Imagine your parents never truly being there for you and all of sudden you have no home to go to. Where will you go? Taiyou no Ie by Taamo is a story about a girl and a man who have known each other from when they were little. The girl, Motomiya Mao, is a high school student who finds herself turning to her twenty-three year old friend, Nakamura Hiro, once again for solace in the house they’ve spent their blissful childhood days in.
I’ve read some of Taamo’s other works before and to be honest, none of them particularly struck me. They are all either way too fast or way too fluffy to my liking which is the main reason for my wariness for this reading this one. I can say now, however, that I did not make a mistake with Taiyou no Ie which is a lovely read with real life problems told in an interesting, captivating way. We have Motomiya Mao who is struggling with her present life, her father just remarried and Nakamura Hiro who is struggling with his past life, reminiscing the good old days when he is still frolicking carefree with Mao and his siblings. Together combined is the recipe for the story, Taiyou no Ie.
The storyline has got to be the strongest points in this story which is surprising since I think her previous works, Isshoni Ofuro and Onegai, Sensei, are all terribly rushed and just plain unbelievable. In the world of manga and anime, I know the term ‘unbelievable’ is more often present than not since sometimes the impossible is needed for effective escapism but sometimes all a person needs is relatable situations for an enjoyable time. And this one does just that. The premise is fairly simple with the two leads having their own individual but similar problems that overlaps and brings them together. But the way everything is executed is what captivates me. Taamo slows everything to a great pace, not forgetting any detail that is needed to get from one event to another. It is this ability that sets this story different from most and places it on an enjoyment scale far above than others.
And now for the characters. Taamo is unafraid to develop the main lead’s characters. She lets us enter the troubled minds of both Mao and Hiro, creating an understanding of how they have become what they are. She also creates a special bond which is lacking in the rest of her works. It is subtle but it’s natural, unlike most shoujo stories out there. Most shoujo will have some sexual tension once the heroine moves in the same house with the hero but not in Taiyou no Ie. Instead, Hiro sets a curfew and time schedule like any other responsible adult should and Mao does her best with the housework even if it ends in disaster just like any other insecure teenager her age. Romance is not rushed between them and you can truly tell that they care for one another if not in a romantic way, it is in a loveable family way.
Art is great as usual though I am not really one to judge since I enjoy any artwork as long as the storyline is superb. There are some messily drawn parts which makes it hard to decipher it but other than that, there is no big concern when it comes to art.
There are many things we take for granted such as a house and that person who is there to say ‘welcome back’ when you come back from a school day or work. Taiyou no Ie is a wonderful manga that will touch your heartstrings with such messages, a delightful difference from the rest of the mangas that seem to pop up for solely guilty pleasure. So enter the lives of a girl and a man and the journey in which they find what family and love truly is.