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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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11/06/2008 Entry: "Manga Review: We Were There vol. 1"

We Were There vol. 1
Story and Art: Yuki Obata
Published by VIZ Media
ISBN-10: 1-4215-2018-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-4215-2018-6

Review by Kris

Nanami Takahashi (throughout the rest of the book she's known as Nana) has just started high school. Her goal is to be uber friendly and make lots of new friends. She starts off with her neighbor Yuri Yamamoto, but Yamamoto doesn't seem to be too friendly. After making a few new friends she hears the girls talking about a guy named Motoharu Yano. He was very popular in middle school and his popularity with the ladies seems to have transferred to high school.

Nana is a bit flighty. She went to nominate one of her new friends as the class president and forgot her name. She stopped to ask someone in her class what her name was. The person who she stopped happened to be Yano. He gave her the wrong name and Nana ended up embarrassing herself in front of her classmates. From that moment Nana and Yano's crazy relationship began.

Nana had no intention to fall for Yano, but fate loves to surprise us. After confessing to Yano, Nana finds out that Yano had dated Yamamoto's older sister but she died in a car accident a year ago. Yano told Nana that Nana-san (the girlfriend) was his first true love. It looks like Nana has a lot to live up to.

We Were There is definitely a shojo manga. We have girl likes boy, boy is dwelling on the past, and they're all thrown into a high school setting. Manga soap operas are always in high school, there's always a death or severe illness, and the boy that our heroine focuses on is the one who is chased by all the girls. Despite the diatribe above I really liked We Were There. I found Nana's enthusiasm refreshing. She trudges along regardless of how things are going in her life. Another thing that made this enjoyable is the art. It is in the typical shojo style with the big eyes and slight frames drawn for the girls. You see slightly larger frames for the guys. But Yuki Obata-sensei's art is stunning. The detail is so amazing. It is so clean and detailed and simply beautiful. If you pick up this volume simply for the art, you won't be disappointed.

This is the first time I've picked up a VIZ Media manga. For the quality of the materials, buying it at $ 8.99 is a steal. The paper it's printed on seems to a little bit higher quality than that of a typical paperback book. The ink stays on the page, which is always a plus for me. I hate having to wash my hands every five minutes because there is more ink on my hands than on the page.

I say definitely check this title out. I'm looking forward to the upcoming volumes. What will happen between Nana and Yano?!

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