Published: May 28, 2008 to Feb 12, 2014
Genres: Drama, Ecchi, Romance, School, Shounen
Author & Artist: Seo Kouji
Considering how lengthy this manga is in terms of important and secondary characters, I won’t dive in too much on all of them and focus on the most important characters. I want the people who read this review to realize that this manga is a roller coast ride of emotions. I consider myself a manly man but there were times where I cried, times where I felt like punching my monitor, and times I just fell in love with the girls the main character got involved with. Hate him or love him, to be able to create such an addicting story really speaks volumes to the author and artist Seo Kouji. But let’s get on with the review…
As with most manga and anime, the story begins in high school. The male protagonist Haruto Kirishima lives in the countryside of Hiroshima. He’s a seemingly typical character with such traits like being reserved, getting embarrassed by the slightest touch of a girl, and having a strong sense of justice. One day at home he learns that a girl by the name of Yuzuki Eba is going to be living with him and his parents. This random and abrupt occurrence is what sets the gears in motion for this long and emotional story. The reasons for her moving there and why she likes Haruto so much are reveled later on. Eba is a very important character and you will love and hate her as much as Haruto. She is assertive, mysterious, but very sensitive and sometimes indecisive. Other important characters include Haruto’s close childhood friends, Akari Kaga and Takashi Yura. These 3 characters grew up together and their meeting and everything after that is portrayed in the manga, so you learn of their history quite well. A secondary character that takes up an important role as Eba is Nanami Kanzaki. She is Haruto’s first love interest during the high school arc, but eventually things change between them due to various reasons. Their relationship goes back and forth, but most of Haruto’s love interests are like that. The high school arc is very important as it builds the foundation for all the characters we will be seeing from here forth. No character is left behind; the author makes sure to flesh out each character he wants you to see later on. By Haruto’s last year in high school he has moved to and is attending a school in Tokyo. I will not reveal why that is but it is clearly a life changing decision. He makes new friends here, one of which plays a very important role for the first part of their college life. Overall the high school arc is very dramatic and romantic, but it’s the college arc where the real story begins…
As a college student myself, I really appreciate the author continuing the story beyond high school life. The college life in Japan is a bit different than here in the U.S. but certain similarities are still found. As expected, drinking and social gatherings occur both here and there. By this point in the story Haruto is dating a friend he met in his last year in high school, Asuka Mishima. If we go by technicalities, Asuka would be Haruto’s first official girlfriend. I don’t really count the relationship he had previously with Eba as an official relationship, considering how short it was. Being the college students that they are, various challenges await our main and secondary characters. New friends are made, new situations occur, both surprising and hateful. College life takes up a big chunk of the overall story, and rightfully so. This is where the roller coaster right of emotions begins. Many things happen during this arc. I admire Seo Kouji for taking risks and throwing curve-balls here and there to keep the story fresh and exciting. This is also the arc where everyone meets their lifetime partners. Everything after that is based on those relationships. Character development was good during the high school arc, but the college arc development takes it to another level. After a few years in college the gang is ready to join the workforce, and thus the final act of the story, the real world arc begins.
This is probably the shortest arc in the story, and at times it felt much dragged on and boring. This is unfortunately where the story starts to take a dive. I feel as though the author began focusing more on his other works and began neglecting this manga a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it was still interesting often times, and many things happened that are important to the story. But the pace of things was just too slow and certain plot mechanics were beginning to get repetitive. At this point everyone has found what they wanted and are working hard to pursue their ideal. Once again new characters are introduced and things begin to shift in a negative manner. A certain situation happens near the end of the chapter, one of which enraged many fans of the manga, including myself. Shortly after, and I mean very shortly after, that situation gets fixed, and the final act of this story begins its timely but seemingly rushed end.
If there is one thing that stood out the most from this manga, is the amazing artwork. Excellent clear designs on everything from the furniture to the country side and city scenery. The character designs were on point, very. Some really talented people worked on this manga, making sure everyone had very distinct clean cut features. All in all very easy on the eyes. Everyone and everything is just drawn beautifully. This isn’t a comedy but the small bit of comedy it has is right on. There are a few characters who offer comical relief, and Haruto himself can be rather comical with his facial expressions. The romance is often on point as well, you feel the emotions the characters convey very easily, though the dramatics can become slightly annoying and unrealistic at times.
As I briefly touched on earlier in my review, certain plot mechanics get dragged on and recycled a lot. During the first half of this series it was tolerable, and it worked considering life itself is back and forth like that, but around the last part of the story it just began to get very irritating and slightly boring. The ecchi scenes and sexual connotations were of no bother to me. There was nothing X-rated, it was not hentai, but some people might think otherwise. Overall I truly loved this story. Very few manga and anime have sucked me in as much as Kimi no Iru Machi has. As I read the last chapter I felt very sad that this story was finally ending. I want more but I also realize it was time to end it. This was a semi-realistic story about love, though it’s not as straightforward as that, as you’ll see when you read the manga. It portrays love in all of its sides, the good, the bad, and the cold, harsh, reality. Even after a day after I finished reading I still think back on certain events that happened in the manga. I wonder what would have happened if person A did this, of if person B did that. This story could have gone in so many directions, but despite my rage at key points in the story I wouldn’t have had the story gone in any other direction than the one it was already on.
If you’re a sucker for a good gripping manga about love and life, read this, don’t even think twice about it.
Score - 9.5/10