Life Manga Review – Yesterday i was looking for a good Japanese dramas, My friend recommended me one drama and the name was “Life.” I did some research and found out that, the drama was adapted from Manga “Life” written by Suenobu Keiko and the drama was made of 11 episodes. In 2006 this Manga won Kodansha Manga award for Shoujo. So i decided to watch the drama and i liked it, the series has spread some serious awareness towards bullying and managed to reach the masses.
The drama series had a great impact on me because of which i became curious about the Manga series and i decided to read it. By the time i finished reading i realized that i ended up Binge reading it till 1.15 am at night, and what’s more the manga was even more impactful then the drama series. So i decided to write this review. Also its been a long time since i wrote any review on Manga, Lately I’ve been watching all the new anime and busy writing review on episodes, and on top of it because of exams my schedule of updating the blog has messed up. Although, i felt this Manga is something that everyone should read because not only it spreads awareness on bullying but it also helps us to know a lot about the human emotions.
As for the live action drama adaptation of Manga, I plan to write a brief review on it later (after i deal with my examinations) since there are lot of things for this blog that i want to cover and i plan to do the review on the drama series along with it.
Shiiba Ayumu is studying for the all-important high school entrance exams. She is struggling to get by, but thankfully has help from her best friend Shii-chan, who is at the top of their class. Test results come back and their friendship falls apart when Ayumu surpasses Shii-chan’s scores and gets into her high school of choice while Shii-chan doesn’t! Losing Shii-chan is so painful for Ayumu that she starts cutting her wrists for comfort. Hoping for a fresh start, Ayumu arrives at her new high school and finally opens up to a new friend, Manami. But will Manami prove to be the friend that Ayumu truly needs or send her further in a downward spiral?
(Source – KissManga.com)
Life Manga review
So we have our Main character “Shiiba Ayumu” and she is struggling for the high school entrance examinations. With the help of her friend Shii-chan, who is the top of their class she manage to study well, They both give their exams and it so happens that Ayumu passes and Shii-chan fails, because of which their friendship falls apart. Apparently Shii-chan blames Ayumu for her failure, On the other hand for Ayumu shii-chan was only a friend she had and now she lost her too because of which she feels too painful, and on such extreme levels that she shuts herself and cuts her wrist.
At her new High School Ayumu hopes to have a fresh start, and slowly she opens up to her new friend Anzai Manami and she becomes part of their group. Manami also introduces Ayumu to her boyfriend Sako Katsumi. Manami’s boyfriend Katsumi apparently have a pretty weird hobbies and so he makes Ayumu his prey. He forces Ayumu and takes some Sketchy photos of her and saves it in his slave album. Ayumu tries her best to runaway from him but he even comes at her home as a home tutor and threatens her.
She tries to tell her mom that he is not good person and his crazy but as Katsumi puts a mask of good person in front of her mother, her mother thinks that he is a good person and says to Ayumu that – “It’s you who have gone crazy.” Ayumu’s family life was also in mess, she tried her best to hold conversation with her mother and tries to tell her what’s happening with her but her mother never pays attention to her as she is busy in her work and dealing with her sister’s school problems. Because of which Ayumu shuts herself and tries to face all the things by herself.
On the other hand things get out of control even more when Anzai Manami misunderstands all the things, She thinks that it’s Ayumu who is stealing her boyfriend Katsumi from her and eventually because of that she bullies Ayumu and every time, in fact every chapter her bullying elevates to whole new level of insanity that will actually scare the shit out of you and this is alone enough to prove the fact that Anzai Manami is nothing more than a pure psychopath who will do anything. Even teachers turns away their eyes from bullying and hides all the things that happens within school.
Her homeroom teacher doesn’t care about her and does anything for her selfishness and when one teacher sets out to do the right thing she is fired from her job. Anzai Manami’s friend Hirose becomes aware of the bullying and tries to change everything, but instead she becomes target and she refuses to help Ayumu. If school suspects Anzai Manami she uses her father’s political power to shut the mouths of school authorities. With all the odds that appears right in front of Ayumu, only two people helps her despite whatever happens and they are Miki and Sonoda, her only two friends in the series who face all the problems along with Ayumu. This Manga is about bullying and spreads awareness about it, it tells you the things that will happen if bullying is not stopped at the right time.
Bullying is a thing which can break someone, change their life in horrible way and sometimes the victim commits suicide or get killed if it’s not stopped at the right time and allowed to escalate. While this manga does shows the serious side of bullying, but it also shows that what happens if teachers and principle look over bullying and try to hide things just to save their jobs and school/college name and for their selfish reasons but it also gives you a reason why a person bullies another person.
As i said it all started because Sako Katsumi and Anzai Manami, but if you take their background into considerations these two are not people from poor families who are trying to be delinquents, these two people are from distinguished families. Anazi Manami’s father is a politician and a most respected person, because of his profession he had less time to spend at home but whenever he got time he spends time with Manami and does everything for her because of which she grew up as a pampered child.
She eventually had a mentality like, “her father is politician so nothing can happen to her,” and tried to do every wrong thing. She started hanging out with bad people got into drugs and other 18+things. Sako Katsumi was a son of rich business man but his father never even showed a slightest love and concern for him and thought of him as a disgrace to family because of which he started to go on wrong path and eventually made slave albums.
Well the above to paragraph doesn’t give you definite reasons, but give you a quite realistic scenario and it sured managed to teach us that if you pampered your child he may go on wrong path, sometimes you need to pull him back on the right path even if it’s the force you have to use, too much love is also not a good thing. On the other hand if you acted strict or showed no love or even a slightest concern for your child and always termed him as a disgrace then he will start walking a wrong path, and by the time you realize it would have been late.
In our main character – Ayumu’s case, it managed to teach that if a person is suffering from bullying he/she should fight against it and should not stay silent, but he/she should not do it alone, he/she should also take some help, By staying timid you’re allowing yourself to become the victim of bullying and he/she should also open up to their parents. Holding a conversation with parents can help the person suffering from bullying, so its an essential thing to share everything with your parents because even if the whole world turns against you, but its your parents who would protect you at any cost.
The story is heart wrenching, many a times i thought i should give up on reading this Manga as i could not take it anymore but instead i binge read it, not because i liked it but i felt that i was involved in the Manga itself. It was scary, it was sad and it was emotional but at the same time it was motivating, it was satisfying and it made me happy when the Main character overcame all the obstacles. There were times that i was cheering for Ayumu, it made me feel that i want to do something for her and this was the only manga that managed to made me feel like this about a particular fictional character.
This above everything i wrote, is the message that this Manga delivers to people, This Manga is not your usual shoujo story which shows happy school life and nice love story. This Manga in fact is the dark shoujo story, which involves no romance and shows just a harsh life that some students face in their school life. This Manga shows the fight of those students who fight against that harsh life and grow out stronger and independent. Which is one of the main reason why this Manga is named as life.
The Artwork and Character designs
The Manga’s artwork is not good, its not a detailed artwork but the character designs are good. But despite the bad artwork and good character designs, this manga manages to get your attention as every chapter is emotionally gripping.
Life is not a Manga for everyone, it’s like grave of fireflies and Barefoot gen, the story shows you the dark side of this world and this entire life.
Overall Manga Rating