I know I’ve been writing on almost nothing except Haikyuu and for those of you who don’t follow the series it was probably very boring. Or boring even though you were keeping up with it. I only have one last post for the series (for now, heh) and then I’ll go back to my abandoned BL challenge, plus write about some series I’ve been rewatching, like Gangsta or Great Pretender. But you know the feeling when you have certain scheduled posts in mind, but then you read/watch something and you immediately have to write about it? That’s the reason I’m here today.
Title: One Room Angel
Release Date: 2019
Licensed by: Futekiya
The story is about Kouki, a 30-year old man who is lost, in every meaning of the word. He lives in a cramped room with no internet or air condititioning, has no friends or hobbies. Works part-time in a small market and that’s it. He is just so unhappy about everything, and one day two thugs cause problems in the store and he gets stabbed, left bleeding in the dark alley. At that very moment, an angel descends from the sky in the form of a boy, flapping his white wings. Unable to fully grasp what’s going on around him, Kouki thinks “Well… Finally a fitting end to my worthless self.“
But we all know how it goes for the characters in anime/manga who wish to die; they don’t. Kouki is alive and after spending some time in the hospital, he’s discharged but in more despair than he was before all this. Now he is fired and has tons of medical charges to pay. Dragging his feet back to his room, a surprise awaits inside. It’s the angel. He’s bored of waiting and is hungry.
From here on, it’s Kouki struggling to find another job and angel trying to recover his memories because he doesn’t remember how he died, what sort of person he was before or why he was appointed to Kouki. They do know one thing, however, Kouki’s feelings are connected to the angel. Whenever he falls in despair, the angel’s wings start shedding feathers. The angel can feel the emotions of humans all around him, but Kouki’s flow into him the most intensely.
Kouki’s story is of clawing hard to find even the tiniest bit of worth and any kind of reason to exist in him, desperately. Although he started to take care of the angel just because and they were now flatmates who have very little in common, as the angel makes sure that Kouki understands there’s kindness resides in his heart, Kouki in turn gradually opens up his layers to his unusual friend. Although he knows, at the back of his head, that when the angel gains his memories and can manage to fly again, Kouki will lose him for good. Fearing the inevitable, he keeps extending a helping hand to the angel.
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that One Room Angel left a big impact on me. The pacing was amazing, the plot was so engaging and the characters well fleshed out, the portrayal of their emotions and dynamic made me question what they were struggling with in terms of self-worth, kindness, future, and human interaction. Kouki and the angel never stop lightly jabbing at each other, the comedy aspect is very light-hearted and sweet. I have read some other titles that were licensed on Renta and I can say Harada’s style keeps evolving, becomes more expressive and defined. Some people do not enjoy the way Harada draws faces as the characters don’t fit into the regular bishounen type. It’s personal taste so not much to do about that. I’m sure you can count on me when I say this manga is really pretty, though.
I’m only thinking about this while I’m writing but, 2020 was a lonely year even for the ones who didn’t interact much with others in the first place. The feeling of being cornered into a small room and losing sight of the world around you and yourself translated well to our current situation. Even without the parallel to our current daily practices that took a 180, Harada depicts a situation that is ‘supernatural’ at first glance, but so real that it weighs on your heart.
You can find One Room Angel only on Futekiya now. I’m not sure if they will keep their titles digital-only or will a time come for them to release physical copies, I don’t know. I feel like I haven’t said much about the manga despite all those paragraphs but this is all I can do without spoiling the fun. Or heartbreak. But in a good way. I’ll conclude by saying this volume deserves all the love it can get, even if you’re not a fan of BL. One of those stories that will sweep you off your feet, no matter what.
My experience with Futekiya
While I’m at it, I have to say I’m enjoying my subscription to Futekiya a lot! A monthly subscription plan is especially a blessing for people who struggle to buy single volumes because it can get veeery expensive. I’m not even mentioning the currency difference or shipping fees if you’re going for a physical copy. Their service is easily accessible, with a varied range of artists and genres to satisfy different readers. I am, by no means, affiliated with the company but with the current discussion going around scanlations/aggregator sites especially on Twitter, I wanted to let the readers know that there exists a reasonable choice.
That’s all for today ~ It’s soon Christmas so I’d like to wish happy holidays to the ones who celebrate. Such times may be hard on some of you but I do hope you can find a way to fill your days with joy and warmth nevertheless. Let’s all have a better 2021, since the bar is already on the floor!