Title: Farewell to My Alter
Author: Nio Nakatani
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Publisher: Yen Press
Short story collections usually leave me wanting more. It’s as if they end as soon as things get good. Mangaka Nio Nakatani, known for the yuri series Bloom Into You has released her short story collection titled Farewell to My Alter. However, instead of wanting more, these stories end when they should, as a few pages more would surely break my heart.
Farewell to My Alter features a collection of short stories from Nakatani-san. However, without going into detail about each of them, I think a few are of note in this release. The title story, Farewell to My Alter, takes the lead as a story of twins who have never had their own identity. Since birth, the two have been indistinguishable and have traded places almost every day. This becomes a slight issue as their sole male friend is a potential love interest.
Like most of the stories in this collection, everything is bittersweet. We see how much these sisters love and respect each other, and Nakatani-san doesn’t take the easy route of introducing jealousy or anything silly like that. She plays it though for an “ignorance is bliss” approach to love, and it’s heartbreaking.
There are lessons taught throughout the stories, but nothing in your face, more like passing feelings that are somewhat familiar. Loving someone so much, but something else has their attention or being the hero of a work that requires balance, it’s as if we have encountered these situations at some point in our lives, and Nakatani-san introduces it so wonderfully. While not each story leaves that impact, one idol story in particular kind of falls short of being memorable; there’s plenty here to keep you invested in each offering.
There’s also the final story; I Want to be Kind, which spoke to me in more ways than one. There’s sometimes a demand that we emphasize with situations, but we either need to fake or just let our emotions do the work. However, that’s not always easy. Like Nakatani-san, I too want to be kind, and I usually mess up at it.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as Double Bed shows us a side of the writer that looks forward to any kind of future, but with a positive outlook. The shift in tone is almost needed as you attempt to recover from the previous story. Regardless of this, the pacing a flow is so natural, as if you’re watching someone grow up before your eyes. We’ve all gone through these shifts in emotions, dealing with commitment, loss, and passion, but seeing it spelled out across each story gives it an unrealized understanding.
Farewell to My Alter will fill you with a sense of loneliness across each story, but with that, there’s this beautiful understanding that you aren’t alone. The thoughts we assumed were exclusive to ourselves are shared by someone else, and in these stories, I saw myself.
The experience will be different for any who read it, but this collection by one of the most profound girls love authors around is also a chance to see how far she’s come as a writer, and I feel closer to her in this way. It’s as if I have a friend that I’ve never met. And as we grow up, like I’m sure she has, we look back on these old creations and see how we’ve improved ourselves from the places we once were.
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