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Old 2009-10-21, 19:34   Link #21
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Marathoned all the chapters today; heading out to Kinkokuniya to buy it tomorrow. I'll probably need the English/Chinese version as well for parts where the Japanese gets difficult.


Love the story and engaging characters. I think Umino Chika's art has improved; everything just seems prettier.

First time I've seen Umino Chika include "villains" in her work: In this case, Kyoko, Rei's "sister" and Rei's boyfriend, 20+ years older, married, and treats Kyoko (who is infatuated with him) and Rei like shit.

The mood of the story swings between healing and abusive/damaging, depending on the situation Rei finds himself in. The central struggle is that of Rei's tragic past (both from his original family and his adopted family) and how he tries to achieve happiness in the present, with help form Akari's family (in a way, his Present Family) and his new comrades in Shogi.

Kyoko is a bitch. An extremely effective one who derives greatest satisfaction when she can cause Rei to suffer, usually by guilt-tripping him over how screwed up she became. I don't get the impression that she has feelings for Rei. Whether Rei has romantic feelings towards her is ambiguous; something ranging from a childhood crush to a familial sense of obligation/responsibility, that he screwed up her life, or something. In addition, she leeches off of him because she fell out with her father over her loose life style. About the only redeeming point Kyoko has is that she's aware of how screwed up her life is.

Frankly, I never expected to dislike a character this much when I pick up a Umino Chika story. A great character though.

Akari is as good a person as Kyoko is a bad one; they are polar extremes in behavior and outlook on life. One copes with grief by self-destructive/latching-on behavior, one copes by working hard in life and caring for others around her. If there's to be romance at all in this story I hope it occurs between Rei and Akari, but everything has been strictly platonic so far.
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