Reviews: Yutaka Kanata

A celebration of life and love

As the author of the original wiki page it's probably obvious I love this work. That's because it's one of the most touching love stories I've encountered in any medium. Yutaka Kanata takes two main characters who could easily slide into the most wangst-filled muck - the ghost of a forgotten girl who committed suicide and a guy who just lost everything and contemplates out loud if he might not follow her lead - and tosses it right the hell out the window. Instead, he shows how they come together to find love and a future together and never look back. Kana, the girl who died, winds up touching the lives of everyone she meets, entirely for the better. She and Daikichi find in each other the reason to live.

While the overall feel is joyous, Kanata isn't afraid to gut-punch his readers with a sudden Mood Whiplash into a serious, heartbreaking or even dark moment. One of the most disturbing involves Utako. Over lunch, Daikichi recounts some of her history that they must have discussed off-panel shortly after she arrives. Her apparent story as a homeless waif takes a turn for the horrifying once you read the sentence: "and she hated it because she feared the big men and cold showers and the dark little room..." Even with such horror, she never dwells on her past. Instead, she focuses on making a bright future for herself. When asked, Kana tells Daikichi flat out she doesn't worry about her past, because her future with Daikichi is all she cares about now. It's a story about turning away from your past and facing your future instead.

Now. Daikichi and Kana have sex. Often. They are in love. It happens. It's part of their story. If you don't want to see naked people, don't read it. But ... This is not "porn." It's two people who love each other, and love everything about each other. They are loving, tender, playful with each other. Kanata fits it into the story so naturally, and without ever being overtly explicit, it's hard to imagine anyone doing it any better.

"Cute Ghost Girl Magical Girlfriend meets ordinary guy, they fall in love, the end." Sure it's been done before, but it's also beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written. Kanata mentions in the afterword that he held onto the story for 10 years before he felt he was experienced enough to do it justice, and it shows. Check it out.