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I Am Here!
A SUNFLOWER IN THE SHADE Invisible to her classmates, Hikage Sumino is an eighth grader with no selfesteem. Her only friends are the visitors to her Internet blog. One day, the most popular boy in the grade suddenly talks to her. Encouraged by this twist of fate, Hikage determines to transform her life. Includes special extras after the story!
May 11, 2009
21 of 21 chapters read
Overall Rating: 10
162 people found this review helpful
People don't really take notice of those lone wolves in the world. They believe that they prefer to be alone, to be secluded from humanity. Though, 99% of the time that isn't the case. It's lonley, and Sumino is the perfect character to show the truth.
Hinata's help to bring Sumino into the sunlight is extremly touching. For those who have felt such lonliness will be sure to shed some tears for this manga.
Beautiful art work, beautiful story, just an all beautiful manga.
Aug 7, 2011
20 of 21 chapters read
71 people found this review helpful
I am here!
The phrase that sums up Sumino Hikage, the main character of the manga with the same title. She’s an 8th grader with a very reserved personality. If she gets picked on, she doesn’t speak up. If somebody bumps into her, she’s the one to apologize. She’s just someone who doesn’t want any problems and shows that in a way that comes off very lonely. See, nobody notices her.
Sumino could be the plainest girl you’ve ever seen in a manga. No eye-catching features, no bizarre personality, no weird clothes. And this works so perfectly in this story. Sumino struggles all her life with the fact that there is no one around that acknowledges her fully. Everybody just seems to look over her and then move on without wanting to know what kind of girl she is. This results in her being lonely with no real friends. And what’s worse, people THINK she wants to be lonely because she doesn’t really do anything to socialize. Blame it on her personality or her ordinary appearance, but this makes it very easy to sympathize with her.
This puts Sumino in a vicious circle. She does not want to be lonely but can’t get any friends. People see that she hasn’t got any friends so people think she likes to be lonely. And that circle, is what makes Sumino such a believable character. Anyone can understand this situation and has experienced it to some extent. But because she’s so invisible and reclusive, she just can’t break out of that circle even though she wants it so badly. It’s sad to see that something that appears to be so easy, is actually not possible to do without at least one other person. It takes two to break a circle, and lucky for Sumino, she’s got 1,5.
Because Sumino has an online blog. Not just any blog. A very personal blog. She posts pictures of nature there and writes articles to ease the loneliness. But sadly, that doesn’t work out either. Nobody seems to comment on her efforts. Even her blog seems to get overlooked without anyone caring about it. She even goes so far to make a public request to anyone reading her blog, to leave a comment. Anyone.
And luckily, her efforts were not in vain. She finally got someone to comment on her blog. A long-time reader and first-time commenter. Their online relationship begins to grow as this person comments more and more, boosting Sumino’s confidence. This person even begins to motivate and cheer for Sumino to find friends in the real world. ‘’Work hard! You can do it!’’. And finally, someone noticed her at school. From here on, Sumino’s real-life journey begins. Together with the help of the growing number of people who cheer for her online, she starts being pro-active and successfully makes friends. She’s even got a love-life starting.
Although the story of the manga is very well-told and makes freshly use of modern phenomena, there are some things that aren’t done very well. All the characters are your typical Shoujou-characters. Sumino is the shy girl next door who can’t do anything on her own. The first person to fully acknowledge her in real-life is the handsome and popular student whom everybody likes. Of course, he seems to be attracted to Sumino somehow. And the love-rival of Sumino is also your typical girl who picks a fight at every possible moment. The only ones who truly excel at being interesting characters are the people on Sumino’s blog. They seem to truly care about her and show that in a way that’s very touching. Helping people via the internet is very normal in the modern day but may be frowned upon by some. This manga shows that there is nothing wrong with online contacts and can even be a genuine source of help. These characters also become more and more important at the end of the manga with a nice plot-twist.
Koko ni Iru yo! is a story for anyone that can relate even a slightest bit to the idea of receiving help online for normal problems. The art is truly beautiful and highlights the innocence of particularly Sumino who does not chooses to be lonely, though she can’t really do anything about it herself. If you can stomach some stereotypical Shoujou elements here and there and focus on the message of the story, this will be one familiar ride you do not want to miss. read more