The Town the Stars Fall Upon (Hoshi no Furu Machi)
Story and Art by Hidenori Hara
Published by Young Sunday (2006, 7 volumes)
The story follows Koutarou Tsutsumi, a senior high school student who moves from Tokyo to the country to live with his relatives, spending his final year before college there. Depressed by his situation, an encounter with his neighbour Nagisa changes his “tomorrow” little by little.
To be honest, I found this manga by complete accident. I was searching for another manga, and this piece popped up on my screen (due to my terrible typing). Instead of correcting my mistake and finding the manga I was looking for, I was enticed by the artwork. Its story was intriguing, so I decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed.
The manga starts off a bit slow, and fairly typical for a manga in the romance genre. Our protagonist enters a new environment, meets female love interest almost immediately, and from there, romance begins to bloom. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how complex the main character was. He was very fleshed out, having various issues that must be dealt with in order for him to achieve happiness. These difficulties include parental pressure, career aspects, social perception, adjusting to a new town and exploring potential romance. The character felt relatively authentic, a refreshing punch to the parameters of this genre.
Aside from the two main characters, there aren’t too many others that would be considered developed. This is to be expected when the focus is only placed on a few characters darting around a relationship. However, I would have liked a few more characters that could have shared experiences with the protagonist, as I can remember a total of 4 characters from this manga, and its only been a couple days since I read it. While it focuses a lot on the protagonist’s struggles, he doesn’t whine as much as other manga. He genuinely learns and develops as a person, which makes the story more satisfying, even though he can be a dick at times. While his behaviour did detract from his initial character at times, it was better than having a predicable weak protagonist; this one was able to make decisions, even at the expense of another’s feelings.
Though I was originally enticed by the art, at times it was a bit lacklustre. The art that was present was great – I really enjoy Hara’s style. However, a large portion of background panels were left blank. It definitely detracted from the story, as it took me out of the piece quite a few times. It was like an eject button whenever I focused in on the background. The manga didn’t seem unfinished, but it seemed a bit lazy. The length of the piece was very good. It was long enough that I was able to become invested in characters, but not long enough where it became repetitive.
Overall, “The Town the Stars Fall Upon” was a pleasant surprise, a fun and interesting romance manga that defies some of the romance genre tropes, though is still limited by many.
Art – 8
Story – 8
Writing – 7
Overall – 7.5/10