BE WITH YOU (Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu, “Right Now, I’m Coming to Be With You”) (??????????) • Takuji Ichikawa (original story), Sai Kawashima (art), Yoko Iino (adaptation) • Shogakukan (2005) • VIZ (2007) • 1 volume • 13+ (mild sexual situations)
Takumi is a young single father raising his six-year-old son Yuji after the death of his wife Aoi. Suddenly, startlingly, Aoi returns, but with no memories of their life together. Will they fall in love a second time? And will she cook and tidy up the place? Takuji Ichikawa’s romance novel Be With You was an melancholy tearjerker about time and loss, with nods to Kurt Vonnegut. However, the manga adaptation (one of two produced in Japan, the other being an untranslated seinen version) is done in an inappropriately bright, kiddy shôjo style, turning Takumi from a borderline neurotic to a hunky guy, and adding many new scenes of Yuji being cute. The decision to remove the angst from the story is like turning Donnie Darko into Baby and Me, and the generic art and poor pacing further dilutes what was at one point an interesting story.
* (one star)
I read the novel prior to reviewing the manga, and I was disappointed. Apparently the film adaptation has been licensed for an American remake starring Jennifer Garner. I assume they’ll just ignore the whole “the wife comes back from the dead, but now she looks like a teenager” aspect of the story.
Today’s winner is Matthew P. of New York! Congratulations, Matthew! It’s only Tuesday, but already I’m thinking about this weekend’s big con, the New York Anime Festival! I won’t be able to make it to New York, but Del Rey will be there, and they’ll be giving away some of my postcards at their booth. If you’re going, please stop by!