ARC Reviews

Falling Drowning, Vol. 1 by Yuko Inari

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Arc was given by Kodansha & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published after the release date (February 2nd, 2022)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Depictions and talk of a car accident, talk of loss/death of a parent

I love a good manga that gets me eagerly invested, craving for the next volume to descend into my grabby, little hands. This was such a great manga and it had everything. It has a love triangle, protective friends, a dark horse love interest, a main character with a tragic backstory, just everything you want and need in a manga to keep you invested in the series. I think I can say, with my whole chest, there are going to be many manga readers who don’t want to miss this series.

We follow Honatsu Tenma, a high school student who’s starting a new year at school with her childhood best friends, Toma and Akine. Only Tenma has missed a good chunk of school due to being sick and upon starting her new year, her friends become even more protective of her especially Toma. Toma is so protective that the other students start to notice and soon start a rumor of the two of them dating. With the past of a tragic accident from six years ago claiming her memories, Honatsu tries her best to do things her own way, at her own pace, despite her two friends constantly interfering. While Tenma is trying to get her bearings among all of this, she learns about a new transfer student, Shun Tachibana, who’s Toma’s friend from childhood, but also has rumors going around about him too. This is the start of Honatsu’s journey of discovery her divided feelings between Toma and Shun, and the secrets that are being kept away from her and her tragic past.

“Rather than a single moment it’s more like your feelings of “liking someone” gradually accumulate.”

Let me start by saying there’s something about a childhood friend to lovers trope that hits differently in literature especially in manga. Sprinkle in a love triangle and you’ve got a spicy story just waiting to unfold. There’s also a whole mystery that surrounds to two love interests of our main character that just adds a nice little touch to this story as a whole. What I’m trying to say, I’m invested. I’m in deep and I don’t want anyone to take me out of this rabbit hole.

Starting off with the characters, we have a lot of groundwork being established in a steady pace in this first volume. We see bits and pieces of their history, pieces of childhood, and little details that have you wondering, eager to know more about those characters. While the brief details of Honatsu’s memory loss is sprinkled throughout this volume, the approach to build up the characters first was nicely executed and the best method to approach this first volume in the series. It leaves the readers invested in the characters, but leaving us with a fiery desire to seek out the truth by reading volumes as they release. Which I’m going to be honest, I really want to know more about Shun due to there being so much mystery surrounding his character.

“I think people who can take care of themselves are far more precious.”

Speaking of characters, Honatsu’s character is probably one of my favorite main characters in a while. The way the mangaka established her character was really refreshing to read about. Despite having lost her memories, she has a strong desire to learn things on her own and discover what she likes and dislikes. Her approach to love felt very realistic as well. Falling in love, crushes are both feelings that can cause such internal stress for anyone, at any age. So seeing her character have all these thoughts and feelings about falling in love while she’s under going her own journey of self-growth was really refreshing, and felt realistic for someone of her age.

Of course, I say this with every manga, but the art style was superb. It gives me similar vibes to Ouran High School Host Club and it’s just an art style that’s like catnip to me. There were little details in the illustrations that were really eye pleasing. The way some of the scenes are illustrated fit perfectly to the emotions being set or expressed during that scene. It’s beautifully done, absolutely beautiful.

Overall, I really adore this manga and I really wish we had details for volume two! For a first volume in a series, the story has me fully captured and I’m obsessed with what the next volume is going to give us. Not to mention, I have so much intrigue and questions about so many things, and I just really need the rest of this series. Of course, if you’re a lover of contemporary, romance, and slice of life kind of books/manga then I highly recommend picking this manga up. Plus, I think the way story itself will capture you, making this a fast read.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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