I honestly can't believe that this has the shoujo tag, as it's like no other in the genre that I've read, and I've made my way around the shoujo area!
Anyway, I'll cut right to the chase.
I actually don't think I've spotted any cliches yet. The story seems very refreshing and original, and although I guess it does use the tragedy cliche a little bit, the characters make up for it with their realistically-portrayed emotions. Our heroine, Mao, has problems with her family, and as such is often alone. Her childhood friend who is 7 years older than her usually finds her and invites her
to his house so she won't feel so alone. It's got a typical slice-of-life feel to it, I'll admit, but with the darker tones mixed in with the light comedy, it's very refreshing.
The art is excellent. I've never read or seen manga or anime with characters that have "scribbles" for eyes, and on that matter, I've never seen the models for the characters in other series (besides Daiki, but only because of the glasses and hairstyle). Mao is usually the only one with the unique style, but on occasion you can find moments where other characters are like this, too. It's very odd, but I really think it's adorable, and it's definitely a new (and better, in my opinion) take on art; it's a nice, needed break from the generic shoujo manga art style. The only reason why this isn't a solid 10 is because sometimes when the characters' mouths are open, it's hard to tell that they *are* open. It looks like they just have really large lips at times, and it's one of those "can't unsee" moments. It's just a little distracting.
Taiyou no Ie's characters are very well-thought out and original. I can't say I've seen the characters' personalities in other stories, so it's nice to not be reminded of others when you're reading this one. Mao's interactions with everyone around her are nice and oftentimes cute, and when the story focuses on Hiro it's even nicer, seeing as in the shoujo genre we usually get very little insight as to what the main love interest (though that's debatable at this point) is thinking. There hasn't been very much at school that we've seen so far, but Mao has two friends looking out for her, and they seem nice enough. All in all, the manga introduces new characters with...a bit more delicacy than others, I guess. Mangaka Taama makes a good point of reusing characters instead of adding a million and forgetting about them.
I can honestly say that I really, really love this manga so far, and I know it'll only get better. Chapters are longer than most at an average of 40 pages, and the art makes it better than those manga that you just skip through to get to the next chapter already. I haven't met any characters yet that make me go, "Ugh, why isn't s/he just dead?" and it's got to be that this isn't primarily a dramatic series. Sure, it's got drama at times, but what story doesn't? It doesn't waste time with misunderstandings or all that other junk that's pretty prominent in the shoujo category. It really deserves more of the slice-of-life than the shoujo tag.
This is a very good story, and I would recommend it to anybody who's a fan of the slice-of-life, drama, or shoujo category. I haven't read enough to know about the romance yet, but I'm sure that will happen eventually. Actually... I can't think of a reason why you *shouldn't* read this, unless you're not a fan of these 4 genres.
+ Refreshing, original plot and characters
+ Less of a drama, more of a slice-of-life
+ Actually realistic scenarios and emotions
+ Great, unique art
- Sometimes, mouths can look like large lips
- If you're not a fan of tragedy (no matter how light), you may not like this