga is good, since they live in the mountains sort of.
Characters: They're not unique on their own, but if together they make up a hilarious bunch: Your regular kind-hearted MC, a cute, anti-social bookworm whom MC is in love with, a masochist novelist, a beauty
who only dates jerks, and a cakey.
Comedy: It's funny for a SoL--interpret that anyway you want.
+/- of Manga:
+ Good romance that goes somewhere (especially chapter 78)
+ Likable characters
+ Meets your SoL fix
-- Updates monthly (slow, if you didn't get it)
Good read if you like SoLs, romcoms (that are good), plot progression, and a kind of hard-to-get/tough nut to crack girl.
It has been more than two years that I watched the anime and started reading the manga. Every time a new chapter would come out and one would usually come out after three months or so I would stop everything and read it.
This manga is really special to me and I don't know why. It just is. The jokes were awesome, the characters were awesome, the romance was awesome, the art was awesome.
There probably won't be another manga just like this for quite a while atleast for me. If you are thinking about starting it, then just start it. Watch the anime first. Believe me,
it is very beautiful. After that start reading the manga where the anime left off. Don't binge it. Take your time. Slowly.
If there was a physical release, I would have bought it. This was a good one.