Dreamin’ Sun Volume 1
There’s a lot that’s familiar to the manga reader in Dreamin’ Sun volume 1 by Ichigo Takano, but it’s good-hearted and comfortable enough that I didn’t mind.
Kameko has run away from home because her mother died, her father remarried, and the new baby takes up all their attention. She trips over a drunk guy in a kimono in the park who’s been locked out, and he offers her a place to stay. This, amazingly, is not creepy. It helps that Taiga puts three conditions on her, giving the whole thing a “fairy godfather” feel, assisted by his old-fashioned garb.
When she arrives at her new room, her housemates are two guys: the martial-arts obsessed, panda-loving, puppy-like Zen (who lost his key doing backflips on the way to school) and the considerate, handsome Asahi, who is more remote to others, hiding behind glasses at school.
Kameko, it turns out, isn’t being selfish in resenting the new child; instead, she blames herself for her inability to get past her feelings for her mother. She’s a non-descript everyday girl who dreams of being taller and prettier, your standard manga heroine whom you can’t help rooting for. Everything in this book has the best possible interpretation put on it. The characters just want to be happy or follow their dreams or fall in love, although most everyone likes someone who likes someone else.
The recurring plotline through this first volume is getting Kameko to call home and let her father know where she is so he doesn’t worry or get anyone in trouble. That’s the kind of low-key, feeling-centered event that populates this book. Sure, the inciting incident for Kameko is rooted in loss, but everything else is remarkably chill, which makes the times they yell both funny and indicative of how they’re growing to care for each other.