Oct 1, 2009
I struggled between giving this a 7 or an 8 (good or very good). It's based on how you preceive the story. This is the second piece I've read by this mangaka, I've been taken in by the originality in the style of drawing. That's what first drew me in. I'm currently on Sukitte Ii na yo, which is stil in the ongoing process and it was my introduction to her style of writing and drawing I fell in love with both.
Now to discuss this work. This will focus mainly on the broad theme of the 5 one-shots
in this piece, they all revovle around loneliness, love, and earlier heartbreak. However, the most dominating is loneliness. On that aspect you see how loneliness can drive people to various aspects of desperation as seen in the fourth and last one-shot. They are the more extreme examples.
The first one-shot focuses on a Student/Teacher relationship. This is of course a cliched storyline in which the student and teacher are neighbors. The student is male and seems to have a party of sexual deviance every night to the dismay of his neighbor. His neighbor a relatively young teacher at his school (who is also his homeroom teacher) lives alone and focuses hersel around her job, keeping up appearances of being happy, jolly, and fun while in fact she goes to be early and alone to the noises of her neighbor. Overall the story is rather mediocre and mundane since it's so classic. All in all it didn't give me anything much except how impressed I seemed by the lead male. There was something about him that appealed to me. However I feel the same about a lot of her heros. I would give this a 4 out of 10 (it's too mediocre).
The second one-shot deals with unrequited love. This one is realistic almost to a tee, I've known couples like this and the girls suffering. Sadly, it's a girl suffering---however an almost similar story happens in the one-shot immediately following but in the reverse role. In any event, girl falls for guy and is willing to take him anyway she can...ie she willing becomes his toy just becasue she sees it as an ounce of returned affection. Thing is he's in a relationship. What's aggravation is the extent the woman allows herself to be dismissed or abused. However, at the same time..it's understandable and definitely mirrors reality. Many people thrust themselves in unfulfilling relationships wher one party is like a succubus who takes and never returns. However we see how this turns out in the long run and of course each manga has a happy ending of sort. However I found this guy emotionally taxing and abusive (just by the fact he was so careless with her emotions). Out of 10 this would get a 6.
The third one-shot is a serious social commentary which recounts a young girls dealing with DV (Domestic Violence), betrayal, and ultimately rescue from the unhealthy situation. Similar to the male in the above one shot, this male annoyed me as well. The male lead here was aware of everything going on and instead he allowed it to continue. All in all it was a failure and I just kept picturing her getting killed or hurt so bad she was hospitalized. However it's an important piece and shows how women allow the subjugation, abuse, and marginalization of themselves in this belief that they are in love or due to former images they were sold on when they entered the relationship. I would rate this out of 10, about a 5.
I believe I liked the fourth one-shot the best. Deals with an older gentleman who would like friendship and basically posts an advert like on craigslist to meet up with someone. He gets a teenager girl as a companion and you sift through the various changes in their relationship and ultimately the culmination. I felt more connected to this couple. It definitely touches on extreme loneliness. I think what brings this home is that I have went through such a thing when I first moved to England at 19...so bone deep was the loneliness that I almost went and committed extreme acts. I have a friend who's come with me to France and she's currently doing the same thing. Posting on craigslist and trying to make friends. It's the loneliness that does it and it shows how weak humans are to such emotions. But it also touches on the fact that we need other people, that we crave relationships and bonds with other people, it's a basic instinct of human nature and to deny oneself results in acting out which is not always normal. In the case of the male lead in this role and the female lead it worked in both their favor. I'd give this an 8 out of 10.
The last one-shot is the saddest one. A young girl basically date raped and prostituted by someone she considered a friend because she thought she was doing all of this in the name of friendship. I knew girls like this in school----they will do whatever they can in order to keep somene they believed to be a friend, even if the so called "friend" made them do things that was harmful to them. Most would call the girl an idiot or weak, I felt bad for her, I pitied her that she allowed herself to fall prey to people like that. And at the same time it's our needs to be reassured to make sure that what we have that we derive pleasure from never goes away. It's like something precious that you have or own and if someone were to break it you'd cry, break down or lash out. You see value in it. And she allowed her belief in the "friendship" to put her into an unhealthy situation and unhealthy relationship. I liked the development of the story and the redemption of the lead male. All in all i found it a relatively original piece and I'd like to read more mangas like this.
I think this series of one-shots is worth the read, and keep in mind the theme is loneliness so the mangaka pushes that home all the chances she gets and shows the resolution in the end. The art work is an acquired tastes. Some people love it, some abhor it. I'm in the love it category----however her storylines are good and worth the read. I definitely recommend this and actually any of her others. If you haven't yet and would like to read a great ongoing on loneliness, individuality, and love then I recommend----Sukitte Ii na yo of hers. Great manga.
Reviewer’s Rating: 7
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