Year: 2008 – 2015
Status: Completed first ten chapters of completed manga series
Author + Artist: Kaede Kochi
Version: XscansX (English scanlation)
Love So Life Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList, MangaFox, Kissmanga
Genre: Shōjo, Slice of Life, Romance, Drama
Though slightly later due to going to shopping this afternoon, I finally got around to writing this blog review of a classic Shōjo series, Love So Life. Before I get into an overview of the first ten chapters, I would like to point out that I read a bit of this series several years back, but never got around to completed the series. This can be blamed on things like moving house and computer game addiction. In any case, I recall quite a bit of what I read with fondness.
Love So Life is the story of a long time orphan teenage girl named Shiharu Nakamura, a young woman with aspirations to start her own daycare. As such, she spends a bit of time earning money caring for the children of several families. This includes Seijo Matsunaga, a twenty-five-year-old news anchor that was recently lumped with two-year-old twins of his brother after their mother suddenly died. Seeing the ease at which the twins take to the young woman’s care, he offers her twice what she is currently being paid to work exclusively for him. So begins a rather cute story of a kind young woman and the young man falling in love with her.
To begin with, this series is based on a rather simple premise: the growing relationship of a young woman and the uncle of the two children that she babysits. Unlike several romance comics and manga that I have read that try to tie a babysitter to her boss, Love So Life is a lot more mindful of things like age and social conventions. Even in Australia, there are still a lot of people that frown on an older man dating a sixteen-year-old. In the case of Seijo, we see him being deeply concerned over the idea of pursuing Shiharu for this very reason. As such, we see his character trying to avoid being alone with her because he is concerned that he might do something that screws up both of their futures…and all the while she is completely oblivious to the fact that he is attracted to her. This is a deviation to the usual manga thing of girls being the ones infatuated in the beginning.
As for Shiharu, we find a really sweet and driven young woman. Having spent most of her life in the orphanage, she’s the senior and most respected of the occupants. That places her in a position of respect that is well-deserved given that she’s taken it upon herself to care for the other children. Whilst many would see this as a burden, Shiharu has taken to the role like a duck to water. She is saving in order to make her dream a reality and has developed a host of tricks for dealing with children. Because of this focus, she doesn’t really notice his growing affection for her. However, she is aware that he is an important part of her life. This makes her more authentic compared to the host of nonsensical reasons that a lot of other supposedly serious manga give for a character being oblivious to the affections of another. As for her own motivations, I would say that her own treasured memories with her mother plays a huge part in what she is doing.
As for the twins, I find the portrayal of two-year-old children to be well withing the scope of reality. They have a mind of their own and next to no attention span. They also have odd interests.
As for other characters, we see very few other people that get speaking time as Shiharu tends to spend most of time with Aoi and Akane. She is wrapped up in their lives, not realising how much she is playing “mommy”. That being said, the time that we do get with other characters allow us some insight into Seijo and Shiharu’s lives.
To pacing, I find myself not having to ignore the passage of time as much as in other series. That being said, time does seemingly stand still during the first ten chapters. With the few events that take place during the series so far, one might expect the children to grow a bit taller and Shiharu to be somewhat close to graduation.
As for art, the art style is less dated than some of the series that came out at the same time. You can easily distinguish between the characters, but it isn’t spectacular. I would rate it as above average.
In conclusion, this series is very cute but mildly flawed. I enjoyed the slight tweaks to standard Shōjo stories, with the hero being the infatuated one and actually a nice guy. The dialogue and story is engaging, though some folks might not like how much Shiharu goes goo-ga over the munchkins. I recommend this series to anyone looking for a light-hearted Shōjo romance with strong slice of life elements.
Back to regular programming… maybe. 😀