Over the Rainbow

April 2, 2010 dreamkaleidoscope
Tags: , , , ,

Originally posted on Mar. 5, 2010 at LiveJournal.

TITLE: Over the Rainbow
PUBLISHER: Central Park Media
RATING: Teen (13+)
SCORE: 4 (Bad)
RECOMMENDED FOR FANS OF: Keiko Honda, All My Darling Daughters, romance

It’s always a risk to blind buy a volume of manga when you’re unfamiliar with the mangaka’s other works and haven’t read many reviews about the title. It worked out for me a few weeks ago when I picked up Angel’s Coffin during a “going-out-of-business” sale at my local Waldenbooks, but Over the Rainbow was definitely not worth the bargain bin price of four dollars I paid for it at Right Stuf.

Over the Rainbow is the story of two up-and-coming lawyers in their late twenties named Arou Bouya and Keita Daigo. One day, while spending the day at an amusement part with divorced Keita’s young son Toru, they encounter a beautiful young woman on the roller coaster. The woman, for some inexplicable reason, has completely lost her memory. The only clue to her idenity is a ring she wears, which bears the engraving, “To Key, with love,” so she is given the name Key. A few months later, when Arou and Keita decide to start their own law practice, they hire Key to be their receptionist. Together, they handle some unusual legal cases while a romance develops between Arou and the amnesiac.

One of the biggest problems with this series is that, as a one-shot, it is only five chapters long. When the storyline stretches over roughly about two years, there’s just not enough pages to let a story like this develop in so few chapters. Things just…happen in Over the Rainbow. There’s little-to-no build up to anything, not even the romance between Arou and Key. It’s clear that Arou has a bit of a crush on Key from the moment they meet at the amusement park, but they interact so rarely and have so little sexual tension between them that it comes as somewhat of a surprise when Arou suddenly decides he’s in love with Key in the fourth chapter. And the mystery of Key’s past? We get some hints as to who she was before she lost her memory, but nothing really concrete. That whole plotline just kind of goes nowhere, really. We never learn why she got amnesia in the first place, and it’s hard to tell if the things we do learn about her are the truth.

It certainly doesn’t help matters that Arou and Key are simply boring characters. They’re generic nice guy and generic nice girl, nothing interesting or noteworthy about them at all. The character I found myself most fascinated by was actually Keita, but, to my disappointment, he only got one chapter devoted to his story. It’s a shame, because I would have much rather read four more chapters about his life as a single father who is still in love with his race car driver ex-wife than Arou and Key’s dull romance. That might have actually been interesting. Even the clients and minor characters have more personality than Arou and Key.

One thing I do like about this one-shot is that it touches on some real-life issues that you don’t normally see dealt with in manga (at least from an adult’s point of view): divorce, miscarriage, single parenthood, working mothers, sexual harrassment, therapy, death of a child, attention-deficit disorder, deafness, and elderly dementia among them. Granted, nothing is explored in depth, but I appreciated that the subjects were at least touched upon.

I have to say, I find it strange that CPM decided to rate this series 13+. Not only is it unlikely that the average thirteen year old is going to be interested in a story like this that was written for an older market, but there are several sex scenes and sexual situations that I feel are a bit too risque even if they don’t show any breasts or butts. (One in particular during the last chapter raised my eyebrows.) It’s a questionable choice, in my opinion, but your mileage may vary. They also didn’t do a very good job with the translation. There were several times I was confused about what was going on because dialogue was put in the wrong speech bubble, and it got on my nerves how they capitalized every new line when a sentence was broken up by ellipses.

The artwork is probably this story’s one saving grace. It’s not anything incredible, mind you, and it’s definitely a title from the nineties, but I did like Honda’s artwork. Most of the characters have a unique look to them, making it easy to tell everyone apart, and the three leads are fairly attractive.

Even with the nice artwork and the decent chapter about Keita, though, I can’t in good conscience recommend this title unless you’re looking for something to cure your insomnia. As of this writing, Right Stuf still had about thirty books left in stock in the Bargain Bin, but if you want my opinion, I say save your four dollars and put it toward something more worth your money — like Angel’s Coffin or All My Darling Daughters, two infinitely better one-shot manga volumes. You’ll thank me later. Trust me.


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