A narrative of self-discovery masquerading as a coming of age romance, a family composition drama, a procedural detective story, and a superpowered thriller. Sakuta Minami openly professes the many loves of her life: Matsumoto Leiji anime, her family, swimming, Magical Plastering Girl Buffalo Koteko, but the unanswered questions surrounding her mother's separation from her natural father have nagged her all her life. Moji Shouhei, an anime geek with prodigious talent for calligraphy, holds in his gifted hands both a physical key to the school roof of their high school as well as the figurative key to finally unraveling the mystery of Minami's father.
Kodomo wa Wakatte Agenai is an oddly charming story that is part coming-of-age, part mystery, part drama, and part romance. How it brings up all these things into a single plotline is very impressive. Usually, storytelling attempts like these fail miserably as there is a struggle in finding a balance between several elements of the story especially if it’s given only a short duration. Focus on one aspect and the rest gets underdeveloped inevitably. Try to simultaneously develop all of them and they will clash on each other depending on how you pace the whole thing. What this manga succeeds in dodging this problem is
that it takes advantage of the laid-back approach of slice-of-life in which it can control the story’s direction without losing any momentum.
The art for the most part is good albeit it can be lacking in terms of the details of the characters which are drawn in a chibi-like manner. The scenery it draws out is amazing, which kind of reminds me of the works of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou’s mangaka Ashinano Hitoshi, minimalistic yet impactful. The paneling is splendid as well. Despite how most panels are occupied with speech bubbles due to how the manga is dialogue driven, the transitioning is pretty easy to follow. It has occasional references that might be alienating, but nevertheless it's part of what makes it charming.
Speaking of being dialogue driven, it also contributes to the reason why the manga succeeds in bringing a well-structured story. It does exposition very well thus giving more time for development to happen. The plot intertwines all the events that results in a very good payoff. The search for Minami’s real dad ended up being as a very beautiful coming-of-age story that gets its strength on sentimentality yet never losing sight on being part of a bigger picture in the overall story. The romance progression on Moji and Minami also didn’t feel forced and entirely dramatic. Everything is neatly tied up, leaving a sense of fulfillment.
Overall, it’s a work that deserves more attention. It kind of saddens me that this is such an obscure piece of work which is why it compels me to write this review. If you like coming-of-age stories with a well-delivered twist, then I suggest you this hidden gem.
At the time of starting this manga, it had been almost two months since I had last read any as I was busy with college exams and whatnot.
I got to know of this from a friend, and decided that 20 chapters was short enough to give it a try.
And boy I was surprised.
First of all the story:-
rarely, if at all, I've come across a manga with less than 50 chapters that manages to bring in so many elements together, and that too so well. At first it started as a somewhat offbeat SoL mystery, which soon progressed into a beautiful coming of age romance/mystery/slice of
I won't go into the plot because its best you find out for yourself(plus I am lazy).
Art - I have to say that the art is unlike most manga you're to come across, given the manga was released barely 3 years ago. And even though initially its weird, the art and character design soon grows on you and you actually start enjoying the art as well. But I may be biased here, I'm still new to this.
Characters- Probably one of the strong points of this manga are the characters. Almost all the main characters are likeable, and independently contribute enough to the story to make one appreciate their presence.
Overall enjoyment- Probably because I'd not read any manga in some time, but I really enjoyed this. Enjoyed it enough to go ahead and write a review of it(this is my first review).
Tl;Dr- Jump right in, you won't regret it. And you might even end up liking it as much as I do.