Sayuri-san no Imouto wa Tenshi follows the story of the Kobayashi siblings, Sayuri and her little sister Makoto. Due to a divorce they were seperated 13 years prior to the beginning of the story. One day Makoto suddenly appears near Sayuri's workplace, a flower shop, with wings on her back and a halo above her head. According to Makoto these angelic features were granted to her by god when she asked him to let her see Sayuri. She then begins living in Sayuri's apartment.
I've hesitated to write this review because I'm not really sure how I feel about this book.
Have you ever had the experience of eating an entire bag of chips in one sitting? They look so tempting on the outside, and you just know that once you bite into one you'll be rewarded with that crunchiness, and saltiness, and all these big promises of flavor. Then you take a bite, and it doesn't live up to what you wanted; so you have another, and another, each time hoping that the next mouthful will finally bring you the satisfaction and joy that you anticipated; and you don't
stop until the bag is empty?
This book is sort of like that.
On the one hand, it deals with some of my favorite themes (gender identity in love); but on the other it indulges in some of the weakest cliches (sibling-lovers, to ratchet up the "forbidden love" angle; overly age-gappy relationships, maybe also to increase the 'love conquers all' wrongness-rightness factor?) in a way that I think frankly detracts from the story. In addition, the basic premise--the title premise--Sayuri's sister being an angel--goes almost entirely unexplored for the majority of the series. It's kind of a story hook that immediately becomes a complete afterthought, and the real implications (or even the fact that there must be real implications) aren't even touched upon until the very last couple chapters.
So what we get is a fairly bog-standard slice-of-life between the standoffish and not-really-into-it depressive-withdrawn normie and the overly enthusiastic demi-human imouto. A combination of boring and exploitative. We don't have a lot of challenges to drive the plot, other than ones internal to the relationship (Sayuri trying to figure out how she actually feels and whether she reciprocates her sister's feelings). Later on, as she begins to develop some insight into this question, challenges do appear: first in the form of another character with an obviously sinister agenda--there's enough of a feeling of genuine menace that this had me seriously concerned for our mains--and then in the form of a rule change that imposes a time limit on the life whose slices we're being shown (and which might have just come from the publisher).
There is a nice romance between two side characters that does explore gender and the meaning of love between women. It goes through an ultimately satisfying arc that will probably leave you wanting to smack at least one of them repeatedly before it's over, but it is a rewarding story overall.
All in all, though, the overall feeling of the manga is a lack of direction. Roughly half the series is paint-by-numbers and can't really decide what it wants to be or where it wants to go. Then when we get around to exploring the meaning of the main conceit, the series is over in a flash, without a satisfying resolution (as far as I'm concerned) and without having ever really decided what story it wanted to tell. I must confess, though, that I read this all in one sitting, staying up far later than I should have. This was roughly equal parts serious dramatic tension and investment; and mindlessly eating the chips. But the fact is it did keep me up late wanting to see how it ends, so I have to give it points for that at least.
All that said, the art is pretty good, and it is a somewhat interesting story hook. So if you're interested in incestuous age-gappy yuri relationships with demi-humans, maybe give it a go?
Dammit, I haven't read a story that actually made me a little teary eyed in awhile.
I adore this story. I can't help but wish that we had more of it or got an Anime adaptation.
(I'm really bad at remembering Japanese names)
Things like one of the MC's having a feeling of abandonment from her parents and feeling like she was always in the way of her parents who mostly payed attention to her little sister, It's really interesting and the way the story portray's it makes it believable. I'v seen other stories try the same thing but just comes across as whinny and
annoying. I do wish we got more of the MC feeling resentful against her parents. They could've easily expanded on this much more.
I like that they actually did stuff with the Sister being an Angle and wasn't just for one off jokes.
Near the end when it fully starts dawning on you that the Little Sister is an actual Angel. It honestly made me start getting worried that she was actually dead. If the story ended with her actually being dead then i probably would be such a fan of this story.
I even like characters like Oga ( Even though i was already thinking she was probably a girl from the start and wasn't surprised at the reveal ) and how she doesn't come across as annoying and has a nice relationship with a high school girl that first mistakes her as a boy. I wish we got more of Oga starting to become more girly.
I wish we got more time of both the sisters in the hospital. Such as have the little sister estimated life that she has to be something like a couple days and the sister finally willingly gives her a kiss not as a sister but a lover, It's then that the Little sister wakes up.
Really if i had to say one thing that i found to be a bad part it's the final conclusion. With the little sister waking up from the coma but not remembering anything that happened. Or at least it seems that's what happened.
Overall this is up there with one of my favorite manga's. I just wish we got much more then this.