Roughly my zillionth reread. These really are her harshest books, both in terms of what she puts the heroes through and how much she makes you feel it.
Uchuu na Bokura!, chapters 1-13, by Hiwatari Saki
This is by the artist of Please Save My Earth!, and started its run about five years after the last volume of PSME came out. Hiwatari's art improved a lot over the course of PSME, and was even better in Global Garden a couple years after this. So, I don't know what happened here. Some kind of stylistic atavism? Everyone's head is shaped weird.
The story is her favorite one: a timid, insecure girl is fought over by men and tormented by her own inability to assert herself. It's a little milder than PSME here, though. A girl named Haruko, whose mother has recently passed away, begins receiving harassing notes at school accusing her of being a witch. Which she is, though she has no obvious magical powers, aside from her ability to talk to her familiar, a cat named Silk, in her dreams each night.
Promptly, two boys come to her aid. One is short-tempered but clearly in love with her, and I'm just going to call him New Shion; the other is easygoing and clearly wrong for her, so I'll call him New Jinpachi. Three female classmates - her delicate best friend, a hyperactive ganguro girl, and a mysterious Chinese exchange student - also step up to help her find the bully.
There is initially some question as to whether Haruko is just imagining the whole witch thing, and thus an unreliable narrator, who may even be sending the notes to herself. Which is interesting! But then the Chinese girl turns out to be a witch, New Shion starts talking to the cat, and we get scenes where the True Culprit says ominous things. So, for conflict we're left with mean anonymous notes meeting Haruko's human wall of a support network and being brushed aside. And it's pretty obvious who's sending them.
I can't find scans past chapter 13, but I feel like I've got a pretty good idea what's going to happen. This is apparently what it looks like when Hiwatari phones it in: there's nothing really objectionable going on, but it's hard to care.
I sometimes suffer from compulsions to do things like brush my hair exactly a hundred strokes, or make sure all the blinds are pointing the same direction, or build simple structures out of my macaroons, or reread manga that I just read a week ago because I want to memorize the dialog and panel layouts of all my favorite scenes because I love them so very much.
At the moment, this last applies to Please Save My Earth. Do you know why I love this manga? THIS SCENE IS WHY I LOVE THIS MANGA. (No spoilers.)( Read the rest of this entry » )
What just happened? Why do I find the horrible romantic lead likable?
I like how it’s mentioned on one page in the second volume that all these people are about three inches tall, and then that’s never brought up again. It’s irrelevant! Doomed reincarnated alien love is relevant.
(My ability to get through the whole series so quickly is related to that fact that I’ve got a cold and an extreme reluctance to get out of bed.)