Another manga review this week, and it’s one I’ve been really looking forward to writing. It’s done by one of my favorite manga authors (and artist, for that matter), Sahara Mizu. It’s recently been completed (at least in a way I could access and read) and at 5 volumes it’s not even too long. It was serialized in Comic Bunch and ran starting in 2007. My Girl is just a sweet story about a young man and the daughter he never knew he had. But let’s explore it a bit deeper than that.
My Girl is the story of Kazama Masamune. He’s just some guy that works at a toy company. Honestly, not very interesting. He’s also stuck in the past, the past being his old high school girlfriend, Tsukamoto Youko. He just can’t get over her. As the story starts, Kazama takes a call at work, from the mother of ex-girlfriend. Youko had died, in an accident. Kazama rushes over to the funeral, and hears the news that Youko had a 5 year old daughter. Curiously, that dates the daughter as being born a little bit after Youko left Kazama’s life. Kazama finds the girl, Koharu, outside his office not that long after the funeral, who gives him a message from Youko.
It turns out Youko left Kazama for his sake, to not burden him with the daughter she was going to have. In fact, that daughter is also Kazama’s daughter, the girl Koharu. And that establishes the setting for this story. It’s really just the daily life of Kazama and Koharu as they both try to get over the loss of Youko, and adjust to their new life together. That’s it, but it’s so much more than that. Sahara Mizu has a real talent for creating warm and heartfelt stories that really just make you happy, and My Girl is no exception to that. There are a lot of “one-shot” type chapters, and also several small story arcs. Every little story in this manga is a great read, and each chapter has you leaving feel warm, content, and fulfilled. I can’t explain it or give it any more praise than that, really.
There are several characters, but a few are introduced as the story goes along. The main characters are Kazama and Koharu, and they’re wonderful characters to watch and read about. Kazama is kind of thrust into a crazy situation from the get-go, but he handles it admirably and quite amazingly. Maybe he’s a bit inept, and in general an awkward guy, but his heart is always in the right place. Koharu, on the other hand, is incredibly mature for her age. She’s 5 parts mature to every 2 parts childproof, and all parts adorable. Together they make quite the pair. I suppose a fair criticism would be there’s not really enough conflict in the manga, and maybe it’s a little boring to read about people being happy or enjoying themselves all the time. While there are some arguments and a bit of drama, I think My Girl really isn’t about that. It’s more about overcoming, and the happy moments. It’s all about the happy ending, of course! And I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I don’t normally jump on this train, but I actually really love Sahara Mizu’s art. It’s just clean and pretty and wonderful. The character designs too, they’re stellar. My favorite bits are the colored sections she does, which you’ll see several examples of littered throughout this article. I think I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves on that front. As far as the pacing goes, well, this manga is intentionally quite slow-going. As a result, there’s a lot of panels where not much is going on. I think that’s okay, but I can see why it might turn off some people to the series. To those detractors, I say just read it. It’s quite obvious from the beginning what kind of story it’s going to be, so if you don’t like it within the first few chapters, you probably wouldn’t like it at all. Sahara Mizu does great work though, so I’m sure anyone can enjoy it.
– Gorgeous art
– Wonderful story
– Adorable characters
– Could be seen as boring