May 30, 2010
Lorelei (All reviews)
A divorced man, with two sons. A woman who wants a divorce, with two daughters. Put them together inside a single house given an accidental circumstance, and what do you get? Noriyuki Yamahana's take on slice-of-life, with a twist. It's a barrel of laughs, sweetness and genuine fun.

Little House with an Orange Roof (more popularly known simply as 'Orange Roof') is a story about how two people got tricked by a conman into living in one house, and the development that followed. A really simple, mundane plot that's been used since forever. But there's a rarity of finding a work telling the goodness of being a family on a manga. Orange Roof does not boast of deep philosophical views, nor of complicated characters and good-morals-preaching. Then again, that's what makes it unique.

Natchi and Shoutarou - both funny, loving, and caring. Each of them has weaknesses. However, they try to overcome what's blocking their way with the help of one another. They understand they can't do things alone. What truly amazes me is how they complement each other; when one cannot take it all, the other supports. Isn't it wonderful? This is the charm of Orange Roof - selflessness, coated in comedy (well, it seems that everyday is fun inside the house).

Is it a love story? Yes. But it doesn't just throw its love story onto you and leave the supporting cast completely devoid of any character. Actually, they're pretty interesting at some point. There's more to Orange Roof than the two main protagonists. You have the four children and their issues, for starters. How two teenagers, a soccer boy and a primadonna girl, would get along (even if it looks impossible that they will); how they would take living without the other 'original' half of their respective parents, things like that.

Enter MORE people: Natchi's younger sister (who appears more mature), her old husband's family, her mother; we've also got Shoutarou's old wife, his parents, and his co-workers. Then, there's the gossip-starved neighbors, the children's friends, and of course, the rivals of love. You can say that 64 chapters are not enough to develop all of them, but it's handled quite all right. Artwork's pretty much same-old Yamahana style. There's some nudity in here, however, even though it looks like it's your typical Rated-G for-the-family story.

Full of humor, lightheartedness, and, at some points, emotional heartwarming scenes, Orange Roof lets you take a breather and appreciate familial love and tight personal bonds. Natchi and Shoutarou proves that having that special someone by your side can make all the difference in the world. But before you can witness its magic, be prepared for wacky situations and hilarious interactions. Guffaw, smile, sit back, and enjoy.