Synonyms: Hoshiiro no Okurimono, Star-Colored Gift, Antique Wish e Youkoso, Miracle on a Starry Night, Star Colored Gift, Sleeping Beauty wa Nemurenai The Star-Color Present, Welcome to Antique Wish, Sleeping Beauty Never Sleeps
While I am an undying fan of her artwork, this volume isn't one of Toma Rei's best told stories, for while one story is abruptly short with little character development, another story drags on, inundating the reader with the same message over and over again.
Hoshiiro no Okurimono (Star Colored Gift):
Ai lives in a small town with her childhood friends Seigo and Shin. One day she comes across a new face in town, Takashi, who asks her for directions and disappears. Ai feels their meeting was fated. Over the course of the story, we understand her concerns regarding the yet to be decided future (She's a
12th grade student) of herself and her two friends. She is anxious for them to always be the same way that they are now, and never change the friendship they share with each other. However, Shin and Seigo both have separate expectations from her. Will one friend's unrequited love break apart their cozy threesome or will Takashi's entry into their circle help her decide her path in life?
While this story is warily slow paced and seems to beat about the bush a lot, the underlying theme resonates with a lot of people, who have a hard time letting go of the past and good memories and move onto the next phase of their life. Though Ai is portrayed in a weak light, constantly on the brink of tears and undecided about her feelings for her friends, she has good intentions, apparent when she forms the astrology club so the four friends can strengthen their friendship. Dialogues are modest and droll for the most part, with little or no excitement transpiring at any scene. This is more a drama than a romance though one or two scenes render the reader awestruck by the hero's longing for Ai. All characters develop their feelings over time so no plot feels hurried or fake. It's an interesting read albeit one catering to closet romantics.
Antique Wish e Youkoso (Antique Wish):
To Nishina, classmate Haijima looks cold and indifferent upfront but one day she catches site of him in the garden, tearfully holding up a ring. She is struck by this scene and since then, her eyes follow Haijima wherever he goes. One day, she follows him to a shop and ends up working there under him. What is this unique shop, who makes all the beautiful jewelry being sold inside and can it really grant wishes to the customers as Haijima claims it does?
This premise requires at least five chapters to satisfactorily develop this storyline. Instead the mangaka attempts to cram too much drama, conflict and feelings of unrequited love into one extremely botched up chapter. As a result, the character development and plot suffers. Nishina is fixated over a boy she was wary of, simply because she saw him weeping, but suddenly, she lusts after him as welll. And Haijima is almost entirely a slave to the plot. He is cold at school, professional when teaching Nishina the details of the business but without provocation pounces on her as well! After a while, the reader gets frustrated at all the unrealistic developments in this lightening paced plot. You are not shown too many characteristics of Nishina, yet somehow, Haijima must fall in love with her because the story demands it.
On the plus side, the jewelry and characters are drawn exquisitely, as are the expressions and few backgrounds. The jewels are well researched, and the premise showed promise had it been paced slower. The dialogue is juvenile at best, but the ending is touching enough to salvage some of the plot, though it is still severely lacking.
Sleeping Beauty wa Nemurenai:
Minori somehow found herself bent over a sleeping classmate, ready to kiss him, but caught herself in time to see him wake. Unfortunately, she leaned on his glasses and ruined them. Now she has to escort Chiharu around everywhere and take care of feeding and leading him.Strangely, he seems to have a penchant for taking naps in the oddest of environments! And it's always up to poor Minori to wake his sleeping form to get him to the right place on time. When will she be free from his cute clutches again? And who does he dream about when he naps on her shoulder?
This story slowly develops both protagonists feelings towards each other, and lends a sweet contentful atmosphere to the story. The scenes flow smoothly from one to the other, and neither character's actions seem premeditated. There is subtle humour in some scenes and an understated romance in most others which will appeal to most shoujo readers. The few intimate scenes are well depicted and elegant and the conflict the characters face is realistic.
The ending is touching and you may shed a tear or two. They aren't in love with one another simply because they have to be, but they do question their growing feelings. All these features make this a good one shot, with high re-readability.
Should you bother with this volume? Yes, if you plan on skimming the first two chapters for the art and enjoy the third one completely.