Crayon Days is a very good manga that is frustratingly close to greatness--if you like shoujo romances, that is. (If you don't like high school shoujo romances, go elsewhere.)
Story (8): Plot outline is just a simple twist on a shoujo standard: plain country girl who loves to draw but has no especial talent for it goes to a Tokyo high school that specializes in the arts, and there she meets a dreamy-but-cold (and did I mention brilliant?) classmate with whom she instantly clashes. They clash, she brings out his best, they attract, he has a playboy best friend, he has a
pretty ex-... you can imagine where it goes from there.
The story does have pacing issues. Some of the character back stories are never fully fleshed out. And the ending, while satisfying, felt very rushed.
Still, I give it high marks because of how its told. The story isn't original, but it is wonderfully lacking in melodrama. The characters actually communicate with each other (shocking, I know), and thereby avoid most of the unnecessary misunderstanding crap that drives most shoujo melodrama. They are also wonderfully upfront with each other and with themselves about their feelings.
Art (7): Ironically, for a manga about art, the artwork is probably the low point. The characters all look fine, everyone is distinct, no one ever looked ugly, and I never noticed any wonky perspectives. For better or worse, everything has a pretty standard shoujo manga look. On the downside, we never get any close-ups of the supposedly beautiful artwork that the characters are drawing, and it is often turned to the side or obscured. Other than a couple sketches of birds, the mangaka never really used the artwork as an opportunity to show off, and I was somewhat disappointed by that.
Character (9): The characters here were awesome. As i said before, they were all remarkably upfront with their thoughts and emotions, and they communicated with each other. The main couple's romance, once it gets going, is remarkably refreshing: they fall in love with each other as whole people and not just with the good or convenient parts of each other. The side characters are interesting and I wish that we had gotten to know them better, particularly the main girl's next door neighbors.
Enjoyment (9): Anytime I love every minute of a manga and wish that there had been more, that's a good sign.
Overall (8): It's a little stereotypical and a little rushed. But if you love shoujo romances (High School Debut, SA, Maid-Sama, Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu) then you'll like this one. Crayon Days is not as long nor as in depth as those I mentioned... but you'll wish that it had been given more chapters so that it had more of a chance to be.
I love Crayon Days! And yes again my review contains 70% of what I felt while reading this and the rest 30% is on the technical side. So there, don't go all judgy on me coz this review is coated with bias on how I felt. Haha.
The story technically isn't that much of a wow but the feels it gave me was ooh. Shima, the main female character is a countryside girl who went to an art school in Tokyo. The countryside bumpkin Shima (as common as every other manga with this back story) was treated like a country bumpkin she is. She then stumbled
into a painting Saji the main male character who as usual is the school heart throb genius. From there the story moves where they both clash on most occasions, the countryside talent less bumpkin Shima versus the kill-me-now-gorgeous genius Saji. It's like Natsume Hyuuga and Mikan Sakura feels from Gakuen Alice but a little bit more mature (just a little bit at first though haha)
The art was awesome! I instantly fell in love with Saji and I like Shima! The characters are likeable and not at all annoying. Most of shoujo mangas' heroines annoy the hell out of me but Shima did not. I do not love her nor do I curse her to death so that says a lot for me. She's strong and not someone who needs constant reassurances which I hate on typical no brainer shoujo manga heroines. On the other hand, what I like on Saji aside from him being a gorgeous genius painter is that when he wanted someone, he sticks to it. I hate hate hate male protagonists who is always confused about what he truly feels when there is an annoying third girl involved especially from their effin past. I mean c'mon get over the girl already. Anyway Saji is in no way like that so that's what makes him the star in my eyes! Haha.
The scenes though typical still makes me go weeee and the ending was great. No cliffhangers or whatnot. The story delivered what I need during the time that I'm searching for something that could make me excited with love again and it did manage the trick somehow. So kudos!