Manga Review: We Were There Volume One

We Were There Volume One is a manga by Yuki Obata, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2008. The series is rated “T+” for older teens; after reading the first volume of the series, I would agree with this rating.

We Were There Volume 1
Written by: Yuki Obata
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 4, 2008

Nanami Takahashi is the main character of the series. She’s just starting her first year of high school. She hears about a boy in her new class named Motoharu Yano, who was a popular boy at his middle school. Her first encounter with him ends up embarrassing Nanami in class; however, she ends up becoming class president while Motoharu becomes the vice president.

As Nanami and Motoharu work together as class representatives, Nanmi finds herself developing a crush on Motoharu. At the same time, Nanami learns that one of her new classmates, Yuri Yamamoto, had an older sister who died last summer, and she also learns that Yuri’s older sister had been Motoharu’s girlfriend.

Nanami begins to believe that she won’t be able to compete with a dead girlfriend. But while she has a talk with Motoharu about his former girlfriend, Nanami admits to having a crush on him. The rest of the volume focuses on the awkwardness in the interactions between Nanami and Motoharu.

After I finished reading this volume, I felt there was an interesting idea being explored in this series. However, there just wasn’t quite enough in this first volume to truly make this particular manga stand out from other shojo manga series. Perhaps this is a series that will start standing out from the crowd if you read more volumes of it. While I’m kind of interested to see what will happen to these two characters, I’m not going to rush out to read more of We Were There right away; this is a series I’m likely to put on my “read more of at some point in the future” list.

When it comes to the art of We Were There, it’s basically the typical art style associated with the shojo genre with nothing to really make it stand out from other shojo series. Early on in the volume, Obata used little to no detail in the backgrounds of the panels. However, as the volume progresses, we start seeing Obata drawing more in the background to help indicate to the reader where the scenes are taking place.

In the end, We Were There doesn’t appear to be a bad series, but at this point, I don’t see anything that truly makes this stand out from other shojo series. However, I believe that We Were There will probably resonate with the teenager girls who are the target market for this series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of We Were There Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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