Ai-chan, a pretty student in her first year in a university, meets Tomo after she asks for a cigarette light from Ai. An apathetic, budding friendship ensues as they try and survive everyday university life together with the help of their daily does of caffeine and nicotine.
The story has two main characters where sometimes the point of view changes amongst them. The story focuses on their relationship as well as their individual pasts. The chapters flow quite well even with the flash backs to the pasts, but, this makes us as readers understand the characters more and as to why they behave in their present state. Personally, due to the nice flow of chapters and choice of scenes, I think it’s quite well done. The story was somewhat complex due to the drama and the hidden reasons for the cause of the drama, but, it’s not so complex as to confuse us about the story. It’s hard to say whether the story was predictable but I would say that the set-up of the characters and where the plot was leading was quite a good read as it was not boring. The pacing was good, especially with the use of the flash backs so nothing seemed too rushed. I won’t make any spoilers regarding the ending, but I would say that the ending has you thinking deeply, mostly because of the paths that the main characters lead up to. This seemed like a story of an encounter and the result of their paths after meeting. Overall I give it an 8 out of 10.
The art style is simplified and yet also has good structure. I quite like this style. The style seems unique and memorable what with the inking placements and the fine line-work. I believe the mangaka was going for a deep sort of a drama theme/mood and they certainly got the theme going with the way they set up the scenes with the choice of sketches put in. The art style seems to fit well in with the story and does not seem out of place at all. The manga panels were fluid throughout the whole work. I can safely say that the mangaka is a professional when it comes to keeping the art work fluid. The quality of the art was high and consistent throughout the work, not a single panel was done half-heartedly or completed in a less appealing manner. The backgrounds were not too distracting but were sometimes simple which was not a bad thing is as we are more focused on the characters. But, I will say that the background was drawn to match with the characters so nothing seemed too out of place or forced. I found the character designs quite appealing as they matched the personalities given by the mangaka. The characters were all drawn in their unique designs so telling them apart was quite easy. I generally liked the art style used in this manga. Overall I give it an 8 out of 10.
The characters were designed quite well. As a reader you will be able to tell quite quickly, the strengths and weaknesses once a character is introduced. Their personalities are shown quite nicely so we don’t end up wondering what they are like. The reactions the characters have to situations seem realistic and not forced. I quite enjoyed the way some characters interacted/reacted as in was entertaining to watch or rather it was the opposite of boring. I don’t want to spoil anything but I will I say that the main characters somewhat grow ever so slightly or rather at least one does. This manga mainly had two main characters, but the supporting characters were still visible without being forced into the story. I would say that they helped us as the reader to understand the main characters much better. There was no narration in the story; it was mainly the point of view of the main characters. Due to the ending of the story (which is will not spoil), I liked one of the main characters because she grew as an individual and that personally moved me. I think I would remember the main characters of this story, mostly because the story was quite deep with the drama set out and the way the story ended. Overall I give it an 8 out of 10.
I think that others will enjoy reading this manga because sometimes reading a sad or deep or a drama themed story is not always such a bad thing, since we as readers feel empathetic or sympathetic for the characters or the story in general. Non-manga fans would also enjoy reading this because the plot in general is quite moving. I would certainly read this manga all over again because the plot as well as the characters is quite moving. I would definitely want to keep this in my library even if I don’t read it again because the story is quite well done and deserves to be put on a shelf. Due to the drama and the ending of the story, I think it’s quite memorable because of the certain things (which I will not spoil) that occur with the characters. Overall I give it an 8 out of 10. read more
In a world where everything can get repetitive, there would be just one random day when you will meet someone very odd and obscure who will surprisingly and astoundingly change your life and thinking as a person. Basically, this is the premise of Amano Shuninta’s “Philosophia.”
Having previously read Shuninta-sensei’s sexy titles namely “Sweet Guilty Love Bites” and “Watashi no Sekai wo Kousei suru Chiri no You na Nani ka,” I was settled to give this manga a try with a preconceived notion of delicious playfulness as content. However, reading “Philosophia” has caught me off-guard. I should have known better with such a sober-sounding title! “Philosophia” is serious in theme, mature in story, cryptic in characterization, dark in twists, depressing in secrets, while bitter-sweet in the end.
The story is nothing new, Girl A meets Girl B. Girl A is diligent and Girl B is unreliable. Like in most stories, the question of “What will happen to them?” is what will drive one to continue reading. I must say the pacing is firm and steady. And to think this is only 6 chapters! Furthermore, the great thing about this, which is common in Shuninta-sensei’s work, is that she doesn’t use the common tropes. However, for yuri fans looking for deviant and sexy stories: Alas, there are no sexy encounters, nor amusing squabbles here. In fact, this manga is very dialogue-driven and full of Ai-chan’s inner thoughts. There is barely anything that is service-y, save for one scene. Nonetheless, I must say that despite all this, I have found this astonishingly novel and fresh.
The art is, well, very Shuninta. As a mangaka, she has established a very distinct art style and thus her lovely sketchy art is recognizable to many of her readers. However, this was one of her earlier works and was originally a doujinshi, thus it’s not that polished in details like backgrounds and seasons. There were even two or three pages that have empty panels; however, some empty spaces are there for dramatization. Perhaps the art may seem lacking for first time readers of Shuninta-sensei’s work, the story and pace will compensate such inadequacy.
The driving factor to read this work is the characters. There are two protagonists are university students: Ai (Love=Sophia), the stubborn and studious beauty, and Tomo (Wisdom=Philo), the coffee-loving apathetic bookworm. Ai-chan, who grew nonchalant to people’s compliments of her beauty, decided to dedicate in her studies so she can be independent. To tell the truth, she was a bit boring to me at first, but later on turned out to be the character that underwent the most and drastic change in a very satisfying pace. Her growing affection for Tomo-san was nothing fluffy, but steady, genuine, and realistic.
On the other hand, Tomo-san is a mystery; she is emancipated at best, self-destructive at worst. A self-proclaimed seeker of knowledge, she holds dark secrets. These secrets, a sudden twist in the story, are the reasons of her actions and demeanour. Tomo-san is a riddle and naturally focused my attention to her, but I was disappointed; there is not enough depth into her character although she was presented as such. I have felt that her secrets, while apprehensible, are insufficient reasons for her outlook and indifferent and bored temperament; I expected more. Or perhaps the author wanted her to be that—an enigma. Nevertheless, she is a realistic character that reminds readers that we can never know someone fully.
Overall, “Philosophia” is a pleasant read: a sober-yet-memorable gem of a story. Traditional yuri fans of lovey-dovey or fluffy stories may be sorely disappointed or even back away, but those who tire from the predictable path of GL stories, or even those from the non-yuri genre, then this manga might offer one a balanced indulgence of drama, maturity and mystery.read more