Mangaka: Ryukishi07 (story), En Kito (art)
Review Status: Complete (2 Volumes/2 Volumes – sold in omnibus format)
Licensed: Yes, this is licensed by Yen Press.
Art: It’s Higurashi. Cute girls, large eyes, gore everywhere.
Summary: It’s been almost a year since Natsumi and her family moved from the town of Onigafuchi. Her grandmother, a native of Hinamizawa Village, fears that they will be cursed for abandoning the mountains, but Natsumi has never been happier, making new friends and enjoying school life. When a terrible gas explosion in Hinamizawa wipes out the villagers, her grandmother is convinced it is the wrath of the village god, Oyashiro-sama. Natsumi’s family has never taken Grandmother’s beliefs seriously, but her devotion to Oyashiro-sama has taken a frightening turn. Have the old woman’s fantastical convictions gone too far? (back cover of omnibus)
Review: This is an expansion of the Higurashi universe, a story told of peripheral characters that are affected by the disaster of the village. This is a rare look at those who are distantly affected and would be overlooked in most of the arcs.The vast majority of the time, Higurashi is not a happy tale, and this is no exception. Natsumi is a young girl that really hasn’t thought about leaving. She’s not a fervent follower of her grandmother’s religion (even asking for some bribery to pray), and had few cares outside of her new friends and her newfound crush. This makes it all the more earth-shaking when Hinamizawa is destroyed and her family starts tearing apart because of the strain of her grandmother’s beliefs and her parents’ needs. This is very much a modern story of differing generational values, but one that takes the Higurashi twist.
This arc hits a little more brutally than some of the other ones. There is an incredible amount of gore here and some brutality I didn’t expect, especially how her grandmother apparently drowns puppies in a sick ritual intended to appease her god. Natsumi is confronted again and again with the bodies of her parents and grandmother. Blood isn’t in short supply. And some of the odd and unusual occurrences put her in the public eye because it’s happening in a town well away from Hinamizawa, instead of the towns near it where all the elderly are going insane.
The first time I read this I ended up being shocked by the twist this has concerning the culprit, but with reflection and a second read it seems self-evident. That doesn’t make it any less shocking when Natsumi’s family is destroyed by death and she feels that Oyashiro-sama is wanting her blood as well. What does differ from most of the Higurashi arcs is that this has a bittersweet ending. Even though her family is dead and Natsumi needs to insulate herself from emotional stress, there is hope that she will be able to live a happy family and be with the boy she’s fallen in love with.
Recommended: 18+. This is brutal with the gore and violence. I mean, even for a Higurashi story, it goes above and beyond what I normally see. I think what pushed me over was the drowned puppies.
Overall rating: 8/10. A solid addition to the Higurashi universe. However, those who are familiar with the series shouldn’t be too surprised by the ‘twist’ about all the dark murders. Still…semi-happy ending.
Mangaka: Noriyuki Yamahana
Review Status: Incomplete (3 Volumes/8 Volumes)
Licensed: No, this manga is not licensed in the US.
Art: It might be seinen, but it takes a more cartoon-y style than most of this demographic. I would liken it to Yotsuba. Everyone is darned cute, though.
Summary: A man comes home one day to have his wife give him divorce papers. A woman comes home to her apartment one day to find a woman she doesn’t know wrapped in a towel coming out of the shower. They both get conned by the same real estate conman on the same house, a 4LDK. So now the man, his two sons, the woman, and her two daughters live in the same house. (Manga Updates)
Review: Okay, I’ve already reviewed the first volume a while ago, so I’ve finally decided to follow up with that. These next two volumes move the plot along with Natsumi and Shoutarou. Natsumi is tired of being gossiped about and dealing with the other housewives, but can’t deny that Shoutarou is super-nice. Shoutarou? He’s just trying his best to get along and make nice, but Natsumi is making it difficult. They have to deal with other suitors, false accusations of being molesters, and the Parent Trap antics of their youngest kids.
I still say that this is a fantastic manga for having competent parents. Manga and anime rarely deal with it in such a sensitive manner. If you’re familiar with Bunny Drop, then you’ll be familiar with a lot of the trials that Shoutarou has to deal with – being demoted, having to put family above work, and having a good time with his kids regardless. However, things work out a little more fairy-tail than Bunny Drop simply for the fact that somehow, Shoutarou still is a manager when he’s demoted (albeit of the worst-performing store in Tokyo) and manages to make it the best one in the city.
My favorite parts definitely deal with Natsumi. She’s a bit of a butthead when it comes to romance. She’s so turned off by her husband’s behavior and how she’s so scrutinized that she becomes stubborn to the basic niceties that Shoutarou does for her. Yet that doesn’t mean Natsumi doesn’t notice when she isn’t being petty. At the same time, even with all her behavior, the way she thaws definitely feels real. She knows and appreciates a good man, and all the ones that even make a move to her are jerks and pompous idiots. All are foiled through sheer chance (the littlest ones serving one spoiled food is rather hilarious).
It’s a relief to see them able to really appreciate each other and how much their kids like each other by the end of the third volume. As thick-skulled as they are, they have done this dance before and know a good thing when they have lived with it. While it’s a story that’s definitely as sweet as sugar, it’s still a joy to read.
Recommended: 13+. There’s an incident where Shoutarou walks into the room (clothed) but with morning wood. It’s blanked-out on the scanlations I read, and shouldn’t shock any kid that’s familiar with how men’s bodies work.
Overall Rating: 9/10. It’s a little too unrealistic, but honestly…it’s a FUN read. Just fun, sweet and funny.