Monday, June 17, 2013

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Say I Love You by Kanae Hazuki

Say I Love You
Kanae Hazuki

Mei Tachibana has spent her 16 years without making either boyfriend or friends. One day, she injures a popular boy in school, Yamato Kurosawa, because of a misunderstanding but for some reason it seems that he takes a liking to her and one-sidedly claims that they’re friends. Furthermore, he not only protects Mei from a stalker, he does it with a kiss…?!

Alternative names
Suki tte Ii Na Yo
Say I Love You
Suki-tte Ii na yo


Manga reader sites (free)
Manga Reader, Manga Fox

Rosy's scrawlings on Say I Love You
Mei is a young girl who's been bullied and used as a scapegoat for so long she no longer trusts anyone, particularly of her own age, to see or deal with her like a fellow human being. She expects betrayal and to be hurt by others if she tries to connect so she doesn't try at all, in order to avoid the pain. Because of this she is so lonely she can't even feel loneliness properly and believes she is fine. All this begins to change though, when she accidentally kicks Yamato Kurosawa for flicking up her skirt when in fact it was his friend who'd done the deed. Instead of getting angry Yamato, the most popular guy at the school, becomes intrigued by Mei and begins to try to woo her, with many a halting start.
The romance of Say I Love You is slow and sweet, focusing on Mei's personal growth and recovery and on Yamato as he learns how to treat someone so withdrawn. There's the occasional rival for either Mei or Yamato's attention and both struggle to accept that the other could be taken from them. There's also a fair few of the school's girls who disagree with the match, attacking Mei for one reason or another while trying to convince Yamato that he's just fallen under Mei's spell or made the wrong choice. The romance is one very much like most first loves, complete with the awkwardness, but Yamato does have enough experience to be able to be a kind, knowledgeable partner. Overall, the story doesn't explore new territory but Mei and Yamato's romance is captivating enough to have you reading on, wanting to see the pair and their love mature. The story is gentle and shows both the kind and nasty sides of people, their judgements as well as the impact of group judgements and peer pressure.
The art of Say I Love You is simplistic and focused mainly on the characters and their expressions. The style isn't unique but the images are well drawn and pleasing to the eye just as the flow of the story is slow and sweet. There's a carefulness used to create the expressions that allows you further insight into the characters. The upshot is, that while there are several standard elements to the story and the art the mood, the story's progression and the characters create a warmth that make this manga lovely to read.

I'd recommend this manga to: women who love gentle romance stories, those who like school settings and misfit characters. Perfect as a lazy weekend read.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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