Title: Mizuno and Chayama
Author: Yuhta Nishio
Publisher: yen press
Genre: Slice of Life, Romance, Yuri
Release date: May 10, 2022
Mizuno and Chayama is a two-volume omnibus revolving around a girl named Mizuno, the daughter of the mayor of a small town called Asaba, and her friend Chayama, the heiress to the Chayama-en Corporation whose father is running against Mizuno. The two are secretly in a relationship; However, that’s not why they keep it a secret.
Supporters of Mizuno’s father see Chayama as a threat and she is bullied at school every day. Usually covered in bruises, Chayama endures it because she knows there’s nothing that can be done since politics is at stake. Also, she also has this feeling like she’s living her life on this given path and that Mizuno is the only thing that can take her away from it.
The book focuses more on this fight for Chayama than on Mizuno’s problems. Most of the time, Mizuno just worries about Chayama and mumbles things about not wanting to live in the city anymore. Her dream is to run away somewhere else with Chayama by her side. Since both of the girls’ parents are active in politics, this is of course easier said than done; However, Mizuno’s father seems pretty open to whatever she wants to do. He even goes so far as to state that he would support any decision she makes with her life.
Chayama’s father, on the other hand, is very duplicitous. He smiles in front of the camera, but behind the scenes he is very controlling and manipulative. Chayama knows this and does her best to hide her relationship or even connection to Mizuno from him, but secrets are usually discovered and when they are, the true face of Chayama’s father comes out, which is exactly what the story is all about adding some drama at the right moment.
Of course, political tensions aren’t the only source of the drama. There’s also a girl named Aikawa who just hates Chayama. She comes from a broken home with a mother who believes her water filter has healing crystals in it. Yeah…let that sink in for a minute. Her grudge against Chayama is misplaced and seen more as an outlet, but Aikawa and her group of friends make Chayam’s life miserable.
I wish I could say there were some cute moments in the book, but the moments that are supposed to be cute have a different kind of feel to them. The manga itself is written in a very dark style. I would compare it to Inio Asano, but just toned it down a bit. The dialogue and situations don’t shy away from real life and the somber atmosphere tends to reflect the general emotion of the book, which I would summarize as despair.
As far as characters go, Mizuno seems to be the more aggressive of the two. I don’t mean that she is physical or anything other than her attitude, her way of thinking, everything suggests that she is more outgoing and willing to take the lead than Chayama. Mizuno has her goals and even declares that she will do whatever it takes to achieve them. Having a supportive dad who’s also the mayor kind of helps, but she’s not the type to take advantage of that either. She wants to assert her independence by doing everything on her own.
Chayama, on the other hand, is very reserved and too meek to do anything, and as the book goes on you’ll understand why. That doesn’t mean she’s a total wimp. She has her limits too, and when she gets to hers, she’ll let you know… especially when it comes to scissors. At first I thought this was a little taste of something and thankfully I was wrong, but it gets a bit symbolic in the penultimate chapter. Chayama grows a bit as a character as she gets as sharp as those scissors and decides to solve a problem in a way only she can.
The book doesn’t really push boundaries, but remains grounded in reality and some of life’s darker moments. Although it’s only a single omnibus in length, there’s still some unpacking to be done here. The overall story, the characters, the struggles they all go through and the goals they try to achieve will make you turn the pages. When I finished I was satisfied as it presented a self-contained short story that didn’t really leave you wanting more but instead made you happy with what you had read.
For someone who loves romance, especially Yuri, and wants something a little darker, a little bit grittier, but still entertaining and interesting, picking up this book is very much worth it!
Overall rating: 4/5
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This article was provided for review by Yen Press