I’m honestly not sure what to think about author Nikki Asada’s The Springtime of my Life Began With You Vol. 1. On the one hand, it expertly depicts the awkwardness and harsh realities of not being the cool kid in school; on the other, it normalizes dependency and manipulation.
The Springtime of my Life Began With You Vol. 1 introduces us to Suehiro, a loner girl in her first year who keeps to herself. I don’t think she really wants to be a loner, but she doesn’t see herself as someone who fits in with the other groups. One day, the most popular boy in class, Takasago, asks her out. The only problem with this is that Suehiro was eavesdropping when he lost a bet to ask her out.
Takasago claims it wasn’t a prank to save face, even though it was, and persists to be a part of Suehiro’s life. She enjoys it because she’s never had this type of attention, but she also understands that it could very well be just an act of pity on her. Still, their relationship is charming, and Takasago even stands up to others who tease the situation. This is only strange because you could probably find him bullying others with them not too soon before.
I enjoyed their interactions, though, but only because Suehiro seemed okay with the situation. However, Takasago’s attempts to change her into a confident student came off as possessive at times, but then he’d balance it out by stepping out of his comfort zone as well. They each make small changes to how they were before they met each other as Takasago encourages Suehiro to do the things she wants.
The thought of them being apart is what troubles Suehiro for many of the scenes. However, there’s a hint that someone who relates to the true Suehiro, an author of her favorite book, attends the same school as them, so I’m sure that will complicate her feelings. She’s impulsive, and he’s eager to put all his energy into everything other than what’s bothering him. I feel like their dependency runs deeper than we can see in this first volume, but their feelings will surely be tested.
I thought the illustrations were incredibly detailed. We see many cute and adorable scenes of Suehiro stepping out of her shell or falling deep into her imagination. It’s even cuter when she tries to avoid certain interactions with people. I believe this was the highlight of the entire story and really gave agency to the scenes.
The Springtime of my Life Began With You Vol. 1 is absurdly adorable and yet has some questionable moments of being overly pushy with your intentions. I know Takasago means well, but he has a lot of making up to do in my mind because I won’t forget about the prank. Yes, I’m not as easy to forgive him as Suehiro is, so I’m looking forward to the next Volume, especially after that cliffhanger ending.
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