This is extracted from my other reviews on “Favourite Shoujo Couples”. But I thought this series is so good that it deserves a new post on its own ^^
By Yamato Waki (大和和紀)
Complete: 8 Volumes Tankoubon/ 4 Volumes Bunko
Description: In 1875, after the death of her parents, Uno goes to live in the Kanou household as a companion to Mariko, who is the same age as Uno. The two girls become very close and attend Cimons private school. This great romance tells the story of the loves and dreams of two girls growing up during the westernization of Japan in the Meiji era…. (From Baka-updates)
I suppose, the main theme of this manga was about the friendship between Uno and Mariko. But I could hardly take my eyes away from the parts where both Mariko and Ryusuke were present. They certainly looked good together (handsome and beautiful), but it was their colourful characters, both head-strong and sometimes stubborn, that really spiced up the story.
Undoubtedly, the romance between Uno and Shintaro was touching, especially coupled by Uno’s strong-will and determination to pursue her dream (i.e. meeting Shintaro). In comparison, Mariko might have appeared as a weaker woman who, as Ryusuke said, was like the flying gulls over Yokohama harbour that could never settle anywhere else but Yokohama. Whatever weakness Mariko might have, I thought it was exactly that made her adorable in the story.
When Mariko married Ryusuke, she despised him, for he was only a husband, or a “stranger” whom she was married to only for the sake of securing her family. But when she finally realised she has fallen in love with Ryusuke, it was emotional for her; she was happy but sad and ashamed at the sametime. She thought Ryusuke did not love her as much as she did, or he might be still in love with another woman from miles away. Mariko was also ashamed to fell in love with another man other than Shintaro; it would be a betrayal to Shintaro and her first love….
For Ryusuke, it was like a “dream comes true” when Mariko finally confessed her feelings for him! He has thought of her since their first (and brief) encounter when she was still a child. He worked hard and earned his success so that he could be a match for her and to marry her. But even they were married afterward, he has never really won her heart, and the fact that she despised him nearly torn him apart. He even thought he would never win her over Shintaro….
It would have been the best part of the series, when the two were finally in love with each other and followed by some passionate kisses, hugs, and…… *cough*
But of course, the author did not let the story end just there, since happiness would never come by “too easy” in a shoujo world…..!! Anyway… thank lord it was a happy ending!!
To conclude, Yokohama Monogatari is a must-read for any shoujo-lover, regardless how old-school it may appear to be. But overall, I enjoyed reading the romance between Mariko and Ryusuke, more so than that of Uno and Shintaro… ^^