ARC was provided by NetGalley and Kodansha Comics in exchange for an honest review.
This review is being published before the release date (October 13th, 2020)
Content/Trigger Warnings: Underage drinking and side remarks directed at a side character who crossdresses
“Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth relationship: Tell people what they want to hear. Don’t focus on yourself, make sure they are having fun in the conversation. At least that the only way I know how to communicate.”
I can’t believe how much I loved this manga and I still can’t believe I didn’t know about this series sooner! This might be a new favorite manga series I need to invest in because this story line, these characters, oh be still my fluttering soul. Going into this book, not realizing how centered around art it was, and then being blown away by so much within these pages was truly an experience. And I just really enjoyed this manga so much, with my whole heart!
Our story follows second year student, Yatora Yaguchi, who’s always gone with the flow and making sure to be practical, to stay on the path his family expects of him. He’s spent most of his time pleasing those around him, never really talking about his passions or interests because to choose those would cause trouble for those around him, or so he believes. When one day he returns to the art room, he comes across a painting that stirs something within his soul and shortly after, his thoughts begin to be consumed by art.
I really loved Yatora as our main character. Yatora’s character is such a breath of fresh air especially in the manga world. Yatora is classified or labeled as a “delinquent”, but despite the bleached hair and the terrible smoking habit, Yatora is actually an honors student and has really high marks on their grade card. And like any coming of age story, we see a light shined upon some of the inner thoughts almost every high schooler has, thoughts such as passion vs. money, hobby vs. career, follow expectations vs. make your own path, peer pressure, parents support and disappointment, etc… We see a lot of that inner monologue with Yatora and I think many readers will be able to connect with a lot of those thoughts. There’s a moment where Yatora receives praise for a class assignment and how it touched him, how good it felt, and I truly believe that scene alone will resonate with so many readers.
“And those who are true to themselves make truly great art. Because art is a language without words.”
I think the progression of the story is the biggest factor that impacted my reading of this manga. The progression of this book is very much geared towards providing information about art and the various art school in Japan. Setting that aside, I couldn’t help becoming swept up in all the hard work, the dedication, and the way Yatora’s skills were developing. Even meeting the side characters and learning about their own skills was really enjoyable. I’ve never been an artist, but this book reminded me of how much I love to draw and sketch. However, I do think some readers will feel bogged down with the amount of information that’s scattered throughout this book.
I do want to say that there were a few minor things that caused me to reread the passages to make sure I was reading them correctly. Yatora’s friends are really disrespectful and there were times where it caught me off guard or it would throw off the entire vibe of a scene. There were also one or two moments where side remarks were made towards the side character Yuka, who cross dresses. For most readers, I think this will get overlooked or no one will talk about it. However, when I caught it and then noticed it was never challenged, it didn’t quite sit right with me. And that might be my own reaction especially due to cross dressing in the past myself, but it was hard to tell what the intentions were with those remarks and hopefully in future issues this will be challenged more.
“Liking something and saying so is scary.”
Overall, I had a pleasant experience and as I said, this might be a new series I’ll end up investing in. I’m eager to see how things will play out, I’m dying to know if Yatora will tell his parents, and most importantly, I want to see more of the side characters in the art club. There’s just a really soothing and enjoyable mood when all the art club students are together. Plus, the teacher is a a true gem and she’s one of those teachers who really cares for her students. If you’re looking for a new manga series to fall in love with, I definitely recommend give this series a chance. I think many readers will enjoy the progression of this manga and be eager to find out what will happen next!
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.