きみのとわ (Kimi no Towa)
Webcomic – Romance
3 Volumes (ongoing)
As clumsy, short, and unacademic Tsuyu studies for her high school entrance exams, a boy she doesn’t know encourages her. His positivity moves Tsuyu, and upon learning his name and school, she’s determine to get in — and does! When a friend points out a Towa is on the student council, Tsuyu joins despite the scary student council member she met. But that guy is also named Towa, and Tsuyu’s Towa is nowhere to be found!
Okay, wow. This is bad.
No, not so much the story, but the eBook. This is the default on Kindle on my iPad:
Yes, for some bizarre reason, the default is like half of a normal page. I had to increase the font size to max in order for it to fill up the page. Also, you notice how it’s “Loc 31 of 139” and “76%”? Well, this is actually the first real page of the manga, the first page you read that’s not the splash page, character introductions, etc. And speaking of character introductions, the manga has them before Towa! even begins. Okay, that happens sometimes, but three!! pages worth of characters? Including several who aren’t introduced? Yeah, makes no sense. The same cast list is shown in all three volumes, but it’s dumb.
Okay, back to the story.
Tsuyu is your typical protagonist who is below-average in brains, beauty, and luck, and she’s struggling with her high school entrance exams. After being hit with a soccer ball, somebody she doesn’t know tries to encourage her after seeing her cry. Tsuyu is smitten. She hears his friends calling him Towa and suddenly asks which school he goes to. Towa replies Higashi, so Tsuyu aims there and manages to be accepted. A member of the student council scolds her for dropping her ticket and for her permed (actually naturally wavy) hair. As she searches for Towa, a friend of Tsuyu’s notices his name in the handbook as a student council member. Tsuyu joins along with a classmate of hers, a scary beauty named Yumeko, and of course, scary guy is there. But he’s the Towa that’s the vice president. So Tsuyu’s still searching for her Prince Charming!
Well, her Towa is thinking about her too. But the manga pulls a First Love Monster and reveals he’s actually a friend of her little brother’s — a sixth grader! This Towa has a crush on the girl with the wavy hair, but he worries his age makes him out of her range. When he learns that his crush is the elementary school-hating sister of his friend, he lies and says he goes to a different high school. (Tsuyu dislikes little kids because she’s allergic to them and is often mistaken for one.) Meanwhile, VP Towa overhears that Tsuyu entered Higashi for “Towa-san”, and since he’s the only boy at school with that name, he assumes it’s him and finds himself blushing and thinking about Tsuyu.
So yeah, if you don’t like love triangles, Towa! isn’t for you. The two Towas do see each other and eventually meet, each recognizing the other as a threat for Tsuyu’s heart. Then there’s the other student council members like the meddling president, the shy secretary who likes the VP (and is liked by the president), and a bossy and rude girl who likes the younger Towa. So it’s actually a love polygon!
Yumeko, meanwhile, knows that the president is pushing VP and Tsuyu together for some reason, and cross-dressing Sora may be interested in her.
So, while I have no idea how long Towa! will run for, hearts are going to be broken. Older Towa is a tsundere, and sometimes his sharp tongue hurts his chances to get closer to Tsuyu. Meanwhile, younger Towa hates lying to Tsuyu, but he doesn’t know what to do about the hole he got himself into. Both are going to have their fans, and it’s possible the loser isn’t going to end up alone. Right now, they both click with Tsuyu in different ways that run deeper than the usual nice guy and mean guy love interests. The VP, for instance, is moved by Tsuyu’s crush on him enough to offer to tutor her, and the sixth grader had been watching Tsuyu for a while and was really concerned when he saw her crying.
Combined with Tsuyu’s unluckiness, that’s pretty much the whole manga. It has a unique setup with two guys with the same name but significantly different ages; however, the age gap is going to concern some readers. Four years is huge at this age. Lying is also not a good look on the younger Towa. Beyond that, there are a lot of one-way feelings, and the look on everyone’s face as they gaze at their beloved shows how much pain they’re in. Still, I haven’t found any of the side characters that interesting. The best is probably Sora, who isn’t overly concerned about his clothes and hasn’t gotten too far in the unrequited feelings rabbit hole.
Besides the bad eBook setup, the art makes the series look older than it is. It feels like it’s from the early 2000s. This is a webmanga work, but even with the unnecessarily long character introductions, the limited pagetime combined with a large cast means that we don’t have time to sit back and let the art do the talking. The fireworks in the manga are in color, and if there were more accents like this, it could make the art pop. Splash pages are also in color, but it was unique to see some colors in an other black-and-white page. Characters tend to be gloomy, so the manga often doesn’t show their eyes. There are other weak points of the manga, but again, it’s an indie work. Don’t expect usual manga quality.
Honorifics are used. Quite a few typos (“bben”, “glow tall”). Footnotes are used to explain certain things. Font appears to be Comic Sans in all caps, making it hard to read. Some awkward dialogue (SMS instead of text, etc.). To get the manga full size, then it’s hard to read because it looks too big.
Towa! may have a unique love triangle with love interests who truly care for the heroine, but the age gap, poor eBook format, and lackluster translation means readers are going to have to sacrifice quite a bit to enjoy it.
Ryoku’s You’re Mine is also available in English.
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