Since Yuuka's mother died at an early age, Yuuka turned out to be the one taking care of her child-like father. Right before high school started, Yuuka's dad announced his remarriage with Satou Masami. Masami-san turned out to be a reliable, responsible person, so Yuuka finally thought she's off the hook. That is, until she finds out about her new older brother...
This is quite an interesting love story. For one thing, the main romantic love interest is a teacher at the heroine's school, and for another, he's her stepbrother. It's two forbidden loves tied into one. It's more about the two of them being step-siblings rather than teacher and student, though. Taichi is unabashed about declaring his love for his newfound sister while Yuka doesn't even bother hiding her disgust. There's that detail, though, the fact that they aren't officially registered as brother and sister yet, which makes the both of them internally question what they are to each other.
I was continuously reminded of Haruhi and
Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club as I read Sugar Family. Haruhi is annoyed by Tamaki's constant talking and attachment to her as a surrogate father within the host club, acting quite indifferent when his feelings are hurt (though he is pretending, I think). Yuka and Taichi are almost the same excepting that they're sister and brother rather than daughter and father. Classmates even comment on Yuka's coldness towards her brother, which she ignores. It can be quite amusing at times.
Though even I was annoyed at the way her brother was acting so openly loving at school, it made their accidental romantic moments seem even more special. The large contrast upped the romance factor very well and made me ship them a ton. Heck, if I were Yuka I probably would have fallen for sensei as well. I suppose a few of them might have been cliche moments, but they still made my heart swell.
The reader is able to see Yuka's thoughts maturing as she grows into a better person because Sugar Family deals with a lot of themes: the slow realization that your life is now how it seems, that there are things that you might be stopping yourself from feeling without knowing it, and that there are people who think of you more often than you are aware of... I guess a lot of things can come to light when you meet the person who shows them to you.
I liked the artwork a lot. The men were definitely handsome and Yuka was pretty cute, too, though I might have thought that because Taichi kept saying so lol. The distant look in the characters' eyes made me think of the artwork in Ouran High School Host Club as well. Sometimes I wish they were more detailed, though. The clothes were drawn nicely, too. Overall it was quite pretty.
Despite how well this story progressed, I wished it were a little longer. Though the ending wasn't abrupt exactly, I thought more romance could have been added before the final scene. Of course, that just might be due to my love for shoujo.
Are the Japanese very unwell? It amazes me how many deceased parents there are in shoujo manga, but Sugar Family outdoes them all. The first four families you meet have 1 deceased or absent parent, so that everyone has their personal sob story.
I enjoyed this manga well enough, but it doesn't change the fact that the story is poorly strung together. Teacher and student become step-siblings; teacher has immediate sister complex; student has family issues; 10+ chapters are dedicated to heightening tension by continuously repeating dialogue from a few conversations: "Sensei needs a sister..." "If only we were real siblings..." "We just want to always
be together..." Again, and again, and again.
Ultimately, the manga wraps up too quickly and the reader doesn't really get to see the transition in characters' feelings, considering all the obvious conflicts surrounding them. Some extended epilogue chapters would have been beneficial.
Overall, I recommend reading this if you're looking for a more capable shoujo heroine and cheerful/affectionate male lead. Sometimes the genre can be saturated with breathy girls and surly men, and this is a nice break from that dynamic.
If you're a fan of teacher-student relationships or relationships between step-siblings, I recommend this manga. So many other mangas similar to this usually have the student instantly in unrequited love with the teacher, but I like how this one has a slow developing relationship between them. The girl/student develops an attraction towards him, but hides it by often showing an indifferent and cold attitude. Meanwhile, the man/teacher has a sister complex towards her, but doesn't realize that his love for her is that of a lover.
I eagerly await the next chapters!!
While I've never been big on the whole "teacher x student" thing--this was amazing! I absolutely adore Taichi! I would suggest this to anyone :D It was both funny and adorable at the same time. If you're anything like me, this will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for the next chapter release :D