Mangaka: Shigeru Takao
Weary from running away from home, Ichiko Usami is picked up by an unusual boy wearing a mask. Awaking from her faint, Ichiko finds herself in something of a boarding house, surrounded by some very . . . different people, among them the masked boy Kohaku, who incidentally, never removes his mask around other people. Despite their strangeness, however, these people are truly kind and understanding, and Ichiko gets her guardians’ permission to stay for a while as she works through her trauma. In the process, she finds herself reaching out to help Kohaku through his own traumatic past, working together so they both grow to become stable, confident adults.
Issho ni Neyou yo is one of the most unique manga I’ve ever read. It’s technically a shoujo story, but it doesn’t fit the typical shoujo mold. It’s a reminder that everyone is different, with their own circumstances. This manga is also a challenge to acknowledge that fact, even if we don’t understand where others are coming from. The story is really sweet and romantic in its own way. (And not nearly as perverted as the title–Let’s Sleep Together–makes it sound. Although Tomu brings his share of hentai-ness to the story.) I really enjoyed the characters, both in personality and in visual design. The mystique of Kohaku’s hidden eyes is vaguely maddening and appealing at the same time, and Ichiko’s chibi Snow White look is super cute. Issho ni Neyou yo is definitely a winner in the atypical manga department and comes with my recommendations.
Note: This is another one that, sadly, isn’t available in print in English, at least yet. Sigh.