A Perfect Day for Love Letters (aka: Koifumi-biyori) Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, June 12, 2006
Release Date: Thursday, June 16, 2005
Translated by:David and Eriko Walsh
What They Say
Five Letters... Five chances at love. When a librarian receives a love letter hidden in one of her books, she finds a very unlikely reading partner. The meanest boy at school sends a letter that falls into the wrong hands, compelling him to reveal a side of himself that no one ever expected. A mistreated young girl finds hope in a friend, and the strength to leave her troubled past behind. There's a single love letter " and it's author could be any one of a number of boys. Now the search is on to discover the tender wordsmith's identity. When a mailman befriends a blind woman who recently lost her companion, he tries to heal her loneliness through love letters. George Asakura leads us through five stories with humor, wit, and mystery to keep us guessing each new delivery. You've got mail!
An anthology series with love letters as the central theme provides plenty of material for an enjoyable romantic read.
The cover is an intriguing image of a woman holding a letter to her face as she looks off-camera. The logo is designed to look like a cancelled stamp on a letter. Red and purple are the dominant colors. The back cover continues the same color theme, with a small image of a young man reading a book while lounging about. The back cover synopsis uses a font that makes it look handwritten, continuing the letter theme. It's all rather well designed and attractive. I do have to ask, though, what is the point of having a table of contents with page numbers if there isn't a single page number in the body of the book?
George Asakura's artwork (George is a woman, by the way) is both busy and coarse. It's quite simple as well. I'm reminded of Mayoco Anno, the artist responsible for Happy Mania and Flowers & Bees. It has that same rough and sometimes unattractive quality to it, though not as extreme. But the personalities really come through well. The panel layouts are fairly typical, though she does like to use unusual perspectives from time to time to get her point across.
The translation and adaptation by David and Eriko Walsh is very good. It read well and I was never at a loss over what was going on. Some Japanese terms were left unexplained, but translation notes in the back explains them, which I appreciated. Nearly all sound effects are translated right on the page, using small unobtrusive text.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ririko is a high school student who enjoys the solitude of the campus's library, a small detached building that is sparsely used. Being a librarian is the perfect school activity for her. But one day she gets a love letter inside a book. The exchange of letters between her and the mystery man leads her to someone she wasn't expecting. In the second story, a young woman intercepts a love letter meant for someone else. It's from Masumura, a heavily tattooed and not a little intimidating classmate. She manages to return it to him with a letter of her own without him knowing who she is. They begin corresponding, which leads to her falling in love with him. The next story takes place in a small town in the winter. A girl with a bad reputation leaves a letter behind, which a classmate finds and believes might be a suicide note. He starts to write to her, and gives her a chance to change her life for the better. In the fourth story, a less than feminine girl gets a love letter in her locker, in which she's called "cute" for the first time in her life. She decides she's going to change and become more like a real girl. Unfortunately for her, she's not the sharpest tool in the shed, and her efforts at finding the author of the letter are giving the other boys in school the wrong impression of her. Fortunately for her, she has a clever best friend who is more than happy to help her find the person who wrote the letter. In the final story, a young mailman has been delivering letters to a woman who plays the cello. She always played for a man before, but lately she's been by herself and she's not playing any more. It turns out she's blind, and when he delivers the letters from the missing man, she asks him to read them for her. Instead of reading the letter in which he dumps the girl, he makes up a love letter instead. Unfortunately, he now needs to keep up the charade, even as he's falling in love with her. At some point, he's going to have to tell her the truth.
This is a very enjoyable collection of stories, from humorous to hopeful to warmly romantic. Asakura's artwork is a little on the rough side, but it still works to tell the story well. I liked that a couple of the stories were told from a man's perspective, varying not only how the stories were told, but the expectations as well. I also liked that not all the characters were fabulously beautiful or smoothly handsome. It was nice to see love blossom between some less than beautiful people. The payoff in every story was excellent, building the tension just right. These are some very well written stories. I enjoyed the collection very much.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Released By: Del Rey
Orientation: Right to Left