The first manga I ever read was Pita Ten, a cute story about a bubbly angel who became a living annoyance to a quiet boy. I was charmed and excited to read it to the end, but it wasn’t until years later when I would find the complete series sold as a set in a Barnes and Noble, that I learned just how unique the manga genre can be.
Natsu no Zenjitsu (Yoshida Motoi) is a refreshing story that doesn’t sugar coat the shit stain that is life. It has a way of leaving the reader to reflect on just how much raw emotion can be portrayed through comics. The relationship of young artist Tetsuo and the beautiful art fan Akira takes center stage, as they discover what it means to love. It is an incredibly intimate series, made even more so by the fact that Tetsuo’s personal struggles revolve around his profession as an artist.
One heavy theme of the manga is relationships which range from the romantic to professional. An alluring and adult vibe comes forth as a result and is one that I’ve rarely come across in manga (Granted many of the ones I’ve read are relatively light-hearted with some dark themes intertwined within). Speaking of adult, this manga is definitely age restricted, though this is another fascinating aspect that kept me hooked. The sexual escapades of Akira and Tetsuo are equal parts adorable, awkward, and sensual to flawlessly portray the complexities of a sexual relationship.
The art is simple and beautiful, the story is not complicated but fulfilling, and (as I always seem to come back to) the characters are oh so very endearing. I’d highly recommend anyone to read this series (so long as they are 18+ years of age).