This wasn’t my first manga, but it was the first I enjoyed. I tried Sailor Moon years ago, and was super not into it. In hindsight, I may have been unfair to it, and being unfamiliar with the conventions of manga and anime probably contributed, but still. Not a fan. But I was into this right away! I probably wouldn’t have ever picked it up, despite several friends having read and enjoyed it, except for the Read Harder Challenge this year (thanks Read Harder, doing your job!) requiring a book of manga. It was between this one and Fruits Basket, and Orange seemed more up my alley (time travel! well, sort of).
Our main character is Naho, a sixteen year old girl living in Matsumoto, Japan. On the same day, Naho receives a letter claiming to be from herself ten years in the future, and a boy from Tokyo transfers to her school. His name is Kakeru, and the letter is all about him. It seems future Naho has regrets, and they are all about Kakeru, who the letter says isn’t with them anymore. The letter gives Naho day by day instructions on things to do and not do, and little by little Naho learns what she is saving Kakeru from. But as she follows the instructions, things begin to change.
This wasn’t a perfect read for me, not least because I kept forgetting to read right to left when I would get really into the story, turn the page back to the one I’d just been on and then get confused about why I’d already read that part. Naho was very timid and passive at first, which irritated me, but this is something the story is aware of, and Naho changes slowly as it goes on, as the letters challenge her to act against her instincts. Without spoiling anything, Naho and her friends take on a lot of responsibility for something very important, and I’m not sure they should have to. I can’t speak anymore to those feelings, though, because depending on what happens by the end of the story, I may feel differently. Definitely something I’m going to have to revisit when I write the review for the rest of it. The translation was also a bit wonky in parts, a lot of the dialogue and word choice sounded awkward to my ears. Again, though, a lot of this may be that I’m just not used to the manga format and style.
This edition actually contains the first full half of the series, consisting of volumes one through three. Very glad I did it this way, because it was a super fast read, and I would have been sad to wait in between volumes. I’m ordering the second half from my library right now.
[3.5 stars, may round up when I see how it ends]
Read Harder Challenge 2019: A book of manga.