by Mikase Hayashi; adapted by Alethea & Athena Nibley
published by DC/CMX Manga; $9.99 US
Sometimes I get caught up in chasing new releases or wanting to be one of the first to review something. It can be stressful (well, such as it is — it’s still reading and talking about comics). So it’s nice to be reminded that a good read is good whenever you find it.
The two-book series March on Earth was released by the now-defunct CMX Manga imprint in 2009, but I found out about it thanks to Michelle Smith’s recent review. It’s a cute shojo series, nothing earth-shattering, but a relaxing bathtub read (if you’re into that sort of thing). If you enjoy series like Aishiteruze Baby, where a teen deals with the responsibility of taking care of an adorable baby relative, mixed with the slowly burgeoning romance of The Stellar Six of Gingacho, with just a pinch of the “I want to be a civil servant” theme of The Story of Saiunkoku (only modern-day) — then this is a good choice for you to seek out.
Sisters Yuzu and Tsubaki were orphaned five years ago, but the older Tsubaki, a children’s book author, kept them together. Then Tsubaki had a baby boy, father unnamed. Recently, Tsubaki was killed in a car accident, but following her example, the now -year-old Yuzu is determined to raise the child Shou. Her landlady, Ms. Kusano, helps out, and the landlady’s son Seita, a classmate of Yuzu’s, has a crush on her, inspired by her hard work and dedication.
As expected, the kid’s adorable, while Yuzu is inspiring in the way she keeps going and solves problems, such as how to afford the Christmas present Shou wants or meeting a friend of her sister’s who might be the baby’s father. The biggest flaw in this series is the way the premise is explained to the reader again every chapter — due to the initial serialization — but overall, it’s quietly heartwarming, and the message, that all you need is family to love you in order to keep going, is reassuring.
In the second book, we learn more about Yuzu’s personality, as her classmates and neighbors try to celebrate her birthday. She rarely thinks of herself, so it surprises her at times that so many people care about her. For instance, her class wants her to be able to join their group camping trip, so they invite Shou, too, even though that’s out of the ordinary. Not everyone’s in love with Shou, though, especially another girl who has her eyes on Seita. Meanwhile, with Tsubaki’s old friend, the question of how to choose between family or career dreams comes up. The final chapter, as the short series concludes, gives a brief look ahead to the future of the characters.
The first book has a bonus romance story, unrelated to the main, called “The Sound You Make Is the Color of Autumn”. In it, a girl with particularly sensitive senses of smell and hearing sets her cap for a brusquely quiet boy. The second book’s bonus, “One-Way Ticket: The Future I Saw Once”, is a short piece about former classmates meeting and looking at what they wanted out of life and where they ended up.
If you’re looking for a quiet, pleasant afternoon’s reading, you can likely find used copies of these two volumes cheap. I’m glad I did.