We Were There Vol. #08 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, August 27, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, January 05, 2010
The first few chapters drag, but the emotional payoff is both worth the wait and exciting in terms of what it promises will come.
Writer/Artist: Yuki Obata
Translation: Nancy Thistlethwaite
Adaptation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
What They Say
I don't know if I'm following my fate - or going against it.But there is one thing I want - and that is for Yano's wish to come true. Nanami Takahashi falls for Motoharu Yano, the most popular, carefree boy in class. For Nanami, it's first love, but Yano is still grieving the death of his girlfriend who died the year before.
Nana and Yano's second year in high school is drawing to a close, which means it's time for them to start deciding which colleges they want to apply for. Like many teenage couples, they both end up tweaking their choices to fit each other, but Nana is at least reasonable enough to make choices based on what she wants. Her strength in the face of their potential separation makes Yano's choice of a safety school so that he can be with her if she doesn't succeed a little disappointing. Yuri also goes against the wishes of her mother and applies to schools in Tokyo, though this bit of drama is given only a few pages and feels more like a plot point the author had to include to pave the way for future romantic drama.
Yet while they're planning how to be together in college, a year from now, the happy couple is being torn apart in the present. Yano's mother is moving to Tokyo, and though Nana wants him to stay, she tells him that it's okay for him to go. I'm inclined to be a little cynical on this point, as Yano's mother is suffering from a fairly major illness and recovering from a divorce, so he shouldn't really need his girlfriend's "blessing." When this comes to a head and Yano must make his decision, the result is exactly as it should be, and the farewells he makes are poignant and dramatic--exactly what this series has excelled at since the beginning.
The driving force behind the emotion in We Were There has long been, at least for me, the nostalgic view it has on its own subject material. So I wasn't surprised to find myself getting choked up at the end of the volume, when the reason for that emotional distance is finally revealed. The first three chapters won't disappoint fans of the series, either. Yano's inner turmoil over whether he should go to Tokyo with his mother or stay in Hokkaido with Nanami is another exercise in the sort of teen angst that the series has always focused on, with that same touch of realism it's always contained. For all that Yano may deliberate, there's never any question as to which path he's going to take--it's only the mindless devotion of teenage love that makes him think he might stay. Though this hasn't been my favorite volume of the series (the first three chapters drag on a bit and the events with Yuri are forced in as a prerequisite to later drama), the events of the final chapter have me looking forward to the next volume with nervous anticipation.
Mania Grade: A-
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: We Were There