I needed something light and fluffy while I was reading The Song of Achilles. I usually read something light-hearted after or during something like TSOA. Go for it, Nakamura fits the former.
The manga is about Nakamura who has a crush on his classmate, Hirose and his hilarious attempts to get close to him. Nakamura is an easy character to relate to in many ways, and he is adorable when he tries to make small talk. Hirose is also cute as well. I went "aww, so cute" during the aquarium scene. Not only is their interaction entertaining to read, but the other characters' as well. The ending might be off-putting for some people because it ends ambiguously. Nakamura and Hirose become friends, but the conclusion doesn't outright say if they become a couple though it looks like there is a high chance that they upgrade to a couple soon.
The art style reminds me of some the classic 80s and 90s manga I've seen in the past, but with some modern-day flavors. The rounded and soft style goes well with this sweet story of an awkward young man. I wish there were more color pages because the colors go well with the artwork. The artwork still looks vibrant in black and white.
The author has another work available in English, and I'm hoping it is as good as this one shot.
My copy of Whale Rider arrived today. I watched the movie years ago, and I enjoyed it. Until recently, I didn't know that the movie was originally a book. So I went out and search for a copy on the internet. It wasn't easy since most of the bookstores I came across didn't have any copies in stock or if they have any, the prices were ridiculously high. I finally found a used copy in "very good" condition for a low price and free shipping.
I'm surprised how the book is in excellent condition for something labeled "very good" and costs under $5.
I wish I could read it now, but I'm still busy with other books.
The story presentation was okay. The pacing was odd at certain parts of the books, and the plot is told in a non-linear kind of way. The manga held no punches of what life is like for a courtesan in red-light districts. I strongly remember the lectures the lives of girls sold to brothels (in Japan and abroad) during my Modern Japan class I took last year. The book captures the unglamorous and challenging parts of these women's lives well. Reading about Kiyoha's hardships makes me appreciate that I live in a place where I don't have to go through what she went through and remember the girls who are in Kiyoha's shoes out in today's world.
The artwork was expressive but it was difficult to tell which character was speaking or doing what. I had to re-read some parts to figure out which one is Kiyoha or Mikumo. I eventually figured it out the characters by looking at their eyes, but sometimes that trick doesn't help me all the time. The layout of the word bubbles in a few spots also makes reading difficult due to not telling which character is speaking. It might not be an issue in Japanese because you can tell the characters apart by the way they speak. But in English, the characters sound identical most of the time. I wouldn't be surprised if there were any other readers like me that double check to make sure they got the character right.
The manga gives an unflinching look at the life of oiran with bold artwork that shows off the characters' emotions well with a few hiccups in the story.
This was a heart-warming yet sad story. I thought this story would be slow to read, but I'm surprised how fast I completed the book. I liked how the story handles a couple of serious topics without being too dreary or too blah. The way it was approached reminds me of Caitlin Doughty's Ask A Mortician web videos. The message of the book shows death as something that happens (with or without warning) and it's sad and it's also okay to not feel okay and cry your heart out. Another important message was living your life to fullest doesn't mean doing anything extravagant, it means to do the things you enjoy even if it's simple like eating at a ramen stand. One another important lesson the book has is to talk about your feelings or worries to your loved ones before it's too late. I felt the story did an excellent job of providing those messages without being a super sentimental after school special.
I really loved Sakura and her sense of humor. I admit a few of her comments made me smile. The main character also seems like a fun person to hang out with (Bookstore trip? Yes, please.) I admit Kyoko was a hard character to sympathize at first, but she eventually grew on me.
I highly recommend this book.