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Manga Review: Love So Life

Year: 2008 – 2015
Author + Artist: Kaede Kochi
Version: XscansX (English scanlation)
Love So Life Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList, MangaFox, Kissmanga
Genre: Shōjo, Slice of Life, Romance, Drama

After several months, I have officially completed the Shōjo series Love So Life. As such, I am bringing you this review of the entire series rather than one for the final chapters followed by a later full series review. That seems a little inefficient overall.

When hardworking TV news reporter Seiji Matsunaga has his two-year-old twin niece and nephew dumped at his home by his recently widowed older brother, he takes it upon himself to care for the pair. When juggling his work life and the care of the toddlers becomes too much, he turns to a sixteen-year-old girl at a nearby orphanage for help. Shiharu is the oldest orphan at the institution and had to contend with the early loss of her father followed by her mother a few years later. With those fond memories of her time with her mother to guide her, she attempts to provide good memories for Aoi and Akane whilst also negotiating her growing romantic attachment for Seiji who also grapples with his own attraction to Shiharu in lieu of their age difference and the possible implications if they decided to become romantically inclined.
What will become of them when the twins move to the home of their maternal grandparents? Also, what happened to their dad? And what is with that Takeru guy?

This is a really adorable series. Most of you will have read some of my previous ten-chapter reviews of this series and likely get an inkling of why I really adore it. For those that don’t, I will attempt to elaborate.
First, I really like the characterisation. The characters are normal people with their own problems that are explained meaningfully over time. Even the least likeable character Nao had understandable motivations even if he was highly annoying a lot of the time. As mentioned in previous posts, Takeru is my favourite character in the series for some weird reason.
Second, we see the plot progressing in a steady fashion with numerous “ticking clocks” for our characters to negotiate. The drama makes sense even if it began to drag on slightly toward the end.
Third, the realistic concern over age difference and the possible implications of a relationship. The romantic elements are obviously an important focus of the series. However, we see an adult actually considering the problems of pursuing somebody that is underage. In this case, Seiji also has further concerns related to his job and the possibility of Shiharu getting kicked out of the orphanage for indecent conduct. The series does manage to portray both Seiji and Shiharu as responsible individuals and address their situation in a thoughtful manner.

In spite of all of the things that I liked about this series, there were a few things that annoyed me at times. The first thing is the artwork. As crisp as the artwork was, there were a few characters that didn’t stand out as much as they could have. The second was an issue with the time-shift that occurred in the last few chapters of the series. This felt a little unbalancing from a reader standpoint. I believe that a montage would have worked a bit better ahead of the outing in the final major sequence. Whilst these annoyances did irritate me, they are in no way made me think lesser of the series.

In conclusion, Love So Life is a sweet slice-of-life Shōjo Romance series with some really neat characters that I recommend to anyone looking for a mature relationship rather than a series that relies on sex scenes or convenient and ridiculous drama. To me, it will hold a special place in my heart for a long time to come. So, now I have to decide what my weekly read will be for now on. This could be tricky…

So, now I have to decide what my weekly read will be for now on. This could be tricky… I could go for another romance series but I’ve devoured a bit of romance of late and I would prefer to mix it up a bit. Perhaps I could read a drama or an action series. Maybe I could go for something involving talking cats that can also shoot laser beams from their mouths and do kung-fu. That’s a thing, right? 😀 Anyway, I will keep you guys posted on what I decide.


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Manga Review: Love So Life Chapters 81-90

Year: 2008 – 2015
Author + Artist: Kaede Kochi
Version: XscansX (English scanlation)
Love So Life Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList, MangaFox, Kissmanga
Genre: Shōjo, Slice of Life, Romance, Drama

Sorry about not getting this review out last week. As some of you already know, I had some health considerations that I needed to address. In any case, this will be the second last week before I conclude reading this series. I hope that you’ve been reading along with me.

A bit happened this time around. The first was a visit to their maternal grandparents by Aoi and Akane with Seiji after some help from Shiharu in getting them used to not having her around. We see them meet some relations that they aren’t already familiar with. We then move to the goings-on of White Day. Rio pesters the amusing Takeru, whilst Nao has to contend with his stalker girl. The biggest event pertains to how Seiji decides to deal with his own White Day celebrations with Shiharu. After many weeks of waiting, we finally have a confession in the latter parts of these ten chapters. And man, was it so freaking adorable. Seiji’s character continues to show his maturity in even how he confesses to Shiharu. We still have some way to go before their relationship is stable but it is in a good place leading up to the final instalments of the series. This will be slightly complicated by Seiji’s brother showing up unexpectedly after two years missing. The last sixteen chapters are sure to be a doozy!

Well, we finally have a confession from Seiji this week after a long time grappling with how he felt about Shiharu. I loved the way that this scene played out a LOT. We won’t have Shiharu’s answer for at least a little while but I do think that the payoff will be worth it. Any drama from here on out will relate more to the side arcs and simply distract Seiji and Shiharu for a little while before the twins leave Seiji’s household.

I have obviously been enjoying my own manga readings. There aren’t a lot of manga that has drawn my attention near as much as this series has. I will go into it in a bit more detail when I complete the series but suffice it to say that I will sad when I turn the final page of the last chapter.
What are you reading at present? I’d love to know about the series that you look forward to with each new instalment. If you have recommendations, feel free to let me know and I will look into each suggestion. Catch you guys next week!


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Manga Review: Love So Life Chapters 71-80

Year: 2008 – 2015
Author + Artist: Kaede Kochi
Version: XscansX (English scanlation)
Love So Life Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList, MangaFox, Kissmanga
Genre: Shōjo, Slice of Life, Romance, Drama

It is our newest ten chapters of Love So Life, drawing us closer to the completion of the series. If you’ve been reading along with me, perhaps you feel the same level of attachment as I do. Then again, perhaps not.

In this week’s instalments, Seiji and Shiharu prepare the twins for when the Aoi and Akane go to live with their maternal grandparents. We also see the two spending their second Valentine’s Day together ahead of Seiji’s birthday. Finally, Seiji and Shiharu prepare the kids for a family gathering with their grandparents and other members of that side of the family.

Though not much happened in terms of conflict during these ten chapters, we see Rio and Takeru encouraging our hesitant couple to finally acknowledge the elephant in the room. At least Seiji and Shiharu didn’t have to content with Nao again this time around. Though, I suppose that some of that issue was dealt with during the ten chapters that I read last week. However, the lead-up is still dragging on a little bit longer than one would like.
Here I am, wondering if I was ever hung up over a boy for as long as Shiharu has been since she figured out that she liked Seiji. That being said, I am not in my late-thirties now with my teen years somewhat blurred by several decades. What I do know is that my relationship with my husband need had the same complications as that of our fictional couple.

Anyhoo, that is it for this week. I will be reading this series until the end, leaving us with two weeks left to go. I suspect that the payoff will be worth it.
If you have any manga suggestions, feel free to post them in the comments section. (Try to avoid hentai, please. I don’t have an issue with it but that is more for my personal time rather than something that I’d like to review for this blog.) I look forward to checking out some of your recommendations. I will need something to read after I am finished reading Love So Life and I will go over the priority list and your recommendations as I get closer to the end of the current manga and might even move to multiple manga each week if need be.


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Manga Review: Love So Life Chapters 61-70

Year: 2008 – 2015
Author + Artist: Kaede Kochi
Version: XscansX (English scanlation)
Love So Life Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList, MangaFox, Kissmanga
Genre: Shōjo, Slice of Life, Romance, Drama

Hello again! It is that time of the week again where I take a look at the weekly manga instalments. We are in the final adorable weeks of the series Love So Life. Time to blubber like a child. WAAAAHHHHHH! Okay, maybe that is an overreaction, but even this close to the conclusion of the series, I am feeling a little sad. It is time to buck up, though, and get on with the job! (Yes, I totally needed to give myself that pep-talk.)

Shiharu receives some excellent relationship advice from an old lady living down the road from Seiji that she and the twins befriend. Spurred on by his reflections of the time before the twins came into his life, Seiji has dinner with his rather sweet and weird ex-girlfriend, Ayumi Fujita, helping them both move forward in their lives. Little Akane also discusses divorcing her reluctant boyfriend Kenta during dress-ups.
We move to Nao being grilled for mathematics notes before being pestered by that stalker girl. He finally does something to make his feelings to Shiharu plain, leading to some awkward moments for the two of them. She confides in Rio and considers the evidence that would have made his feelings obvious to anyone else but her. Finally, Shiharu talks to Nao and apologises for not being able to reciprocate as she already likes somebody else. (He knew that already, but whatever…)
Finally, Rio gets relationship advice from two girls at school. She explains the lack of something as simple as a schmooch for the five months that she’s been dating Takeru in spite of her numerous attempts to facilitate such moments. >queue hilarious flashbacks< We are once again shown just how much of an odd (and dense) guy that Takeru is. Rio finally plucks up enough courage to explicitly tell Takeru, clearing up his confusion as to what constitutes an appropriate moment for such things, resulting in an adorable kissy-moment.

Oh, my. This was a really eventful ten chapters. It is nice to finally deal with that elephant in the room that was Nao. I am grateful that it didn’t drag on for a longer period of time because that would have resulted in me wanting to throw my computer monitor out of the window in irritation. (Okay, maybe my second monitor.) We also have a revised deadline for the twins leaving for their maternal grandparents now as well. All of these things add up to some significant story developments.
As I have mentioned before and you have no doubt noticed in a lot of drama, some writers often drag things out too long. Thankfully, Kaede Kochi has not made this mistake with Love So Life. We also see the “dreaded ex” as a discarded notion, much on par with how former lovers are dealt with in series such as Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai (aka Please Love the Useless Me). I find this way of dealing with previous relationships somewhat refreshing as it refuses to demonise former relationships unnecessarily. Sometimes the ex isn’t a villain. Of course, sometimes they are but that is not the point that I am trying to make here. Unnecessary drama is unnecessary, period, and reeks of cliche.

So, now I have to deal with the last few weeks of reading the remaining chapters of this series. I think that I have made it obvious time and time again that I am suffering a little bit of grief over the upcoming conclusion of the series. However, that is all a part of reading a good story. You get attached to the characters. Much in all as you want them to achieve happiness, you will also miss them when they are gone.


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Love So Life Chapters 51-60

Year: 2008 – 2015
Author + Artist: Kaede Kochi
Version: XscansX (English scanlation)
Love So Life Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList, MangaFox, Kissmanga
Genre: Shōjo, Slice of Life, Romance, Drama

Sorry for delaying this post for a day. Unfortunately, I was feeling a little under the weather and was only able to get out a chapter of my serial yesterday. I will endeavour to stay ahead in future.
This week I look at chapters 51 to 60 of Love So Life. These chapters also bring us into the second half of the completed series. I am somewhat happy to say that this series continues to be a joy to read.

Chapters 51-60 sees Shiharu finally acknowledge that she is in love with Seiji and confiding in her friend Rio. Seiji is now seriously considering pursuing a relationship with Shiharu given the persistent pep-talks of Kinobu. And in the last few chapters, we see some flashbacks relating to Seiji and his brother’s relationship on top further explaining the events of Aoi and Akane’s mother’s death.

After nearly thirty chapters of waiting, this week’s reading finally led to our inexperienced heroine realising what those odd sensations that she’d been feeling around Seiji are. This was a long time coming, but it was a relief as a reader. However, we have a long way to go before it seems that either of our leading characters will actually pursue each other in a meaningful way given their own self-imposed rules of conduct and hang-ups.
To the other characters, Takeru is still a hoot to watch, Rio is awesome as well and Kinobu is still doing a good job of trying to prompt Seiji to address his feelings for Shiharu. Nao still irks me but at least understands his similarities to the girl stalking him. As for the twins, they are still freaking ADORABLE.
Love So Life continues to do flashbacks right in these ten chapters. As with previous chapters, flashbacks are used to build upon what we already know about Seiji as well as put into perspective how much life has changed for Seiji and the twins since Shiharu came into their lives. It also reinforces Seiji longs for the family life that he was missing during his own loveless upbringing.

In conclusion, these ten chapters continued to build upon the main characters brick by brick. For me, it felt meaningful and beautifully executed. As we move ever closer to the end of this series, I can only wonder what other hurdles that our hero and heroine will have to face besides the ones already in play – themselves.


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Manga Review: Love So Life Chapters 41-50

Year: 2008 – 2015
Author + Artist: Kaede Kochi
Version: XscansX (English scanlation)
Love So Life Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList, MangaFox, Kissmanga
Genre: Shōjo, Slice of Life, Romance, Drama

I am back with an overview/review of the next ten chapters of Love So Life. Thankfully, I am in a lot happier mood than when I read and posted the last entry about this series. Yes,

Seiji and Shiharu mentally prepare for the time when Aoi and Akane’s maternal grandparents start caring for the twins. Seiji and Shiharu go to visit her parents’ grave, leading to yet another uncomfortable moment. Rio and Takeru’s new relationship is progressing nicely. During an outing to an aquatic park with the Seiji and the twins during his summer break from work, Shiharu is becoming more and more mindful of how she feels about him. Seiji is dealing with his mutual attraction to Shiharu in his own weird way, focusing on treating her more like a family member in order to keep her in his life. Shiharu organises for a school trip to Hokkaido when she returns to school for the autumn term, with Rio understandably making a big deal about her getting a cell phone for the first time. Shiharu is surprised to learn that Nao is also going to Hokkaido during his own school trip. Rio surprises Shiharu by asking if Nao has approached her romantically since the Test of Courage at the festival. Shiharu dismisses the thought, still oblivious to Nao’s obvious intentions towards her. Queue bonding time between Shiharu and her female schoolmates. During an attempt to make his feelings plain to Shiharu, she thinks that she might be misunderstanding something again. Rio receives further confirmation that Shiharu likes Seiji. Finally, Seiji, Shiharu and the twins visit the maternal grandparents of the twins when their grandmother gets some time away from hospital treatment.

Chapters forty-one to fifty did a great job of hitting the right emotional notes without lingering on the weird love triangle thing between Seiji, Shiharu and Nao. I was extremely grateful that they didn’t focus too much on Nao either, which is a reprieve from the annoyance of the last few weeks worth of chapters. However, there did seem to be a lot less conflict in the usual sense for the characters.
We also got to see more of Aoi and Akane’s maternal grandparents. This makes the future care of the children less worrying for Seiji and Shiharu. However, we see the obvious attachment that both have to the children, becoming surrogate parents during the time that they’ve spent with the kids. This felt somewhat authentic to me, as an approaching change in your household and life in general, can feel devastating even when it is a positive change.
From an overall storyline point, the ten chapters held together nicely and we continue with that ticking clock element that began around chapter 40. With slightly more than half of the series left, I am somewhat curious as to what will be thrown at the cast besides the conflicts that we already seeing in play. I am certainly willing to wait and see.

 


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Manga Review: Love So Life Chapters 31-40

Year: 2008 – 2015
Status: chapters 21 – 30 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

It is another week and another ten chapters of Love So Life. I apologise ahead of time, but I might come off as a little grumpy this time around. 😦

Spoilers…. Do I need to say more?

In these ten chapters, we see both the relationships of Seiji and Shiharu and that of Takeru and Rio develop further. Shiharu is having serious problems dealing with her growing attraction to Seiji at this point, and it is only a matter of time before she finally admits it to herself. Nao is still interfering with Shiharu’s relationship with Seiji. We also see the addition of Koyama Yukina from high school as well as her friends Fujimura, Sakita and Hayama at the school festival, leading to Shiharu spraining her ankle for an extended period of time.
We are introduced to Morikawa Honoka, an admirer of Nao for the first time. Shiharu and the others find out that Honoka has been stalking Nao since the first year of high school. Fo some reason, she reminds me of Kinobu.
Rio finally confesses to Takeru is the most adorable sequence ever. Takeru seeks advice from Seiji in lieu of the fact that he recently started dating somebody else the day before and he has no clue what being in love feels like. We see Seiji’s reaction as he realises that the description that he is giving is how he feels about Shiharu. Rio later meet and start dating. Queue squeals of delight.

This week, we saw Nao take on a more active role in his pursuit of Shiharu. He has to be one of the most annoying characters in this series so far. Sure, I get that his character is supposed to have feelings for Shiharu, but he is just so unlikeable. I have begun to grow increasingly annoyed whenever I see his character in a scene. Is it wrong that I am hoping that he gets mauled to death by monkeys or savaged by a Tanuki? Yes, I dislike him THAT much. I am seriously hoping that he contributes something meaningful soon as the character is only providing irritation at present.
In contrast, Shiharu is becoming increasingly aware that her attraction to Seiji, but is still making sense of it all. It looks like this will drag on for a while longer, but I hope that the focus on the relationships of other characters will give us a well-needed reprieve from this growing drama until Seiji and Shiharu finally get their act together.
As for Rio and Takeru, their relationship is developing nicely. They hit it off immediately when they met for the first time during the last ten chapters, with some noticeable chemistry between the two. Their development into a couple was foretold, but it was so adorable to watch the confession play out. This sequence hit the right emotional notes for me. it is easy to root for this pair given that they have something meaningful to offer to each other.
To the characters that were introduced during these ten chapters, I found them to offer very little to the series so far. Given that each was given a name, I suspect that we will see some of them return in future chapters. Here’s hoping that they contribute something more meaningful next time around other than some weak comedic moments.

In conclusion, I still enjoy this series. However, I am growing increasingly annoyed at the character of Nao. In any case, see you guys next week.