Tsugumi Kawana (26 years old) reunites with her first crush from high school, Itsuki Ayukawa, at a get-together with an architecture firm and the interior design company she works at. He sends her heart aflutter, until she realizes he’s now disabled, and in a wheelchair. At first she feels she couldn’t date a guy in a wheelchair, but then her feelings begin to change…
Spoiler – Tearrrrrrsssssssss
Review – Firstly – I’m not disabled and I have not done any sort of in depth research into it. Nor do I know anyone who is on level with Ayukawa (Itsuki)’s disability. So my views are from my own POV, which much like Kawana’s are well intentioned but largely uninformed.
The art of this book is pretty and almost delicate – it can be rough at times, but its still very eye catching with the soft lines and attention to detail (especially as the chapters progress). The pacing is abrupt in transitions from one POV to another – the book is mainly from Kawana’s POV, but it jumps to Ayukawa for a chapter or so before going back, so that took a minute for me to catch on to.
As to the story – I appreciate that this wasn’t an instant “MY LOVE WILL OVERCOME THIS” scenario. Kawana, moreso than Ayukawa can outrightly see, tries to be honest with herself about how the idea of a relationship with Ayukawa would be. She doesn’t shy away from the fact that she doesn’t feel confident in her ability to help him in all the ways he needs, but she remains consistent that she wants to learn more. She wants to understand what Ayukawa is going through – good and bad, past and present – so they can build something true together.
There are several moments throughout where Kawana acknowledges that her assumptions were insensitive and ill-thought out. She apologizes to Ayukawa and asks him for his real opinion.
In contrast Ayukawa – who is content in his life and situation, seems…pessimistic about why Kawana is trying. He’s determined in his professional life, but his personal life? He’s given up because he doesn’t want to lean on someone or be a burden. His feelings came across quite well (when he’s talking with Haruto about how hard it can be or when he’s discussing what happened with his ex), but it felt he used the blunt reality of his disability as a shield as well. The transitions to his POV don’t always give us enough narrative grounding as to his thoughts, relying instead to wait until Kawana confronts him.
We go through a few awfully coincidental occurrences to test their burgeoning relationship, as is typical in a romance (instances where suddenly his ex, their friends and sudden family appearance test the couple).
I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes once Ayukawa and Kawana have begun to be more honest with each other about expectations.
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Published by: Kodansha Comics
Release: March 29, 2016
Series: Vol 1 (issues 1-6)
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Find Out More: Goodreads | Read Chapter One @ Kodansha