This is one of the cuddliest things I’ve ever read. It’s not exactly shoujo, but it IS warm and fuzzy and exciting, so it gives you more or less the same feeling – in a more innocent and pure way. However, if you ask me, the title’s a bit random. But who cares? I certainly don’t. This was the sweetest thing I’ve ever read.
I can’t believe how amazing this is. First off, let me say the art just blew me away. It’s detailed, it’s intricate, it’s warm and it’s concentrated. You can just see the attention and effort that’s been put into this. The expressions are wonderful, the action is fluid and the entire feel of it made the artist side of me take a deep breath of content – it was perfect. The story is wonderful, and call me soft or whatever, I don’t care, but I got goose bumps at a couple of points in this manga.
Actually, you don’t really get grips of the story in your conventional ‘event – event – funky plot device – event – climax – ending’ setting. It’s more like ‘Here’s a bunch of characters, stuff’s happening that we won’t really explain until later, but enjoy the events at hand for now.’ – And you know what? I like it! The story itself is resolved wonderfully and you won't be disappointed. The colour page is lovely, but it bothers me when they’ve got that cover-page text going “Oh no! What’s going to happen?!” and “Going on a spiritual journey to be FREE!” or some junk like that. All that shit just ruins it for me. I know it’s supposed to be teasers or something, but I don’t feel teased at all. Just really tested.
But as far as story goes, I liked this so much that I’m NOT going to tell you what it’s about. I suggest you pick it up and read it. It’s the fluffiest, most heart-warming story ever and if you read it without even knowing the general plot (like I did) you will not only be pleasantly surprised – you’ll also be gushing all over the place! Guaranteed aww-fest! You want to know the best part? It’s not because it’s one of those ‘couples’ that say sweet things to each other all the time or the guy being all “Because of my inexplicable and unjustifiable love at first sight for you!” It’s actually a warm story that isn’t completely shoujo. Actually, don’t put it in the shoujo category at all!
Here’s where the fun starts. The first page introduces you to a random guy in a long black coat. Honestly, I love what he’s wearing. His whole look, it’s all well put together. That’s just massive kudos to the mangaka mainly because I find a lot of manga heroes tend to look the same or their looks are ‘themed’ similarly. Does anyone share that sentiment? Here, his outfit’s simple, not over-designed or blinged up like some idol (notice how manga heroes, especially in fantasy or supernatural manga, have WAY too many man-accessories?) This is devoid of all that, and his face isn’t that typical manga man-face. That long-faced, pointy-chin, piercing-eyes, too-much-amazing-hair type face that I’ve complained about before (I complain lots about manga stereotypes, don’t I?). Granted, he’s got pretty sharp eyes and his own fair share of luscious hair, but his face is small and his smile is sarcastic, which I find mischevious and alluring. His whole persona seems to reek of dark humour and broody moments – with just a smattering of sheer, smiling “he’s a bastard” vibes. But in a good way! The kind of guy you think is a bastard just because he does everything with a smile. As the story progresses, his utter devotion, loyalty, determination and strength just grow on you. I want to take a bite out of this guy. Interpret that as you wish :P
The only thing that disappointed me about this manga was the character of our ‘heroine’ Monaka, who, to be honest, (wow that’s a lot of commas) was not the most impressive character ever. She had no presence whatsoever. She simply jumped right into the helpless, clueless, damsel in distress-she-doesn’t-know-about personality. She kinda flitted about going “what’s happening?” and in the sense of the course the story took, you can’t blame her. However, there was a moment that opened up a chance for her to pull herself together and prove her courage by throwing away her fear and just ACTING. She has a complex, and I thought she’d overcome it by plunging right in – sort of like how I got over my fear of rollercoasters by going on the scariest ones first. Now I can’t get enough of them! But instead of jumping onto that stupid rollercoaster, you know what her ‘moment of redeeming courage’ was? She yelled. She was all “Gah! I hate you! Go away!” – that kind of yelling. Umm… Well… *cough cough*
I’m sorry, but that’s kinda pathetic. I just kind of sat back and went, “what are you doing?” Needless to say, I wasn’t too impressed with her bit, and if she wasn’t the main character, I could’ve done without her in the story. Is that being too harsh? Maybe! Because I absolutely adore this one-shot. Perhaps I should rephrase and say I adore it from our lovely hero’s perspective. That’s probably why this didn’t make it as One-Shot of the Week. (Actually, I’d planned on that, but once I started reviewing it and unpicking it a bit more, I realized it didn’t quite make the cut. Even now I’m doubting my decision and wondering if I should push it up anyway! But I just can’t do it at this point, as much as I adore this.)
To wrap this up, I’d have to say the ending was perfect. It didn’t have that typical fairytale ‘happily ever after’ vibe to it, but a half unconventional, half cute, but completely satisfying ending. Read this manga! I insist, really. One-shots are good because although it’s only a short story and maybe doesn’t have ALL the development in the world, it’s the manga equivalent of having just one scoop of ice cream as opposed to a whole sundae. So get yourself a scoop of this! It’s got all the toppings! ;)
(Images © KATOU Kazue. None of these images belong to me)