Lacking in self-esteem and suffering from social anxiety, eighth-grader Hikage Sumino has remained unnoticed throughout her life. Upon entering middle school, she made a personal resolution to make some friends, but even at the end of her first year, she remains fruitless. Her only comforts are a lonely flower she found and regularly cares for, and "1 Centimeter of Happiness," her sunflower-themed internet blog where she regularly posts her thoughts and experiences. Though she usually gets only two visitors on her blog, Hikage finds satisfaction in their comments and appreciates their support.
One day, she is surprised to find out that two of the most popular boys of her school, Hinata Mutou and Teru Mikami, are aware of her presence and remember her name. Dazed by this sudden revelation, she posts about this encounter on her blog and gets an inspiring comment from one of her regular visitors. Taking her internet friend's advice, she gains some confidence and aspires to change her world for the better.
Koko ni Iru yo! was first published in English as I Am Here by Del Rey Manga, who released one 2-in-1 omnibus on November 23, 2010 before going defunct. Kodansha Comics USA took over the license and published the second and final omnibus on July 26, 2011, and republished the first omnibus on December 18, 2012.
An amazing, beautiful manga.
People don't really take notice of those lone wolves in the world. They believe that they prefer to be alone, to be secluded from humanity. Though, 99% of the time that isn't the case. It's lonley, and Sumino is the perfect character to show the truth.
Hinata's help to bring Sumino into the sunlight is extremly touching. For those who have felt such lonliness will be sure to shed some tears for this manga.
Beautiful art work, beautiful story, just an all beautiful manga.
Ever had a conversation on the internet that felt more meaningful than real-life ones? I’m sure you had. Anyone who has been on the internet for more than a week is familiar with this. The point is though, does this phenomenon take a place in your life? Does it matter to you whether the person you talk to online – and online only – is available or not? Sometimes, these kind of online conversation can mean so much to people, can be so helpful and encouraging. It can even upset them if the person they talk to is not available anymore. But to what extent
are those online conversations meaningful?
I am here!
The phrase that sums up Sumino Hikage, the main character of the manga with the same title. She’s an 8th grader with a very reserved personality. If she gets picked on, she doesn’t speak up. If somebody bumps into her, she’s the one to apologize. She’s just someone who doesn’t want any problems and shows that in a way that comes off very lonely. See, nobody notices her.
Sumino could be the plainest girl you’ve ever seen in a manga. No eye-catching features, no bizarre personality, no weird clothes. And this works so perfectly in this story. Sumino struggles all her life with the fact that there is no one around that acknowledges her fully. Everybody just seems to look over her and then move on without wanting to know what kind of girl she is. This results in her being lonely with no real friends. And what’s worse, people THINK she wants to be lonely because she doesn’t really do anything to socialize. Blame it on her personality or her ordinary appearance, but this makes it very easy to sympathize with her.
This puts Sumino in a vicious circle. She does not want to be lonely but can’t get any friends. People see that she hasn’t got any friends so people think she likes to be lonely. And that circle, is what makes Sumino such a believable character. Anyone can understand this situation and has experienced it to some extent. But because she’s so invisible and reclusive, she just can’t break out of that circle even though she wants it so badly. It’s sad to see that something that appears to be so easy, is actually not possible to do without at least one other person. It takes two to break a circle, and lucky for Sumino, she’s got 1,5.
Because Sumino has an online blog. Not just any blog. A very personal blog. She posts pictures of nature there and writes articles to ease the loneliness. But sadly, that doesn’t work out either. Nobody seems to comment on her efforts. Even her blog seems to get overlooked without anyone caring about it. She even goes so far to make a public request to anyone reading her blog, to leave a comment. Anyone.
And luckily, her efforts were not in vain. She finally got someone to comment on her blog. A long-time reader and first-time commenter. Their online relationship begins to grow as this person comments more and more, boosting Sumino’s confidence. This person even begins to motivate and cheer for Sumino to find friends in the real world. ‘’Work hard! You can do it!’’. And finally, someone noticed her at school. From here on, Sumino’s real-life journey begins. Together with the help of the growing number of people who cheer for her online, she starts being pro-active and successfully makes friends. She’s even got a love-life starting.
Although the story of the manga is very well-told and makes freshly use of modern phenomena, there are some things that aren’t done very well. All the characters are your typical Shoujou-characters. Sumino is the shy girl next door who can’t do anything on her own. The first person to fully acknowledge her in real-life is the handsome and popular student whom everybody likes. Of course, he seems to be attracted to Sumino somehow. And the love-rival of Sumino is also your typical girl who picks a fight at every possible moment. The only ones who truly excel at being interesting characters are the people on Sumino’s blog. They seem to truly care about her and show that in a way that’s very touching. Helping people via the internet is very normal in the modern day but may be frowned upon by some. This manga shows that there is nothing wrong with online contacts and can even be a genuine source of help. These characters also become more and more important at the end of the manga with a nice plot-twist.
Koko ni Iru yo! is a story for anyone that can relate even a slightest bit to the idea of receiving help online for normal problems. The art is truly beautiful and highlights the innocence of particularly Sumino who does not chooses to be lonely, though she can’t really do anything about it herself. If you can stomach some stereotypical Shoujou elements here and there and focus on the message of the story, this will be one familiar ride you do not want to miss.
This story, while it does have the annoying stereotypical "shy girl", is very touching and absolutely lovely!
The story is very realistic and one that many people can relate to. It's not too complicated or complex, but is very interesting and encouraging for people who have the same problem. While a few parts are a bit exaggerated (Especially when she's practically invisable, even shy people aren't that unnoticed!), most of the story is very touching and realistic.
The art was pretty good! Although in some parts I found some characters to be a little too similar, even to the point I wasn't sure who
it was until their name was said somewhere in the dialogue. The backgrounds are simple and keep the focus on the most important part: the characters. The characters were also pretty great! Nearly everyone was appealing to the eye and very handsome/pretty!
I think this is almost the lowest point in the manga because of the stereotipycalness, if that's even a word. The main characters were pretty much: The shy girl who wants to become stronger and more confident (Hikage), the kind top student who is also very athletic (Hinata), and the handsome and popular boy who is actually very lonely and hides his kindness behind straightfoward and honest words (Teru). While those type of people really DO exist in real life, it's been over-used in so many manga and anime that I find it sort of annoying. The only reason I gave it an 8 was because of my irritation. But this is a very short manga so I can't expect excellent characterization. The way the relationships developed, however, was quite nice :)
I really enjoyed this series! Not only because of how realistic it is, but because I could relate to it. I went through the same thing and did nothing, and I regret that. I live in a different place now, and because of what happened before became quite the out-going, straightforward girl... The story really touched me and made me want to go back in time and act as Hikage did :)
Lovely story, realistic (Yet somewhat stereotypical) characters, good art, and something that gives shy/loners a bit of hope. It's a good story, especially for the small amount of chapters it had! If you're looking for a good entertaining, yet short, series to read I'd recommend this one! :)
This manga is absolutely stunning.
It is, in my opinion, extremely realistic overall, but there is also a slight hint of classic shoujo--shy girl, no friends, afraid to talk to everyone--and instead finds joy in her online friends who comment on her blog, Black Rabbit and MegaPIG. No doubt, Koko ni Iru yo is one of the most encouraging manga I have ever read. Even if it is just a manga, it, at least for me, gave me courage and lifted my spirits highly. ^^
Art: Such pretty artwork! In my opinion it was above average of most shoujo. The official color pages were colored amazingly and
the characters were very nice. And of course, the guys were total bishies. I've got to admit, I'm a big art freak--I usually can't read a manga with below average art. But I've got to say this mangaka's drawings are the best I've seen in a very long time.
Characters: I think the main character, Hikage, was extremely well developed. She starts out as an anti-social person who just wants to fit in and gradually, with the encouragement of her online friends MegaPIG and Black Rabbit, she does. It doesn't happen automatically like in some manga, Hikage trying to fit in actually takes time and I thought that was great. The other two main side characters, Hinata and Teru, I also thought were very nicely portrayed. ^^ I love them both and honestly, it's really hard to hate any character.
Enjoyment: I tried to stay up all night reading this but unfortunately I wasn't allowed to, heh~. I was so into Koko ni Iru Yo that I spent all my free time at school reading it. Because GOSH it's addicting. Most chapters left me hanging off my seat and wanting more.
Story: VERY sweet. I can't even describe the cuteness of this manga~. It's good all the way up to it's last chapter and in my opinion it was the perfect length. It didn't drag, and yet it wasn't too short either. I was personally very pleased with the final pairing, and I know some might think otherwise, but for me the person who she ends up with made this manga very unique. ^^ This storyline is definitely at the top of my list.
Overall: This manga will always be one of my favorites. Koko ni Iru yo made me smile the entire way through and was just amazing. You won't regret reading it, it's definitely one to pick up if you have time and a must-read. Don't judge a manga by it's cover, especially not this one. Ema Tooyama did a wonderful job on this series and everything turned out beyond my expectations.