~ Her Memory ~
by Ashihara Hinoka
scanlated by Dragon Voice
I just read the first two chapters of this manga series and so far it is so interesting. I love a good mystery, mix it with beautiful shoujo illustrations, and a some romance and you've got my attention! From the same author who wrote Sand Chronicles, another great series :D
The series starts out with the recent death of a high-school classmate; her funeral is the catalyst that brings together our cast of characters - not to figure out how she died (cancer) but to find out who she was. The manga is a mix between a journey through the past and the present as the main character Mizuho Suga tries to PIECE together the puzzle that was Origuchi Haruka's life.
I like the main character so far, Mizuho is rather numb - she doesn't show her emotions or rather doesn't have any strong emotions - she is rather passive and gives up rather than fight or confront. But, she wants to change, at least as far as opening up herself. She is rather indifferent to the passing of her classmate, she hadn't really known the girl. The deceased, Origuchi Haruka is described as a very plain and quiet girl who was picked on and basically ignored by everyone as a loner - which may seem strange to us that so many people showed up for her funeral, especially since it was 1-2 years after they all graduated from high school... but the Japanese are a socially polite society and as the few panels of the mange suggests, a lot of people showed up because it was expected, respectful and as a social gathering, rather than to specially morn the girl herself. This is common, politeness and tradition an important aspect of Japanese communities. So I don't look to harshly on Mizuho as she witnesses the proceedings with more dispassion and reflection rather than sorrow.
Mizuho is more than a little shocked when the mother of the deceased reaches out to her for a favor since she was her daughter's best friend... tactlessly she blurts out the truth that were not friends and her daughter must have been lying to her... Her cold hearted response, a recent breakup, and a few choice words from an old friend/lover have begun to awaken Mizuho to her failings which prompts her need to change... she decides to reach out to the mother and try her best to perform the favor - find out about her daughter's secret life and who she was dating in high school.
It seems as if the majority of the secondary characters or people of interest are briefly introduced or foreshadowed to us at the funeral. Bubbly Nishida Remi, Mizuho's chubby and good natured friend, who seems to be in touch with everyone and knows a lot of the rumors and gossip. The womanizing yet charming Narumi Hikaru who is smarter than he lets on. Honor student Yanai Takashi, who seems to be all looks and little personality. Gym teacher "sexual harasser" Miyamoto. The prettiest girl in school Setouchi Madoka, who has a celebrity-life aura. A few others yet to be named.
I also don't want to leave out Origuchi Haruka, even though she is dead, it is her story we (and the characters) are intrigue by. What happened to her and who was she? This seemingly plain and quiet girl had quite a lot of secrets and many people seemed to have been touched or affected by her in some way - ways she herself probably didn't know. The more I learn about her, the more sorrow I feel that she is dead and I want to wish her back to life.
It is just the beginning, but it is definitely one I'm looking forward to following!
hmm, a new LJ feature...