I’ve decided to add in the Otome Game reviews I’ve done under the Reviews page so all of you can read them. It’s not much, but I’ll put them there for you guys to read them anyway 🙂
For this week’s review, I thought really long about what I should write about since I’ve been reading lots of short mangas so that gave me a wide pool of manga to choose from for this week’s post.
I decided to do on Aoi Kiseki, a short manga that’s only of 5 chapters long but is really sweet and adorable. This story is by Mitsuki Miko and its genres are Romance, School Life, Shoujo and Sports. I’ve only very recently been very interested in manga with the sports genre but I’m quite picky with it. I prefer to read manga with certain sports in it – swimming (the art for swimming is beautiful), archery and basketball. Let me know if you guys know of any good shoujo manga with these sports in it yeah? ^^
Sakura Ageha witnesses Wakatsuki Ran being confessed to in school. He turns down the confession, stating that he’s only interested in swimming and doesn’t want to think about anything other than that. That is the kind of person he is, the prodigy and star swimmer of the Swimming Club. On a side note, he’s also somewhat like Nanase Haruka from Free! – someone who loves the water so much that he’d jump into it immediately, even if with clothes on.
Ageha is your typical shoujo girl – one who looks for love and thinks that putting all your effort and spending all your youth on club activities is lame. One day, Ageha encounters Ran on her way to somewhere and she asks him if could go visit his club. Internally, she wants to just see if he’s really all that amazing as the rumours say.
When she goes to visit the Swimming Club, everyone stops everything they’re doing when Ran shows signs of preparing to swim. The club members whisper that he rarely swims during practices but then say that then again, he doesn’t need to because he’s a ‘prodigy’ after all.
Ran swims and Ageha is stunned at how beautiful and incredible he looks while swimming. She goes up to him and asks him to teach her how to swim. Ran refuses though and the two banter back and forth. Standing a distance away, Ageha’s friend notes that it is the first time she’s ever seen Ran smile like that.
Ageha finds out that Ran trains and practices swimming after club activities, when everyone has left and gone home. She watches him as he swims and soon, she realises that she has fallen for him. She decides to stay back and practise too and she tells Ran that she wants to work hard so she can try and catch him. Those words make an impact on Ran, who’s never had anyone who wanted to try and catch him because he was a prodigy.
He smiles, and tells her to try and catch him.
Impulsively, she confesses to him and Ran’s reaction is misleading but they are interrupted by a club member who came in and wanted to close and lock up the place. A hilarious scene follows as Ran pushes Ageha down into the water to hide her but the air bubbles she releases due to lack of air makes it seem as though he’s breaking wind to the club member XD
During swimming practice, Ageha is scolded by a club member who tells her that amateurs who join the club to play is a nuisance but Ran stands up for her and defends her. He then teases her but still tells her to do her best. Ageha decides to do her best as well as confess to him again. They meet again the next day and Ran spots a swimming Ageha – a swallowtail butterfly and comments that ‘Ageha’ is a nice name. He suggests that Ageha do the butterfly stroke, saying that if she did it, she might even fly.
While mustering up her courage to try and confess to him again, Ran notices that she makes weird faces and laughs. He comments that no guy would want to have anything to do with her like that. Upon hearing this, Ageha gets mad and leaves, saying that she won’t tell him anymore. Ran tries to stop her, telling her to finish what she wanted to say but Ageha tells him to let her go and that she hates him. As she runs down the staircase, she trips and Ran seeing that happen, leaps towards her in an attempt to save her. He doesn’t reach her in time though, and the next page shows both of them unconscious on the stairs, with blood under Ageha’s head.
The accident leaves Ageha with an injury on part of her brain, making her lose her ability to vocalise and make speech. Ageha is shocked at this but she hides her hurt and sadness behind a smile. She tries to communicate with Ran with little gestures such as waving and smiling when he comes to visit her in the hospital ward but he doesn’t understand. He tells her to just speak but Ageha turns away. She decides that she won’t let him find out about her speech impediment to spare him from feeling bad and guilty about it. She gives him a bright smile, the most beautiful one in the whole manga to tell him that she’s alright.
Ran tells her to come back to the pool soon and that he would be waiting for her to tell him she loves him one more time. Watching a swallowtail butterfly take off, Ageha silently tells Ran to wait for her.
When she returns to swimming, she switches over to the butterfly stroke. Ran, as usual, is in perfect condition despite his injury from the accident. Ageha now uses a whiteboard and a marker to communicate her thoughts to her friend Ikumi and Ran spots this from a distance. He finds out through a club member that the accident that they had had caused her to lose the ability to speak. For a moment, Ran is stunned at this revelation, clearly the only one who was unaware of her loss.
Ageha continues to practise swimming the butterfly stroke but she fails at it.She is told to give up but she refuses, thinking that if she can’t overcome this obstacle, she would never be able to catch Ran.
We find out that Ageha has to go back to the hospital for speech rehab and while she’s changing in the girls’ room, Ran bursts in and announces that he won’t be letting her leave. He then goes right in and drags her out of the room with all the girls still in the midst of changing their clothes XD
Ran tells Ageha that she shouldn’t force herself to smile and that she should stop acting strong for he will be the one who will take care of her. He then continues to say that there’s no way she could ever catch up with him so he’ll just pull her along with him as he swims – always (so sweet T.T)
She asks him to teach her how to swim again and this time, Ran smiles. He teaches her the butterfly stroke, but he’s a strict teacher. The club members look at this new development and notes that it is the first time he’s teaching someone.
With Ran coaching her how to swim, Ageha manages to quality for the prefectural meet preliminary round and in her joy she reaches out to Ran and hugs him.
At the prefectural meet, Ageha watches Ran swim in his category and smiles to herself that although their love may always be number 2 and swimming as number 1 to Ran, that’s fine because that’s why she fell in love with him. She cheers for him when he wins his category and then he goes to give her encouragement in the form of ‘legal doping’ for her category next. In her mind as she prepares to dive into the pool, Ageha promises that she’ll follow Ran forever.
The manga ends with a scene of Ran lying in the river again and Ageha coming to fetch him before going to school. She’s completely healed and can now speak again. He smiles when she arrives and they go to school together.
I really liked this story because it had a fairly simple plot:
girl wants to fall in love – she falls in love with the handsome, popular swimmer – he is difficult to get along with but slowly opens up to her through seeing her determination – girl gets into an accident, has an injury and doesn’t want the guy to find out – guy finds out eventually, has fallen in love with her by then – girl is encouraged not to give up and presses on – both become a couple
The whole thing was sweet and touching and it also had themes on not giving up and believing in yourself so I really like those aspects of it. The art was beautiful and the smiling faces of Ageha after the accident could not hide the hurt she was feeling. I mean, you could tell that she was smiling to be strong but there was hurt and sadness underneath it. I really liked Ran’s character, being the handsome prodigy who teases the girl he likes yet shows her such gentle kindness at the same time. This story is one that you won’t regret reading. It is one of the mangas out there that is short but sweet and leaves you with this warm feeling when you finish reading it.
Art: 10/10 (Manga art of swimming is so beautiful, for some reason. And Ran and Ageha are so attractive)
Story line: 9/10 (A story about a girl who matures from her fictional idea of love and learns about not giving up? Definitely heartwarming)
Chapter length: 8/10 (30+ pages each chapter)