Genres: Romance, Drama, Shounen
"An emotional rollercoaster combined with flat lines."
Stop scrolling, I promise you won't regret reading my review. I'll do my best to keep it spoilers free :) So! Where do I even start...
Before we dig into more of the details, I'm going to step back and say this: no matter the ups and downs throughout this manga; including both the emotional rollercoasters I've felt and the flat lines of plainness that was the plot over periods of time - I don't regret a single second of my valuable weeknights and weekends reading this. Fear not - I'm sure most other reviewers will definitely have negative things to say, but nonetheless feel similar to me in that this was still a manga to remember in our hearts. Which means...I recommend you definitely give it a shot - at least the first half. Why? Well, let's dive right into the details.
Story Rating - 7/10
The story starts off strong and continues to be strong, implementing cliffhanger after cliffhanger no matter the chapter. Romance, drama, and other related genres work like a dancing group of butterflies if executed well, and the first half of the manga depicted an amazing emotional plot, especially near the beginning. Yes, it's your old fashioned high school setting, but the various circumstances, dialogue, love polygon, and other plot elements derive our focus away from school, almost making it seem like it's not even set within one.
Then, Seo Sensei began his ever-so-infamous Tokyo Arc - the one all other reviewers are talking about. This is where the true emotional rollercoaster springs into a daredevil meteor. For myself, I was hurt as much as I was stunned - things in the plot and its characters were moving fast and hitting heavy. Love it or hate it, none of us stopped reading during this arc; it had me glued to this manga, frustrated or not over what was going on alongside the head-scratching actions from our cast. It made me experience every feeling one would find on the spectrum: happiness, anger, sadness, confusion...you name it. I have a lot of questions left unanswered from this arc and beyond...
Finally, the last half of the story was where the plot dulled and raised a few more question marks. It arguably turned into a slice of life + romcom manga with bits and pieces of drama, with one final dramatic twist near the end (which in my opinion, was completely unnecessary and non-sensibly executed). The latter half had me more often-than-not rolling my eyes thanks to either the random ecchi panels that show up or the spontaneous "filler" stories which lacked plot progression.
Art Rating - 9/10
I can say with confidence that the art was above average and painted our main characters beautifully. Not only were the designs tailored to the personalities of our characters, but the overall panels added a heightened experience to the overall read. No matter my emotion or frustration, I loved seeing the genuine faces of the characters drawn to full detail and with maximum intensity.
Characters Rating - 7/10
And here is my subjective issue with this manga - as much as I loved the characters and the full cast, they had me face-palming or banging my head against the desk on a nightly basis. Their actions and motivations, especially Yuzuki's and several other supporting characters, almost kept me up at night thinking: "Just why did they do that?! What's their motive? What's the reason?" Never have I ever clenched my fist because I couldn't get into a character's head enough to quench my desire to understand their motivations.
This doesn't deny that there was significant character growth, but for the territory this manga covered (261 chapters and multiple arcs), there was no consistency in this character growth, not-to-mention the unanswered sequences I still long to know. However, don't take my opinions to heart, and read this manga yourself to form your own opinions. Who knows - maybe you'll come to love the characters a lot!
Overall Enjoyment Rating - 8/10
I know I've criticized multiple areas of this manga, but I'd be lying to myself if I said I didn't enjoy it on the whole. It gave off that power to pull readers in no matter the frustration they felt with what was going on thanks to the plot twists and cliffhangers, and there is immense realism incorporated throughout the plot elements written. It gave me the thought: "Wow, these characters are going through the reality that is life, crashing head-on." Are there areas I'd suggest to improve? Of course... I could spend all night talking about this manga - it's a love/hate relationship. But that just goes to show how attached I've been to it and its characters as well.
As long as I can be with you, I don’t care what anyone says or how much I’m detested. As long as I can be with the one I love, that alone makes it okay. That’s what I longed for.
Hope you enjoyed my review!