Title: Skyblue Shore Vol 1
Author: Nanpei Yamada
May Contain Spoilers
Tomo is a high school girl who lives in a town by a beach. One day she gets harassed on a bus, but is rescued by one of her classmates. Afterwards, he drops his keys, and the key ring has the same stone as one given to Tomo by a boy during her childhood. Is he the same person? Tomo believes the sea can bestow treasures on people, and she may about to be proven right in ways she couldn’t imagine.
Skyblue Shore is a slice of life series, and as events slowly unfold, more of protagonist Tomo’s personality is revealed. Tomo’s parents are divorced, and she lives with her mother. Tomo is the more reliable member of her little family, and she is the one who takes care of her mom. Her mother’s parents are wealthy, and while her mom is more than happy to sponge off of them, Tomo has a bit more pride and wants to be self-reliant. She is good natured, dependable, and hard-working and everybody loves her because she is so nice. Though I often find too good to be true characters boring, I liked Tomo and her sunny personality.
When she was a young child, she met a boy on the beach. They both spent the day beachcombing together, and he gave Tomo an agate, which she has kept and treasured since. The boy mysteriously disappears, and Tomo is left wondering what happened to him. When Riku saves her from a groper on the bus, he drops a key chain with the same stone. Could he be the boy from her past? She’s determined to find him, return his key to him, and find out if he’s the same person.
The tone of this story is soft and gentle, like the steady ebb of waves. It builds on little events that interconnect Tomo’s life with Riku’s, as well as his younger brother, Tento. While Riku is confident and outgoing, Tento is withdrawn and walls himself off from most of his classmates. He is helplessly drawn to Tomo, and soon there is an interesting triangle in the works. Tomo is attracted to Riku, while Tento likes Tomo. I am so curious to see how their relationships play out! While I like Riku, too, I think that Tento and Tomo make a great couple. They like the same things, and where he hesitates and is content to observe, Tomo is quick to jump into the middle of everything. Her brashness and his caution compliment each other very well.
I thought the art style worked well with the laid-back tone of the story. There’s a lot of focus on facial expressions and posture to communicate the characters’ feelings to the reader. You’re never left wondering what Tomo is thinking or feeling. I liked the use of white space, too. There are many scenes where background details aren’t important, and Nanpei Yamada puts all of her efforts into keeping the center of attention firmly placed on her characters.
I enjoyed the leisurely pacing of this first installment of Skyblue Shore, and am eager to see what happens next!
Review copy provided by publisher