How a young woman, romantically and professionally broken, will once again get a taste for life when she leaves the city to live in the countryside... Shino feels totally lost in her life. She goes out with a past work colleague, Masaki, quite macho...and troubles at her work make her leave it. She moves out, takes her independence, moves away from Masaki and settles in a tiny room in an old building of suburbs. On her arrival, she finds a little garden she shares with her neighbours, a couple her own age. And little by little, she feels more and more attracted to the mysterious man who lives next door.
I'm not going to lie... I wanted to give it a chance after reading the premise and the negative review. And I can't say I was disappointed. On the contrary, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
I don't normally read Josei, and if you fall into that category as well you might not want to jump in with this story. It is fun yet bittersweet, with seemingly random moments of comedy. In truth, the comedy is quite dark at times, highlighting the main character's flailing attempts at grasping adulthood.
For starters, the brief up top is not at all accurate, in my opinion. If
I were to re-write it, it would go something more like this:
A young woman, having been tangled in a complicated relationship and suffering from excessive stress at work, decides to throw it all away and attempt to start over. She ends up at her Uncle's apartment complex, where she envies her neighbor's garden. She has always loved plants, but could never get them to thrive. It turns out that her neighbor (who is also her boss) has a girlfriend that tends to the vegetables and flowers. When she starts to develop feelings for her neighbor/boss, things become complicated again as she realizes what love is, even as she tries to cope with adulthood. (Okay I just threw that together, but it's accurate.)
I felt this story was strong, complex, and interesting. It touched me, likely because I found it to be highly relatable. It's about the struggles of a young woman trying to find herself in life and in love. She's had unfortunate relationships in the past (partly due to her own ambivalence), and she's struggled with who and what she wants to be. It's a picture of the modern issue of the "extended adolescence." It's compelling, even as it's bittersweet (oftentimes more bitter than sweet) and even a little painful to read sometimes.
Okay, the art isn't fantastic. It's rough around the edges, but I feel that it suits the manga's theme and style. To be honest, if all the characters were bishies, I'd be more than a little disappointed. Overall it's still enjoyable though, especially the scenes with plants in them. It almost felt like the plants got the most attention to detail.
Well, here's my favorite part. The characters shine, in my opinion. For example, Shino, the main character, is a painful joy to read. She's lost in a sea of uncertainty, not knowing what she wants in life, or how to even live her life. She's at a stagnant point at almost 25 where she has no real direction or path. Yet she still strives for... something. She wants to find that spark. Her clumsy grasping at relationships, work, and life in general have a realistic feel to them, making her a relatable (if painful) character to read about. In fact, all of the characters have a complexity and depth that make them seem like real human beings you could meet, fleshing them out and giving more power to the story.
Maybe I'm going to have to amend my "I don't normally read Josei..." because I really liked this story. While the art wasn't amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and characters. As you read, you want to learn more and more about them, you want to hope they don't make the same mistakes again (or the same ones you made). It's a roller coaster of emotions, but it's a fun ride.
If Josei/Drama/Bittersweet Romance is your thing, definitely check this out, you won't regret it. The story is right, the atmosphere is right, the characters are believable, and it's the right mix to set your emotions into overdrive. I wouldn't check this out if you're looking for sappy, lovey-dovey romance, or even a HEA (still haven't read the end, so I don't know). I'm not sure if this is the first Josei I'd jump into either, but if you're a fan of YA+ literature or in your early-to-mid 20s, this might just be a story for you.
I felt that the storyline was fairly unique, and to be honest, it caught my eye for a while and was on my "Plan to Read" for a long time. I was actually very excited to get the time to read this manga. Unfortunately, it was very disappointing. I felt very disconnected from the storyline. I couldn't relate in the slightest and I felt that the pace was too slow for me. The overall plot was pretty good, but I didn't feel a connection to it, so I dropped this manga.
The art...wasn't the most appealing that I've seen. It might just be my opinion, but
I felt that the lines were somewhat crooked and messy. I found it appalling, and my first impression of the neighbor was very...bad. He didn't look appealing in the least to me. He didn't look like a main character should. The girl's art was okay, but it was also messy and not my style. However, this art also isn't the worse I've seen, so I gave it a 5.
Character development was okay. We get the gist of their personalities and an inside of their thoughts. I found it very bland, however, which also made me drop this book. I felt no connection to the characters, and I find some aspects of the characters annoying.
This only received a 3 because of the interesting storyline. I tried very hard to like this story and give it a shot, but I just dropped it in the end because it had nothing that appealed to me any longer.
I don't really recommend this to anyone. I'm a person who is a graphics guru and I love amazing art WITH a good plotline. However, I guess if you don't care much about the art and you're there for the story, this might be a good manga for you to read. I don't normally give bad reviews, but I believe this is just based on personal opinions. I feel that this is a book you'll either really hate or really love. It's unfortunate that I fell under disappointed.