* Prices may differ from that shown
Shino Yuzuru is a third year high school student who is constantly being judged by his good looks that are in contrast to his personality. It's not strange that when he hears the story of a junior's weird habit he feels quite curious about it; Seryou Touji is a sophomore that has adopted as a custom accepting any girl, who confesses first on Monday, as his girlfriend during the week. If he doesn't fall in love with them, the relationship ends in that Sunday and, since he is so popular, he is very lucky to get a new girlfriend every Monday, or maybe not so lucky. Shino is pondering about all this when, coincidentally, he turns out to be the first person to meet Seryou in that week. His curiosity takes the best of him, so much that he jokingly asks Seryou to be his couple of the week after hearing he would accept anyone. What will happen when Seryou takes his "rule" a bit too seriously...?
Seven Days is presented to us as a boy's love manga, but it's certainly much more than that. This is a romance story with a premise that transcends any genre; the nature of falling in love. We all judge based on appearances, at least until we are able to know more, that's why the concept of seven days to fall in love sounds so compelling and very interesting. From that idea, the plot progresses slowly, instantly taking us to our days of innocent dreams, and creating a sort of magical purity between these teenagers, who wouldn't be able to enjoy such details if they weren't completely unexpected. The week promise is the thread that keeps them together and can definitely separate them at the end of that week.
This manga would probably become only an endearing story, if it weren't for the breathtakingly beautiful way the game is presented to us: A sort of delicate, disheveled and yet beautiful art-style; a very clever way of placing simple words, playing with panel alignment and flashbacks to empower them; and characters with very interesting and quirky personalities. Tachibana Venio's story, combined with Takarai Rihito's art, worked with these details in a way that made Seven Days a light but brilliant piece. There is definitely a lovely harmony between all the elements, each of them enhancing the beauty of the other, until the point you can feel, for example, the tension and tranquility in Yuzuru's archery performance, just as Seryou would picture it.
Character-wise, there is nothing more interesting than realistic, flawed personalities, at least for me. These boys are considered handsome, and they are very popular, but they have a lot of complicated and not so good qualities that people don't like to imagine while looking at them. However, they complement each other nicely, and their bad points can actually become charming once you get to look at them from different angles.
Compared to most fast-paced boy's loves, Seven Days turns out to be very simple and original, in a way that strikes me as slice of life. In fact, every time I read this volume a strange sense of peace overcomes me. I can't help but think that I slowly fell in love too, but with the manga, because it artfully caresses any fiber of romanticist you might have. Shino and Seryou remind us what falling in love is about. Not the "I love you since I first saw you" or "you are so hot/strong/powerful that I can't resist you" type. It's the "this is the real me, I'm getting to know you, and I really like what I see" kind of love. Honestly, this is the sort of romantic development that I would like to see in most romantic stories. For now, they are just getting to know each other (makes me wonder about the 16+ rating, this is not yaoi), but we almost can't wait to see what will come on Friday in one of the best weeks of boy's love. Seven Days would serve as a really heartwarming introduction to boy's love with an unusual and well-thought "game" that leaves us thinking about the reasons we fall in love.
Special Thanks to Digital Manga that provided the digital copy of the book.
It is Monday morning before the first bell and the school is abuzz. Today is the day that popular freshman Touji Seryou will accept the request to date the first girl who asks him, even though she knows that come Friday, it will all be over. They don't mind, as he is a thoughtful, kind boy who doesn't put any moves on, but secretly of course, they all hope to be the one who maybe doesn't get dumped, but know full well the odds and so when he courteously thanks them for their company and parts ways, are left without any hard feelings. Seryou is a member of the archery club, though he is infamous for skipping practice. Senior Yuzuru Shino is in the last half of his senior year, and with exams looming, has already retired from the archery club. But sat outside the school gate having a last minute break, he suddenly realises he is the first person to encounter Touji on this auspicious day. Deciding to tease his kouhai, he jokingly asks Touji out for the week and is astonished when Touji accepts. Making Touji show up for archery practice and just hanging out together, the boys are having a great time. But why does Touji always break up on a Friday, and why does Shino begin to feel regret at thought of it all ending? Is Touji going to end it as he has with all the others, or has he found something he has been looking for?
Covering the first four days of the week, this volume introduces us to the cast of characters and fills the reader in with a bit of the background relating to Touji's famous one week dating routine. It is refreshingly different from most school boy romance tales, with some angst that is maturely handled, and filled with much of the same sweetness that made BL titles such as Only the Ring Finger so popular. Ending as it does on a Thursday, we get to see the boys begin their dating odyssey and personally assess their emotions towards the end of the week, but the fall out from this is left until the next volume, which begins on the Friday. The art and prose are well married together, making the story flow seamlessly and imparting the gentle sense of pathos of young love awakening. The almost waifish faces and mops of hair impart the youth of the characters, while the prose balances this with their tentative emotions, thoughts, along with their increasingly mature outlook on life.
It is a mature title, aimed at ages 16 and up, and while there are some sexually charged situations, it sits well within this age category bracket, not being explicit. This doesn't lessen it as a read suitable for more mature readers however, as the story of two people searching for love, understanding, and acceptance is one that appeals across all age groups and the mature personalities of the young people involved make the setting superfluous bar the need for social acceptance within their peer group. Focusing as it does on the personal growth and interpersonal relationship development rather than mere sexual gratification, this makes an excellent introduction to persons new to the genre, as well as an emotionally satisfying read to the long time fan.
I'd like to thank Digital Manga for proving me with this review copy.