We Were There by Yuki Obata Vol. 2 (a J!-Ent Manga Review)
September 17, 2009 by Michelle Tymon
In “We Were There” Vol. 2, we get to see more into Yano’s mysterious past and there seems to be a step forward in Nanami and Yano’s relationship. This is a wonderful shojo manga full of laughs, drama and great characters. A must buy for shojo manga lovers and those who love cute love stories.
(C) Image courtesy of Yuuki OBATA/Shogakukan, Inc.
MANGA TITLE: We Were There Vol. 2 (Bokura ga Ita)
STORY AND ART BY: Yuki Obata (小畑 友紀)
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: By Shogakukan
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC
RATED: T for Older Teen
You know, that guy… He doesn’t seem to need anybody else. I don’t know how to put it, but… No matter how much we talk or what we do… It doesn’t reach him.
In this exciting 2nd volume of the award-winning series, “We Were There”, we finally get to see more into Yano’s mysterious past and Nanami and Yano’s relationship progress a little more…
In the first volume of “We Were There” we see that Nanami, a normal girl starting high school slowly falling for Yano, one of the most popular guys at school. However, we see her feelings go up and down for Yano because he himself goes up and down: from being very kind to being a jerk. Despite her frustrations, she can’t seem to help but be drawn to him.
In the second volume, we a actually get to see into Yano’s mysterious past and what exactly happened to him and his ex-girlfriend. We also start to understand why Yano may be the way he is and we see that Yano may share the same feelings for Nanami after all…
The main characters of “We Were There” Vol. 2 are:
Nanami Takahashi: The main character of this story. She is a kind, pure 15 year old girl that has fallen for Yano. She is the class president and is pretty much liked by the whole class. She tries to deal with Yano’s up and down personality and tries to figure out which is the “real” Yano. Despite how mean he can be to her at times, the next minute he does something kind which gives her mixed feelings once again. Despite all the annoyances, she can’t stop herself for falling for Yano and wants to be there for him.
Motoharu Yano : Nanami’s love interest with the mysterious past. In volumes 1 and 2, we get pieces of his past that finally seem to come together by the end of the second volume. He is easily the most popular boy in class but his personality is rather contradicting, making him very hard to read. We learn that his girlfriend, Nana, was killed in a car accident last summer which may be partially why he is how he is. Nanami confesses to him in the first volume, but he doesn’t really give her an answer on his feelings toward her. In this volume, we see his past and we also see him starting to trust and open up to Nanami.
Yuri Yamamoto : Is probably one of the least popular girls in her class. She is rather anti-social and usually keeps to herself. Despite the mean comments that come from the other students, Nanami does her best to defend her. Yano is another character that seems to come to her aide whenever she may need it, despite her cold replies. Yuri happens to be the younger sister of Yano’s ex-girlfriend, Nana. Yuri is definitely another mysterious character in this series.
Masafumi “Take” Takeuchi : Yano’s good friend that’s in a different class. He’s been close friends with Yano for a while, and tries to help Nanami with Yano. Overall, he seems to be a great guy, always looking out for Yano and Nanami.
Nana Yamamoto : Yano’s ex-girlfriend who died in a car crash last summer. She was older than Yano and is the exact opposite of her sister: beautiful and popular. Yano sort of steals her away from her ex-boyfriend, who to most seems like a horrible person, however she was in the car with her ex-boyfriend when they got in the accident…
Here is a brief summary of each chapter of volume 2 (spoiler-less summaries):
Chapter 5: In the first chapter of this volume, the kids are on summer break. Nanami goes to a festival in hopes of seeing Yano, but when she doesn’t see him and he doesn’t show up to any rehearsals for their class play, she goes to his house to give her a piece of her mind…
Chapter 6: This chapter is a flashback into Yano’s past and we get to see his relationship with his ex and the tragic end that awaited their relationship.
Chapter 7: The kids get ready for the final preparations for their class play for the school festival. Nanami notices that Yano is ignoring her and doesn’t know why again.
Chapter 8: In this chapter, Nanami is finally able to put most if the pieces together and their relationship progresses.
The second volume has the nice mix of comedy and drama that the first volume had and you see more progress in Nanami and Yano’s relationship. By the second volume, Nanami has gotten used to life in high school and while on summer break, she finds herself missing Yano.
However once again seemingly out of nowhere, Yano ends up being a jerk to Nanami so her feelings go up and down for him. But once again he redeems himself soon after. This volume had a lot of character development and we get some answers to some questions that lingered throughout the first volume. This volume still concentrates a lot on Nanami, but it also concentrates quite a bit on Yano and his past. Chapter 6 deals solely on him and what happened the summer before. By the end of the book, you are left wanting to know what happens next.
The characters are rather likable in this series. There really isn’t anything to dislike about Nanami: she’s overall a very pleasant character and she’s genuine. Despite how much of a jerk Yano can be, it’s hard to dislike him as well. Instead, we feel the complexity of his character and want to find out more.
Even though this is a love story, the story so far is rather light and not too heavy or dramatic and has a sense of mystery.
I am a fan of the artwork presented in the “We Were There” series. It’s not very elaborate in detail, but Yuki Obata’s artwork succeeds in showing the emotion that the characters are feeling. When Nanami as well as Nana both talk about “warmth”, somehow just through the art and the words, I was able to feel what they were feeling. I love Obata’s use of screen tones, which helps add to the emotions. I love the character designs: very pretty and cute.
I don’t read very many shojo manga… in fact out of the hundreds of mangas that I own, 90% are all shonen manga (what can I say, I grew up being a tomboy). However the few shojo mangas that I do own, I absolutely love. This series is quickly falling into that category. I love the main characters: Nanami and Yano. I like the contrast of Nanami’s character: who’s quite pure and straight-forward, vs. Yano’s character that is rather mysterious and complex.
The art is great: it’s not overly complicated but it’s in no way too simple. I think it’s just right for this series and somehow, the art really does help convey the emotions that the characters are feeling. The dialogue is funny and cute. The plot keeps you wanting to find out more and more about the characters. You feel Nanami’s confusion when she’s trying to figure out Yano. However, we start to understand Yano a lot more in chapter 6 of this volume. Another character that readers may want to know more about is Yuri Yamamoto… and what exactly the relationship between her and Yano is. Is it just because she’s the younger sister of his ex… or is there something more?
This manga is a great combination of comedy and drama. It’s not too heavy, which I think a lot of shojo manga end up being, even in the beginning. I highly recommend this manga for shojo manga lovers and also for anyone who likes great characters and a storyline that leaves you wanting to find out what happens next.
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