Not having an ounce of sleep yet, I reckon this is the best time for an informal review of a manga I’ve been clinging onto for years.
I began watching the BGI manga back when you could still watch anime on Crunchyroll. When I recall my childish self watching it and crying, I begin to wonder if I really understood anything that goes on at all. BGI is a 70 chapter manga series, and I recommend that if you read it very quickly, go back to the first few pages or episode. While I normally don’t rewatch manga, BGI was just something you have to read a few times over to fully understand.
The thing I really liked about BGI other than the interesting storyline was the characters. Maybe because it was so different from the typical shoujo, but the “popular guy with a dark past” stereotype was really taken to a new level for me. Yano did not only have a dark past, but somehow managed to get himself into a dark future as well, and a really tragic one at that. Yano, at the beginning, to me showed signs of being a cynic, yet aware, and Nanami the opposite: oblivious and naive. I think it just goes to show that a great relationship builds on the ability of both individuals to change each other into something greater—a mutual understanding; “getting stronger.” Two lovers help each other. I think Yamamoto’s significance was there to prove that, because her relationship with Yano was much like leeches, and the whole yearning dependence thing that they admitted at the end.
But what was really interesting, besides the relationships, again, was the actual characters. Yano was a cynic, as many other bishounen are from other mangas, but he was not really wrong about anything. Instead, together with Nanami’s curiosity (and an interesting perspective), the two lovers’ thoughts came together as one and thus the happy ending. It was just nice, I suppose, to see thoughtful characters with no real “extreme.” Nanami was not incredibly popular nor smart, and while Yano was popular, he was also for some bad reasons (in his new school), and wasn’t the perfect guy himself.
A guy on Baka-Updates who reviewed this manga, I remember, said something nice. He said that the reason why this manga’s story is so great is because it encompasses both aspects of love: the fun, the innocent, the magic (the first “arc”); and the desperation, helplessness, and depression of it. I think this was very well said, and really just sums up the manga overall. And in the midst of everything, you have this sort-of “calm” narrator, whose words kind of flow like water. Nanami was different, as well, from other protagonists (though really the story was Yano’s).
Anyhow, BGI was just beautiful, from the beginning to the end. At some moments you could feel very bubbly and happy. The scenery, although I know is black and white (aside from the anime), becomes festive, sometimes calming, but you can almost always sense that feeling of freshness when it’s intended, yet at other times the moments could be dark, depressing, and you just begin to hurt. There was also a perfect blend/balance (especially when things were still bright and lovely for the couple) of humour, romance and drama. As expected from being my favorite manga for so long. BGI was a heart touching work of art.
And so because I think this was a successful post, I think including one of my favorite pictures is acceptable! :)
When I first saw this picture after finally finishing the manga I just wanted to hurl up and cry. “To make up for the time lost” (around those lines). How they couldn’t go back, or get, those happy high school days until after so long. That’s most likely why Obata included the part in the final chapter where they talk about not having changed after ten years or so (15->25?), to hint/say that the couple was able to go back to the time of “once was.”