Have you ever thrown away a chance that may have changed the way your life had become? This is what happens to the high school social recluse, Imamura Kinichiro, and the manga, "Again!!", is the heartfelt tale of his second chance in life.
The basic premise is nothing short of relatable and heartfelt. It’s the day of graduation and Imamura reminisces how his high school life had been wasted. Upon going to the old cheering squad’s clubroom, a club he regrets his choice of never joining in, he scares Fujieda, Akira, a girl who led a relatively normal highschool life. Together, they fall down a flight
of stairs and somehow get transported back to the opening ceremony, the moment where Imamura was first inspired to join the cheering squad but never had the backbone to actually join. The storyline is pretty simple enough, but what sets it different from most mangas like this is that it’s relatable. We’ve all had moments when we had a chance to do something life changing but something stopped us. We regret this choice for the rest of our lives, wondering what might’ve been different if we had done things different. This is just the surface of the wonderful story of "Again!!" and the different choices Imamura Kinichiro is the rest.
"Again!!" has a lovely cast of characters. Our protagonist is definitely different from most, in the sense that he tries to change his life for the best. Not only that, as the story progresses, he turns out to be resourceful, able to utilize his brain to attract more members for the cheering squad, or deviating a plan to beat the antagonist of the story, the cheerleading squad, at their own game. As well as having a strong mind, Kinichiro also has a firm heart. He doesn’t become easily swayed by false flirtations from the antagonists nor does he completely quit from trying to join the cheering squad. Besides Kinichiro, other memorable characters are the Usami Yoshiko, the sole member of the cheering squad. Her passion and spirit is unmatchable, deeming her quite a heroine. Even through the poor reputation she has gained, Usami stands strong for what she believes in. Fujieda Akira and Shibata Reo are less memorable but still fleshed out as characters. Fujieda Akira is perhaps the character I can relate to other than Kinichiro. She’s your ordinary school girl who makes plenty of friends to last through her entire high school life. When she gets a second chance along with Kinichiro, she discovers the true nature of her friends and ‘boyfriend’, dealing with the new life Kinichiro has paved for the both of them. Less should be said for Reo but she’s also a girl who’s led a normal life until Kinichiro came along.
The art is rough and coarse at times. Not the most extraordinary but that’s the beauty of it. "Again!!" is not a story to blow your mind away. It’s a story to touch your heart and get you relate to its characters. And its art successfully does this, having one of the plainest and typical hairstyles you may catch teenagers today having. With the exception of Kinichiro’s ridiculously long hair in the beginning, there’s no character you can’t picture a person having in real life. Besides hairstyle, its artwork in other fields (scenery and character design) is effectively drawn. It’s not exquisite, but it fits with the mood of the story. And sometimes, simplicity is refreshing.
"Again!!," a simple story that will surely leave a powerful taste behind. Not powerful in the sense that it will change your life forever. After all, "Again!!" is not a story of changes. It's a story of second chances, and the ability to achieve what you desire despite everday problems. That's the simple components which makes up "Again!!" And surely, if you give it a try, you'll find yourself reading it over again.