Shutaro is an unemployed single man who recently returned home from Tokyo. When he opens the door upon his return, he finds a silver-haired girl flapping her skirt in front of a fan. The girl is Nina, his niece, who aspires to be an Akiba Idol.
With Nina, Shutaro will have an unforgettable summer break and beyond...
Slice of life manga are typically character driven, and it's not always easy to get this aspect right. Many titles that fall into this genre fail to create truly memorable characters, ones that have enough depth to seem human. Instead, they opt for characters who usually don't have any personality beyond their set archetypes, which can usually be encompassed within a sentence or two. In an industry where such manga are dime-a-dozen, Shirogane no Nina comes as a breath of fresh air. I'll delve a little into the details below.
The setting is fairly simple - our protagonist, Shuutarou, comes back to his parents' house
after losing his job, only to find out that his 10-year-old half-Finnish niece, Nina, has moved in there. Since he's unemployed, he ends up entrusted with taking care of the girl. The rest of the manga follows the exploits of the various characters, centered around Nina.
There are a lot of chapters related to Japanese culture and food (more of the latter), so this manga is pretty helpful for those who are new to manga and/or Japanese culture.
The chapters of this manga are usually episodic, with a few arcs that span more than one chapter. The pacing is relatively slow, as it usually is with these types of manga.
**To those people who are still traumatized by the manga of Usagi Drop... don't worry, Shirogane no Nina isn't anything like that.
The artwork in this manga is quite clean and cute. The character art, especially Nina's, is well done. Her expressions when she eats new food are always cute and well drawn. Not much else to say in this department.
Shirogane no Nina features a relatively wide range of characters, all of whom are fairly likable. I'll mainly be talking about Nina, since the series revolves around her.
Foreigners, or even half-Japanese, are people who are actively avoided by most authors (which is not surprising, given how Japan is such a homogeneous society). Even if such characters are introduced into a story, their roles are usually quite minor. Not only that, making that character a child is even more challenging, since the mindset of a child is hard to understand and harder to portray. This is one of the reasons why I appreciate Nina. She is shown as a regular, down-to-earth little girl with normal dreams and a bright personality. She often gives off a similar feeling as Yotsuba from Yotsubato. Not only is she cute and funny, but she's also rather deep - there are a lot of rather subtle emotions that recur throughout the manga.
The various other characters are rather consistent in their behavior and slowly develop over time. There is very little romance in the series - whatever little can be called romance, is pretty much stagnant, and not cheesy at all.
Shirogane no Nina is one of those relaxing manga that can put a smile on your face. It is quite enjoyable to read, though it may not come to the level of Usagi Drop's anime or Barakamon, let alone Uchuu Kyoudai.
Overall (7.5/10 ~ 8/10):
While it may not be the best of it's genre, Shirogane no Nina is a fun read, with many cute moments to warm your heart. It is certainly worth a read especially in between other, more serious manga, or just whenever you need a pick-me-up.
With this, I conclude.