Nov 2, 2007
the_pillows (All reviews)
So, what can I say about this manga? It’s short, it’s touching, it’s bittersweet, it’s perfect in my eyes. The story revolves around two main characters named Saku and Aki and the relationship that develops between them. At first glance, the manga feels like your typical romantic slice of life with a normal, average guy falling in love with a cute, outgoing girl. However, this assumption that it’s a generic high school romance quickly becomes wrong as the story evolves into a melancholy, depressing, and heart wrenching tale. Never in my life have I read something that was capable of evoking such raw and deep emotions. By the time I reached the middle of chapter four and the beginning of chapter five, I felt tears building up in my eyes and a knot swelling up in my throat, leaving my vision slightly blurry with a feeling that I was choking on the very air that I was breathing. Although I’m a guy, I’m not afraid to admit that I was deeply touched by Socrates in Love and that its tragic story has left me with a lasting impression that I will never forget.

The story and layout are really well done. There aren’t any unnecessary fillers and every part felt significant in its own way, positively contributing to the manga as a whole. What really surprised me was the pacing and it should be commended. For a manga that’s only five chapters, it didn’t feel rushed nor did the pace slow down and drag at any point. The story also throws the audience into the mix right away by letting the reader know that Aki dies on the second page and thus sets up the tragic tone in later chapters. The perspective then changes and the plot unfolds from the past to the present as the reader watches Saku and Aki’s love blossom, the time they spend together, the dramatic and painful death, and finally, a resolution after all is said and done. Every piece fell right in place and the flow was consistent throughout.

The art and character designs could be described as pretty simplistic. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of detail put into backgrounds or into the characters’ appearance. The clothing folds are simple and effective and most panels involve only dialogue with a “blank” backdrop. Some may be turned off with this kind of style but I personally loved it. Kazumi Kazui’s art is there to supplement the amazing story that Kyoichi Katayama wanted to tell. The focus didn’t need to be on fancy, complicated, and in depth details but rather what the characters were feeling on each page. Keeping this in mind, the artistic style felt perfect since Kazui did an excellent job conveying what the characters were thinking through their facial expressions.

What I think really makes me appreciate this manga is that the theme is something everyone can relate to. Having lost my best friend in my freshman year of college, I instantly sympathized with Saku’s character and knew exactly what he was going through. Accepting the fact that you will never see someone who was close and dear to you again and understanding that nothing will fill in that piece of you that you lost when that person died can be a traumatic experience for anyone. However, Socrates in Love isn’t just a tragedy about the painful endeavors involved with the innocence of teenage love. Instead, by the end of the story, another theme of accepting what happened, pushing yourself to move on, and letting go of the past emerges. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys slice of lifes with heavy emphasis on romance and tragedy, and I don’t think that any human can read this without having their feelings waver at some point.

+ An amazing story, theme, and resolution
+ Excellent art style, perfect for the type of story being told
+ Characters that one can easily relate to and sympathize with
+ Layout and pacing felt perfect
+ A highly fitting title which is explained in chapter five

10 out of 10