Nov 7, 2010
~ Please be advised that this review contains some spoilers~
Two individuals, both with a rather lonely existence, lost in their own secluded worlds. After a chance encounter, what happens when they converge? Will they become found?
Itou Haruya had found success after writing his novel, but instead of creating his next best-seller, he finds himself uninspired and forced to eke out a living as a columnist. Itou seems aloof and lives a rather solitary life in the countryside just outside Tokyo. His only real visitor is his editor and occasional lover, Yagisawa Kei. Yagisawa, an old college friend, has been trying to encourage Itou to write
novels again, but to no avail. One day Itou comes across 17-year-old Hidaka Maki on the beach, his interest in this young man begins to alter the isolated life he's built for himself.
When reading Miyamoto Kano’s stories, you discover that the dialog is mature and made to be a realistic discussion between her characters. In Te wo Tsunaide, Sora wo, the conversations along with her delicate artwork, blend together to set the overall tone of intimacy between the main characters. Even though Maki is depicted with having serious anxiety, you get the sense of how he’s been quietly hurting inside especially with his gentle, yet painful expressions which evoke pathos within the reader.
As the story begins we find Itou distracting himself from his writer’s block. For a writer, the work exposes pieces of themselves within the pages. The vulnerability while creating, coupled with the high expectations after success can be overwhelming. He comes across as a laid-back man who lives a leisurely lifestyle; it is an exile he’s chosen for himself. Behind this image you’ll find someone who is kind yet cruel, strong yet weak. The complex nature suits the character Itou, especially with how he interacts with his long time friend and lover Yagisawa.
Yagisawa’s emotional connection to Itou makes him both a victim and antagonist in the story, and Itou is certainly not without blame. It is because of Itou’s avoidance of facing Yagisawa, which leads Yagisawa to an unfortunate encounter filled with misdirected anger toward Maki.
Though it is a common theme in writing, I was a little put off by the idea of the “love conquers all” approach to what seemed like a debilitating problem for Maki. While I do find that the substantive influence between Maki and Itou is believable, the pace of the outcome is what makes it less so.
As much as I enjoyed Te wo Tsunaide, Sora wo (given the title Two Hearts for the English publication), I preferred the sequel Amayakana Toge (Sweet Thorn) which follows directly after in the time line and focuses on editor Yagisawa. Other titles within this Universe are Aisanai Otoko (The Man Who Wouldn't Fall in Love) and Vanilla Star. I inquired recently whether Miyamoto Kano Sensei had given a name to this Universe, but she said it had no official name as of yet. However, she refers to it, albeit only temporarily, as the “Publisher Series” or the “Toge Series.”
Te wo Tsunaide, Sora wo was originally a 6 chapter volume, but was re-released in Japan with bonus chapters. The reprint includes an additional story called Secret that takes place after the events in Amayakana Toge. Plus 3 chapters from Make me Happy (Kiss me, Daddy - Make Me Happy - Walkin' on the Moon) and 3 one shots (Fade – Closed - Echo Night.)
- Written for the Miyamoto Kano Society -
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