I love Yamamori Mika’s characters.
ひるなかの流星, and Suzume, particularly, is absolutely nothing like me and she’s just really pretty cool? I like the way she charges through life, boldly and just. Herself. As cheesy as it sounds, that itself is equally admirable. I remember this one scene in particular where she ties up her hare for an image change, smacks her cheeks once, and then picks herself up after falling into a bad spot – figuratively. Mamura is super cute, too. He’s awkward and bumbling and sometimes overthinks his way into embarrassing situations, but his straight-forward attempts and makes him feel genuine and endearing (and me sound like a grandmother. Look at these soft children trying to live their best lives!!). His family dynamics are wholesome and fluffy as well, and just what the story needs. Yuyuka, from love-rival to best friend, is a grounding force amidst the fluffy, bumbling main characters. Shishio, with his hipster-y off-day look and boisterous facade, is interesting and a needed addition, variety and color to ひるなかの流星’s cast of characters. Just purely based off of character line-up, and ひるなかの流星 is fluffy-cute and promising.
It is fluffy-cute! The character dynamics are just as bumbling, sweet, and endearing as you’d expect, and that, coupled with adorable artwork? It’d be stranger if it didn’t work out.
Buuuut, my only qualm? I wish the student/teacher trope would die out already. Shishio works just as well (maybe even better, honestly, especially in some of his scenes with Mamura) as a fellow student, and his dynamics with Suzume’s father can be kept if he was a slightly older student.
But, she ends up with Mamura. The people around her raise similar questions about the nature of her and Shishio’s relationship. It’s painted as a first love vs. lasting love, someone whose back you admire vs. someone who’s there to walk every step with you, and that in itself is a pretty nice sentiment.
First off, I’m an Aesthetic Bitch™ so of course I’m in love with the title.
You thought ひるなかの流星 was the end of it, bUT. The age gap here too bothers me A Lot (twenty-eight and sixteen?), and the constant reminders that Fumi is responsible and capable and wise beyond her years does absolutely zip zero zilch to assuage those rumors.
So, 椿町ロンリープラネット follows ひるなかの流星. I see way too much of myself in Fumi and Akatsuki, so their little monologues and baby steps to individual self-improvement are actually really nice to read, motivating, in a way, and heartwarming in another, and the reason I’ve stuck it out with the story so far? Well, that and the adorable artwork. Of course.
BUT, and yes, there’s another Big But: I don’t like how Akatsuki uses Fumi as his emotional crutch. Call me an idealist, but I like to think that any kind of genuine, happy, healthy relationship should be a two-way street. Here, Fumi is the only one providing emotional output (for the lack of better words; re-reading this, and wOW can y’all guess what kind of field I’m in). Genuine, happy, healthy relationship? Noooot quite. She ends up occupying this odd multi-status as Akatsuki’s Mom, Caretaker, Girlfriend, Charge, Housekeeper, aND Therapist and that’s far too much for anyone, let alone high-schooler, a sixteen-year-old.
So, as 椿町ロンリープラネット winds down, I can’t help but think of how much it follows ひるなかの流星. Not in the story, per say, and not exactly by means of the characters, either, though both casts do share the quality of being colorful and endearing – but in the way the casts seem to always be fluffy-cute, down-to-earth, and full of potential, yet the main characters’ romantic plots are always written into less-than-idea scenarios that, had they been written/drawn by anyone else, I probably wouldn’t have picked up.
I wrote out this long thing, practically a monster-sized musing to myself at this point, but TL;DR? I really liked ひるなかの流星, and I liked 椿町ロンリープラネット, but I feel like that was 100% because of the characters, and if the main romantic relationships hadn’t been so blatantly imbalanced, I think I would’ve enjoyed them a lot better? Yes.