Cross Heart is a series of Web Original yuri manga by Ana Cristina Sánchez a.k.a. AnaKris, originally published in Spanish (and partially, English) on DeviantArt. The series follows the story of Haru, a cheerful schoolgirl who finds herself falling in love with her aloof but beautiful schoolmate Kotomi. Simultaneously, Kotomi is losing an uphill battle against some very serious childhood traumas underneath a Stepford Smiler facade. The story is divided into four (or five, depending on how you count) chapters:
- Cross Heart (2008, 31 pages): Haru and Kotomi, both 15 years old, become friends.
- Someday (2009, 26 pages): Haru and Kotomi are 17 and heading for a Relationship Upgrade.
- Breakdown (2010-11, 108 pages): Set about half a year after Someday, this chapter consists of three parts:
- Part A — Unheard Feelings: Kotomi struggles with telling Haru that she has to move away.
- Part B — The Distance That Keeps Us Apart: Haru tries to deal with the pain in all the wrong fashion.
- Extra 1 — Rumors
- Part C — The Time That Has Passed: Haru, now 20, is still waiting but starts losing faith in her own feelings.
- Extra 2 — Happily Ever After
- Melody of Sorrow (2015-17, 92 pages): Grown-up Haru and Kotomi live together, but Kotomi still struggles with one last painful memory from her childhood.
To call this manga, particularly the third chapter, "Emotional Torque" would be an understatement—there wasn't a single dry eye among the readers back when the final pages of Breakdown were published.
Cross Heart was made available for purchase on paper, fully translated to English and shipped worldwide, but is sadly sold out. A complete bound volume containing all three chapters was published in 2014.
However, as of December 2017 the complete edition is once again available in print, along with Melody of Sorrow, via the author's online store.
Cross Heart includes examples of:
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: After Kotomi stops calling, Haru begins to doubt her own feelings.
- All Just a Dream: Invoked by Haru when she and Kotomi finally meet again. She has seen it so often in her dreams already, she is almost glad to dismiss the real thing as another one of them.
- Art Evolution: The art changes considerably from the first issue to the final. It's even more noticeable when compared to the remake.
- Dashed Plot Line: Two years between Cross Heart and Someday; a few months between Someday and Breakdown; and three more years between Parts B and C of the latter.
- Framing Device: Melody of Sorrow serves both as a sequel and as a prequel to the other stories by framing the bulk of the story (namely, Haru and Kotomi very first meeting as children, which Haru had forgotten) within an epilogue of Haru and Kotomi living together as adults.
- Foreshadowing: Early on in Breakdown, Yoko suspects Haru has a fever. Later on, Haru collapses with a flu.
- Gayngst: Averted in the original, but in the remake, Haru thinks Kotomi rejected her because they're both girls.
- Headphones Equal Isolation: In a very subtle touch, Haru is often seen wearing huge headphones. If you think about it, although she looks like an extravert compared to Kotomi, she is really quite a loner, as we only ever see her interacting with Kotomi and Yoko.
- Incompatible Orientation: Haru's reaction to a guy asking her out is a wide-eyed "But you are a boy!"
- Intertwined Fingers: Haru and Kotomi do it in the beginning of Someday. Also, during their "marriage" in Breakdown.
- Meido: Haru works at a Meido Café after graduation.
- Must Make Her Laugh: Haru really wants to change Kotomi's Stepford Smile into something genuine.
- One Head Taller: After hitting a growth spurt, Haru becomes quite a bit taller than Kotomi.
- Parental Abandonment: Kotomi's parents live abroad most of her life and when they finally decide to do something for her, they only ruin her life even more.
- Parental Neglect: Kotomi's parents didn't give a damn when their 9-year-old daughter was raped. If that doesn't break someone's Moral Event Horizon, it must skirt it real damn close.
- Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: You don't really understand the metaphor of the "cross scar" from Cross Heart until Someday, where it is revealed that Kotomi tried cutting her veins soon after her rape, leaving a cross-shaped scar on her wrist.
- Rape as Drama: Kotomi was raped at the age of 9, six years before the Cross Heart.
- Relationship Upgrade: Ultimately subverted in Someday. Double Subverted in Breakdown, where we learn that Haru and Kotomi have been sleeping with each other since that night.
- Stepford Smiler: Kotomi in Cross Heart. Haru really hates her fake smile. Ironically, she turns into one herself when Kotomi announces she is moving away.
- Title Drop: Kinda. The title is a shortened version of "cross wound across [Kotomi's] heart". We don't learn the symbolism of it until Someday.
- Time Skip: Several, most notably between Cross Heart and Someday, then later, between part B and part C of Breakdown.
- Updated Re-release: The paper version of Cross Heart has roughly the same plot as the online version but improved art and almost double the size, thanks to additional scenes.