So when I heard about Watashi no Taisetsuna Tomodachi (わたしの大切なともだち), by Hakamada Mera, I thought, *at last!* we’re finally going to get something with some meat. Well..yes, and no. More than anything, we get an entirely new riff on the same-old, tired “best friend” plot.
Ebisawa Shouko (Ebi-chan) has failed to get into the art college of her choice. On her way home, she consoles herself by buying some doujinshi. She runs into an old friend, Tachibana, who’s hanging with cool-girl friends from high school. When Ebi-chan’s otaku hobby is revealed, Tachibana lies and says they barely know each other. In tears, Ebi-chan sits alone in a local park, as a shining light passes across the sky. We see that – whatever it was – has hit Tachibana on the head and knocked her unconscious.
Ebi-chan decides to go to a trade school for design while waiting to retake the exam. She is utterly freaked out when one of her classmates turns out to be none other than Tachibana…who has completely lost her memory. So much so, that she keeps a dictionary around to look up words she doesn’t remember.
Ebi-chan lies and says that they were best friends – which is a lie, but also not, as they were very close in elementary and middle school. It’s just that as an otaku, she didn’t run anywhwere near Tachibana’s cool-girl circle in high school.
Now that she’s said they were best friends, Ebi-chan feels responsible for Tachibana. But Tachibana’s not invalid, just has no memory. If anything, her physical skills are unbelievable and it is she who saves Ebi-chan when they are on their class orienteering trip. (The idea that the design school does an orienteering trip hurts my head, I don’t know about you. ^_^)
When Tachibana collapses from overexertion, Ebi-chan has an epiphany. Up until now, she’s been trying to help Tachibana get her memories back. But – what if she hates Ebi-chan for lying about their relationship? Now Ebi-chan is full of doubt, but Tachibana’s new food-obssessed personality is really too cute to resist and she decides to just live in denial about everything.
I don’t even know what to say about this book. It was odd, and kind of cute, but also kind of annoying, but not so much.
It’s obvious that Ebi-chan feels that she wants Tachibana to be her “important friend,” but what Tachibana feels is utterly obscure, except where it related to food. She really, really, really likes food. Whatever one may think of the story, it absolutely, positively is a totally different riff on the mopey best friend story.
Art – 6 It’s Hakamada Mera, darlings.
Characters – 7
Story – 7
Yuri – 1
Service – 0
Overall – 7
The characters are a lot older than the typical Hakamada manga, too, but pretty much look the same, just taller.