Name: Your Gentle Hand (Kimi no Yasashii Te)
Publisher: Shusuisha (JP) Digital Manga (US)
Artist: Noriko Yamauchi
Translation: Leighann Harvey
Free Preview: >>Vol 1<<, >>Vol 2<<
Need to read a manga about a heartbroken woman with the ability to read minds with just the touch of her right hand? A manga that has a wheelchair bound older brother who really masquerades behind the scenes as an elite computer hacker? A manga with some sleazy rich kid who…actually might not be so shallow? Or just a fairly solid, pretty thoughtful mystery manga? I think Noriko Yamauchi’s Your Gentle Hand fits that description, and if you can pony up some cash to get it, you should be rewarded with a pretty enjoyable piece of fiction.
Your Gentle Hand revolves around Mitsuki Etou, a graphic designer who got herself into a car accident when she was young. She ended up only getting a few scratches while her mother died and her older brother, Nao, got hurt severely and is bound to a wheelchair, but since that day, she’s had the ability to read people’s minds at their moment of thought with her right hand. With her power, she ended up reading into the minds of people who didn’t really mean what they say. She concurrently dubbed it, “The Witch’s Curse” and placed a glove on her right hand so she wouldn’t have to read the thoughts of anyone anymore.
Not surprisingly, this doesn’t work out, whether it’s her love life (where she broke up with someone after learning he was cheating on her), and in her social life, where she ends up running into an intern as she headed home, ends up talking to said intern because said intern seemed troubled, and learns that that intern is planning to kill a man since he drove her sister to suicide. And unfortunately for Etou, it doesn’t turn out to be a joke, and now she gets herself involved with a man who’s actually rich and loves to be with woman and a murder mystery that’s fairly bizarre.
In this case, bizarre works well here.
I really wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into with Your Gentle Hand. It was a Josei manga (and there’s not a lot of those licensed out here) and it did have the supernatural element in play (the right hand), but other than that, I was somewhat prepared to think it would be a ok, nothing too special manga; instead, I was surprised at how the stories managed to draw me in, and without bordering on tedium or anything silly. Ok, for some people, they may call out elements that seem to make things too easy: you have the brother, Nao, who in his spare time is a hacker capable of getting information from anywhere, you have Etou’s hand that, mostly in Vol 2, forcefully moves the plot along, or maybe there might be issues with how the stories are themselves for some people.
But for me, the stories were presented suitably, with a nice pace where I wasn’t bogged down, and since it was a mystery I did have to play guessing games, and some of the twists were pretty surprising, and a case of you can’t always believe the “victim” in something that’s pretty serious. While these stories happen, the characters that appear manage to become pretty memorable as they grow through events. Yeah, you could have predicted that the supposedly rich guy that seems to be with woman, Kitazono, would change up his act now that he’s gotten himself involved with Etou, but within the stories it was nice to see the actions take place, and not too much talking, that develops the characters.
But arguably the most memorable character I’ve read in manga since I’ve started reading manga seriously some years ago was Kikuko Sumikawa. In Volume 2, Kitazono asks Etou to be his pretend girlfriend so he could get Kikuko off his back. That story ends up turning into one where almost anything said is not true and while there are characters that are redeemable, there is absolute scum out there you just can’t change no matter what. But the reaction by Kikuko to the appearance of Etou was pretty memorable:
And the best (or, maybe the worst depending on how you look at it) part is she doesn’t change one iota in this arc. And this arc is pretty heavy on what content takes place.
Anyways, how Yamauchi plotted her stories and what to tell — while also making sure while the romance is there, the romance doesn’t overwhelm the tone of the manga — is what really makes Your Gentle Hand a fun read. Even the last extra story, “Blind” is pretty well thought out and quite effective (especially so since it doesn’t rely on reading minds), though it does involve a bit of crazy in a character. I hope that’s not something that happens in real life, but real life can get pretty crazy. Combined with the solid art and the fact that some things could have been tied up weren’t, I was mostly disappointed that this was all that there was. It felt like it could have gone a lot longer. But thanks to this I can now say two things: one, I’ll be keeping Ms. Yamauchi in my “manga artists I need to keep an eye on” and I can also say this is a pretty good manga that I can recommend you read if you get the chance.
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