May 5, 2020
A collection of unhealthy relationships.
Broadly each story focuses on outcomes of dealing with clashes in desired relationships, often in its most messed up and uncomfortable misdeeds. Sex out of frustration, exploitative relationships, rape, teacher-student abuse, awkward and messy coming-of-age, pornography, ghosts, homosexuality, divorce, insufficiently requited love, loneliness, and so on. Though not always downers, these are heavy stories.
It's a love-it-or-hate-it kind of dramatic writing.
Stories start somewhere in the middle and taper off rather than climax.
Impactful plot-points are glazed over or skipped.
Scenes are short and tend to move on abruptly, to the point that it's hard to tell how much time passed.
Most things aren't
Its almost mumblecore-ish dialogue is either mundane or, if dramatic, direct and subdued.
Characters tend to talk over the other with plenty of abrupt declarations or dismissals from awkwardness.
It all gives the pacing a very jumpy feeling, which works great with tiny shifts in drama and humor under a heavy blanket of damage.
Rather than telling a story, the focus is on characters' actions and reactions, either silently emotive or in their contemplative monologue. You have to read between the lines. The pay-off is satisfying and subtly emotive experience, perfect for dealing with trauma.
The art-style is more on the realistic side and usually stiff and flat (not to say it isn't nice in its Josei appeal). It makes up for it with emotive framing and by going well with the tone of the stories.
If you like your romance uncomfortable and drama sexual and depressing, but without too much intense and over-blown emotions, and with some points of relief, it's fine and consistent.
What did you think of this review?