Azusa used to be bullied to the point where she begged her parents to move. In her new school, she's asked out by the most popular guy, Kasuga-kun. Afraid of being bullied again, she agrees. But she finds herself falling in love with Kawaguchi-kun and his strength. He gives her hope that she might finally break free from her past and find true love, but Kasuga-kun stares at her possessively with murderous eyes...
*I have only red the first 2 chapters because I can't find the others online*
I have to admit, I read way too much shoujo manga than I should. As much as I am a fan of it, I will readily admit that there's 5 basic plot lines to any shoujo. This manga does not fit any of them. It certainly isn't a very light hearted fluffy manga, and it certainly does not make me think of 16 other mangas while I read it. The plot line is very unique and it's definitely an interesting one. It starts out semi typical with the whole girl-who-was-bullied-moved-to-new-town-got-a-boyfriend
scenario, but then the plot line focuses on much much darker themes (ie bullying, rape, death, etc). Even though I only found 2 chapters online, it was enough to know that this story is amazing.
The art well... it wasn't something special to be honest. As I said I read and have read A LOT of mangas and this art is good, very good. But it's the type of art that a lot of shoujo mangakas draw. The trains were drawn really well, as were facial expressions, but in general it's not very special.
I hate saying 10 for this section when I haven't finished the manga yet, but I can only judge based on what I had read, and based on what I read, I say 10. All of the main characters were so complex. At first, you think Kawaguchi is just an otaku being bullied by the popular guy Kasuga who is dating Azusa, the new girl. But as you read, you realize how Azusa isn't just the new girl, Kasuga is popular but is not at all what he seems, and Kawaguchi isn't exactly the outcast for being the otaku. (Best I can explain without giving it away, sorry if it doesn't make sense).
Again, shoujos usually have the same basic plots, some naive or independent girl falls in love or is chased by a guy(usually popular) blah blah blah struggles blah blah love triangle blah blah they fall in love mutually and end up happily ever after. The manga is so different from those ones, it's like eating chocolate after having eaten only string beans for dinner. I loved it. The plot was so different and there were so many twists I didn't expect that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. The characters were all fairly unique as well( although the girl was kinda a typical).
What else can I say? I loved it.
Sekai no Hate ("The End of the World" in English) is kind of an odd manga in the "shoujo romantic drama" genre. As a guy who is into romance anime and manga (like AnoHana, Clannad, and Onani Master Kurosawa) but not really any shoujo ones, I can tell you this manga is really something completely different from most of the ones in the genre that I have come across. One of the biggest turnoffs for me personally is just the art style of normal shoujo manga, but I personally love this manga and this mangaka's art style in general (I checked this out after
reading a bit of "Hal" and she [Makino Aoi] also wrote "Rec: Kimi ga Naita Hi" which I'm planning on reading).
Story - 10/10
Azusa is a 2nd year middle school girl who convinced her parents to move because of how badly she was bullied at her old school for being a "goody two shoes." At her new school, she is almost immediately asked out by probably the most popular guy in her grade, Kasuga. She agrees even though she has absolutely no feelings for him at all simply because, as she was taught by the girls who used to be her friends at her old school, "by hanging out with popular people, you can avoid being bullied." The things is, Kasuga (and his group of friends who follow him) is a bully to "train otaku" Kawaguchi. After watching Kasuga throw Kawaguchi's pants out of the window one day, Azusa decides to do something. She finds his pants after school and cleans them, as well as finding his phone in the pocket. She meets up with him and begins to realize how similar the two of them are. She begins to like him and wants to break up with Kasuga, but the real plot and major problem for the characters starts here. Kawaguchi kisses Azusa, but Kasuga sees them. The next day after she first fails to break up with him, Azusa later finds the words and does so. Kasuga, however, does not take this news well at all, and from there everything spirals out of control.
And what I described is just the first chapter. By the end of chapter 2 (which I won't spoil) the story is fully into the drama, and trust me there is A LOT of drama in this. This is not something you should dive into if you are looking for a nice lighthearted romantic comedy.
Art - 9/10
Personally I think the character designs especially are just amazing, both for the guys and girls. Everyone has realistic proportions (there are no overly large muscles or boobs to be seen). Azusa is cute, and Kawaguchi actually has a great design. He's skinny and exactly what you would expect a loner like him to look like. The town and school are drawn nicely as well. The emotions of characters especially for Azusa are drawn perfectly to show how terrified and stressed out she sometimes is. The only two problems I can see is that none of the guys really show as much emotion as Azusa, but as a guy that didn't bother me though for girls reading this you may have a different opinion about that, and that some scenes were a little hard to follow where they were taking place (I thought something was happening in a school hallway but then I realized it was actually on the school roof).
Characters - 10/10
Kawaguchi is my favorite character in this, but Azusa is a good female lead especially knowing that this is a shoujo manga, and a lot of times (like with male leads in shounen romances) the female lead is often the weakest link. Azusa is caught up in the crazy, sudden events that are taking place in this story and just trying to not lose Kawaguchi and trying to keep the amount of people involved in the situation at a minimum (which isn't working out so far). Kasuga is really just there as a catalyst for the events, and clearly is not meant to be that likable of a characters, but he's really not that bad either. Kawaguchi, as I mentioned before, was bullied often by Kasuga and it is mentioned that they might have been friends in the past. Kawaguchi loves trains and the idea that they can take you anywhere so you can escape from this "horrible world." Kawaguchi is just a really likable male lead, in my opinion. No matter who you are, you will most likely be able to relate to his situation of being bullied, and, despite always imagining running away, really never doing anything about the situation. Not only that, but he thinks that there is no one else who can help him, especially his homeroom teacher. Until he meets Azusa, he is alone with only his caring grandfather to be with. Azusa is almost as alone as he is, and the two of them bond over that similarity. I really love watching them together, and they have quickly become one of my favorite couples.
Enjoyment - 10/10
It's a shame only 7 chapters are translated into English so far since the series ended about a year ago in 2012, but I was fully immersed in this manga right the end of the first chapter and especially after the second. The pacing is great: it's quick, but in no way too quick. It's one of those short manga that tells you from the first chapter to sit down, shut up, and read as much of the damn thing as there is to read. Good characters, great plot that is something different from normal shoujo romances, and good art.
*Edit: The 8th chapter came out recently (Mid July 2013) and it seems the manga is now being translated again, albeit very slowly*
I really recommend this to anyone who likes any kind of romantic drama manga whether you read shoujo ones or not. If the characters weren't in middle school, this might actually be Seinen or Josei due to the plot.
I was searching for a psychological manga, when i stumbled on this one, accidentally.
and the 1st 3 pages grasped me enough to read more. I think the writer tries to give the picture about how children are harassed and bullied by others, unconditionally. The artwork is absolutely superb and the story is very unique. The character development takes place in a contrasting fashion, like in a typical school how when some children smile like if nothing's happened while some are hurting and are being ignored on the outside..
I think the manga is moral itself to the world.