Sometimes appearances can be deceiving: he knows it well Miko, who, shortly before moving into his uncle’s share house for family reasons, meets the surly guy on the street Jun Matsunaga, mistaking him, because of his ways, for a maniac! Soon, learning to know him, he realizes that behind his grumpy and shy side hides a tender and shy heart … LIVING-ROOM MATSUNAGA-SAN of Keiko Iwashita is one of the shojo manga that has aroused the most interest and appreciation in the last period, also thanks to the serialization of Star Comics during the past Star Days.
- Original title: Living no Matsunaga-san
- English title: LIVING-ROOM MATSUNAGA-SAN
- Japanese release: 2016
- Italian release: May 26, 2021
- Number of volumes: 2 (in progress)
- Publishing house: Star Comics
- Kind: shojo, slice of life, romantic
- Drawings: Keiko Iwashita
- History: Keiko Iwashita
- Format: 11.5 x 17.5
- Number of pages: 176
We reviewed LIVING-ROOM MATSUNAGA-SAN through press volume provided to us by Star Comics.
Life in the share house it is a frequent habit in the Land of the Rising Sun, configuring itself as a fairly affordable alternative to the huge costs of Japanese real estate life. Many young people, especially gaijin, or foreigners, choose this option, also because the real estate market in Japan is not open to everyone, requiring a lot of guarantees that not everyone has. The share house, on the contrary, looks like a kind of boarding school, where you live together with other tenants in independent rooms or in shared rooms. Often and willingly, however, the difficulty is represented precisely by the compatibility with other people, most of the times unknown and therefore with whom there is no real affinity ties.
Miko’s story focuses precisely on the discovery and adaptation to coexistence with other roommates, each with their own personality and with peculiar characteristics that make them completely different from each other, but mysteriously in tune with each other, at least apparently. Miko, being also the youngest, as the only high school student, will have to get to know her new neighbors, realizing that appearances can be deceiving sometimes. The person with whom he wants to get more in tune is in fact the serious Matsunaga, with whom he cannot relate due to his strange and incomprehensible methods of approaching the other tenants. But there is something about him that attracts Miko and that pushes her to want to be close to him despite her reluctance, perhaps something that will turn into a feeling deeper than just friendship.
Miko has just moved into her uncle’s share house. Life with roommates can seem difficult at first, especially if your roommate is a serious guy like Jun Matsunaga! The young high school student will have to start rolling up her sleeves to learn to live alone and to be able to approach her new roommate, who will gradually become more and more important for Miko …
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Fresh story, without too many pretensions, it focuses like many other manga for girls on the daily life of a high school girl, Miko, struggling with the first teenage heartbeats inside the share house she is a guest. Outline the life of the other tenants, which at least in this first volume is only sketched and not at all in depth, thus showing only specks not too characterized compared to the two protagonists. Not even the latter, however, seem to have been characterized in an excellent way by the author, presenting themselves simply as the usual stereotypes of a clumsy and romantic high school student and of a mature but elusive and serious man. Although, therefore, the setting and the assumptions may seem innovative – but in reality not too much – the characters represent in a striking way the classic examples of traditional shojo manga characterization, which perhaps in recent times has not managed to take flight towards more convincing plots. and innovative.
The story does not immediately present striking twists, only small moments very heartfelt that lead to the development of the relationship between Miko and Jun, but in general tones remain very soft throughout the volume. This leads the manga to be a very soft reading, capable of cheering without being too pretext. If on the one hand it can be appreciated by users of very light and unpretentious shojo, on the other it can be considered a note of demerit for those looking for a more committed reading. Certainly this first volume does not introduce the reader to the heart of the story, but simply wants to be a window of presentation of the narrative dynamics and characters. A brief description, therefore, of what we will probably see in subsequent volumes. At the same time, the evolution of the protagonist’s feelings seems to be quite sudden, denoting a narrative component that is perhaps too forced and in some places almost surreal.
The double meanings that pervade the tables and the comic skits that interest the protagonists in some cases make the shojo manga almost hilarious, dampening the narrative and adding a pinch of humor that does not hurt, indeed it seems to represent a breath of fresh air compared to linearity of the action.The drawings are perhaps the note of merit of this manga: from the very thin line, the visual characterization of the characters is rendered in such a way that the contours of the faces are very delicate, the hair soft and sinuous and the backgrounds precise and clear. In general, therefore, the peculiarity and strong point of LIVING-ROOM MATSUNAGA-SAN it is precisely the graphic component, in line with shojo canons and certainly very pleasant, able to raise a story that is sometimes banal and somewhat superficial. Even the use of screens does not appear to be superficial and superabundant, but calibrated to make the three-dimensionality of the lines of the faces even more, giving it depth and thickness. In general, the drawings do follow the canons of the classic shojo manga stretch, but they present some precautions of graphic depth that make them deeper and more varied, thus introducing small tricks that enrich not only the expressions of the characters, but also the backgrounds and the settings.
The Star Comics edition comes with a hard glossy dust jacket and a very pretty cover underneath, which does not reproduce the image of the cover, but an electric pink color with the funny cat of the share house. The foliation is quite light, it does not allow the underlying designs to show through, but the weight is not excessively consistent. LIVING-ROOM MATSUNAGA-SAN is a teenage comedy with good intentions, premises that could convince readers looking for a light but at the same time funny story. Certainly not excessively incisive, presenting a narrative that is not in-depth and at times obvious, with clichés that could make those who have already read hundreds of titles of this type turn up their noses. A good way to pleasantly pass the time, but not an essential reading, at least for this first volume. We’ll see what the next ones have in store for us.
A shojo with unexpressed potential
The first volume of LIVING-ROOM MATSUNAGA-SAN of Keiko Iwashita it is a light, fresh, unpretentious story, suitable for an audience of readers who are not looking for a peculiar or too busy shojo reading. The plot seems simple enough, at times encroaching on what has already been seen, but which after all presents comic interludes that can be appreciated and that indeed dampen the linearity of the narration a little. The drawings are perhaps the most appreciable component of the manga, being very accurate and presenting a choice of screens that give depth and thickness to the author’s line. Despite being one of the most popular shojo manga of the last period both at home and in other countries, it is not fundamentally an innovative and sensational story, but a pleasant reading based more on visual beauty than on diegetic junctions per se.
A love story that does not take off