Genres:Comedy, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Harem, Ecchi
"I'm rating this series without considering Nagi's horrific hair. Just going to call-out how I'll be regurgitating this over-and-over throughout this review..."
For 7 straight years, this manga continued its magical run until it got its formidable climax and conclusion. Also for 7 straight years (or 7 days, AKA the time it took for me to finish reading it), we got the ugliest hairstyle of any male MC I've ever seen in my entire life. I've read over 10k chapters worth of shounen, romance, comedy, drama and action manga, and I've never seen a man with hair so unbelievably distracting that I wanted to snip them off myself through the screen.But anyways, let's get to the actual review.
Story Rating - 8/10
Umi no Misaki was as creative as it was powerful in its world-building and story progression. Seldom did I witness a chapter diverging away from the main plot, and even if it did, the next chapter ensured we were right back on track. This could've EASILY been a two-hundred-chapter manga if we slipped off the beautiful pace the story was written in. Additionally, the lore made things even more creative, especially compared to your typical harem rom-com. However, I felt that it definitely needed better foundations before being injected into the plot, as we didn't exactly get an answer on "WHY" Nagi was who he was (I'll avoid spoilers).
The story itself walked to a climax in linear fashion, making everything easy to follow. It was in this aforementioned climax where readers were thrown drama after drama, right in their faces; a satisfying experience for some, and a deteriorating read for others. I see both sides: a dramatic climax only enhances the already creative plot line, but it also runs the main happy atmosphere (established in the first half of the manga) completely off-course.
Finally, one thing I want to point out is that after the story’s climax, the conclusion is quite short-lived. A few more chapters to really linger out the resolution would’ve been a nice follow-up.
Art Rating - 8/10
I’m not even going to jump back into the issue with Nagi’s hair. Like I said: grab a pair of scissors, and cut that sh*t off. I’ll focus on everything else now. Fumizuki-sensei’s art is quite unique in the manga world. He draws his characters distinctively and with a unique style: larger eyes, detailed clothing, classic blush lines on the cheeks, and beautiful backdrops for scenery. The one component distracting me at times are the eyes - sometimes they may appear bigger than they need to be, but that’s a minor aspect (and obviously a preference-based comment).
Characters Rating - 7/10To sum this part up: there are both good and bad sides to describe, but the good outweighs the bad.
The good: I loved Nagi’s character development - it followed the pace of the story itself well. I could even argue that the story’s progression was dependent on Nagi’s growth (a regression coefficient of almost 1, if you will). While obviously his indecisiveness probably bothered readers as much as it did for me, his confidence visibly grew as the chapters went on, and - for someone traumatized by the typical indecisive “wimpy” male harem MC, Nagi was perfectly fine with me. Another thing I loved was the initial development of the three maidens (AKA Nagi’s harem). What started in hate, confusion or refusal quickly turned into love, and the maidens showed their growth exponentially near the beginning.
The bad: Depth of characters was alright, but breadth of characters went into the bin. Besides the introduction of Keiko (Mike) around the middle of the story, hardly anyone else got any spotlight. The supporting characters weren’t exactly there to add diversity, and Tama-chan didn’t get much screen time for an in-depth look into her past. Why is she so interested in island folklore? Where’s her conclusion in this story? Heck, what are the primary characters going to do in the long-term future as well?
Overall Enjoyment Rating - 8/10
The most memorable moment for me was when I began reaching the climax. I couldn’t stop flipping through the chapters - the story dropped the ball on a wholesome and happy vibe, and completely flipped the script. It made me excited to see something different within the harem genre, on top of what was already a pretty interesting story.
Obviously the manga has its faults: a rushed conclusion without a look into a long-term road, lack of supporting characters, and some island lore that needed more foundations before jumping into action. Yet as a reader, the story was interesting none-the-less, and I genuinely think it deserves at best an 8/10.
I've known from the first time we met
Finally, just one more prayer: sensei, please… avoid that hairstyle on Nagi. Please.