Saturday, July 4, 2009

One-Shot of the Week: Okubyou Na Kimi No Te

Everyone likes a good bit of trauma. Not like head trauma, but personal trauma that slowly eats up your insides and consumes your soul. Okay, I didn’t mean for it to come out like that (or maybe I did :D), but you shoujo readers should know what I’m talking about. There’s that one incident that sticks with you forever, affects everything you do, changes your attitude towards people, alters your behaviour, character, reactions and interactions, makes you feel terrible, worthless, angry, confused, frustrated or just plain scared… don’t you just LOVE manga? I know I do. And I know I love this manga too, which is why it’s our One-Shot of the week.

This 40-page wonder starts out really gently, I feel. Shino and her man-thing, Takeomi are talking about Valentine’s day, he teases her a bit, and then says some really sweet things. Not the smooth operator sort of sweet things. He’s the kind of guy that all you girls would want to cuddle and offer him a cookie. On a more serious note, he’s a really sweet, decent guy. He’s really considerate and says some odd things about wearing gloves and holding hands. This is explained by the fact that Shino doesn’t want to be touched by a guy (not even holding hands) until after she’s married – or so she says. Takeomi is the guy that genuinely cares about her, so even though she tells him this when he confesses to her, he says it doesn’t matter. I don’t know about you, girls, but that makes me want to rip my heart out of my chest, slap it onto a silver platter and offer it to him. How many guys have you met like that recently? xP

Moving on! We find out that Shino’s abstinence isn’t because of some vow of celibacy, but because of the aforementioned soul-consuming, inside-eating personal trauma. She’s given up her body once before to some sucker with a sick smile and since then, she can’t stand being touched by any guy. Well… That blows. I think I can understand her feelings. I mean, if your first time was forced, uncomfortable and with a guy that fancies himself a smooth operator, you’d be distrusting too. Through one way or another, Takeomi finds out and Shino’s forced to face her inner demons, and that past demon turns up again. Kudos to Takeomi, I love the way he dealt with this guy. But anyway, I’m not going say any more than that. The manga is short, as it is, so unless I’m going to sit here and tell you the story, I’m going to cover other areas of the manga now.

Shino’s character was nice because it wasn’t too overdone by the mangaka. She isn’t tragically dramatic about her trauma, but she’s obviously affected by it, so it’s a great balance. The love is there, so it’s not the catastrophic heroine obsessing about herself and how hard she’s had it. She honestly tries for the sake of moving forward for herself and for Takeomi.

Takeomi’s this cuddly guy with ‘love me’ written all over his face. However, when he’s serious – he’s serious. He’s considerate, gentle and wonderfully patient and understanding. The two make a good pair, if you think about it.

The artwork is gentle. I just realized I’ve used that word a lot. Well, if there’s anything that describes this manga, it’s ‘gentle’. It happens in the wintertime and you really feel it. It’s quiet and still. The artwork is beautifully done and detailed just enough to draw you in. I think the flashbacks were cool because they were literally flashes. You don’t get the whole “this is exactly what happened so I’m going to spell it out for you”. Sometimes we shouldn’t be so spoon-fed :P Other than that, I’d have to say there are some pretty amazing angles in this. Sometimes when you have every frame clear and obvious, it gets monotonous. Here, you have a lot of close-ups, shifts of focus (the manga starts with a view of their feet) and also blank frames where it’s just text. This doesn’t make it ambiguous, which I like, but it adds to that winter feeling. Quiet, still and gives more insight to the character’s state rather than their actions. But when it comes to action, there’s a brilliant moment towards the end where Takeomi snatches Shino away, and I felt the rush of his movement wonderfully.

So it goes without saying (although I wrote this to say it) this one-shot is definitely something you’d want to read. So pick this up sometime and enjoy! And you might want to get that trauma looked at. Cheers!


(Image © TOUDA Yoshimi. None of these images belong to me)