"It's a hard task to grow the flower we call "love", to make it fully bloom one day. But I want to nurture it as best I can, for the sake of my beloved Karin."
Itoshi no Karin is basically summed up in the quote above. Love isn't an instant connection nor is it a fairy tale where a prince and a princess live happily ever after. Love contains what life has to offer and that is called choices. Itoshi no Karin is a typical lovey-dovey super cute love story about a 20yr gardener and a 17yr high school girl who both work at the same place. Of course it starts off with the premise of the guy being infatuated by the girl and suddenly getting closer to her but as cliche as it sounds, there was something in this manga I really appreciated. It considered life. Usually these kind of love stories just end in a story about two people getting married, the couple escaping town together, or an ending that neither character takes account for what their actions will result in the future, but no, Itoshi relates to none of the things I mentioned. The main MC is a shy, warm hearted guy who actually has balls. He's not the typical MC where he holds his thoughts in but instead thinks about his actions and his words carefully. I really appreciated this about his character as the character wasn't all about "PANTIES! LOVE. LOVE. TITS", his thought process was more like, "What's the best decision for me and her and our future?" I really liked the fact that he wasn't driven by hormones but instead by logic and clear decision making.
The main heroine, Karin was absolutely great. Her character wasn't complex just another wifey material heroine. She was a solid character in that she wasn't annoying and properly presented her feelings and was not immature about any situation but that was about it. She had no outcasting personality that made me go WHOA but I really appreciated the mature side of her. She kind of reminds me of Takagi from Karakai just because of how much she cares and teases the MC.
Characters aside, the art was AMAZING. I was absolutely amazed by how good the characters looked. Everything aside, I would just read this story just for the art. It's that good.
Overall, this story is very cute and heartwarming. As people have said the ending isn't too conclusive but I felt it was perfect for this manga. The symbolic meaning of the ring at the end and how both of the protagonists chose to chase after their ambitions instead of their love for each other was admirable. I really wish more manga characters were like the protagonists in Itoshi and that's what made me enjoy this manga so much. I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a great short read/romance/comedy/slice of life kind of manga. Just because of pure enjoyment and the art, I give it a 9.