Brought to us by the same pen that is currently drawing everyone’s favorite card game anime of the moment (Chihayafuru) is 100% no Kimi e, or 100% to You, a short, two volume shoujo that tells the tale of a high school girl who adopts a puppy with a guy in her class, and, as all shoujo go, gradually finds herself falling in love with him. For the most part the story is pretty standard with a few spins. Though the ending leaves a bit to be desired in terms of satisfaction, in its entirety the manga is pretty satisfactory with a heroine that isn’t one of the manga brainless dunces that plague the genre and a story that is well executed in terms of its sweetness.
As I mentioned before the romance story isn’t anything ground breaking for the shoujo genre and anyone whose read a couple of manga in this genre can tell who will get together with who from the get go; as with 99% of shoujo, it’s only a matter of playing the waiting game, which was blissfully short here. Because of the short length, the waiting never became too drawn out and the story moved at a brisk enough pace that meant there wasn’t a lot of angsty lagging between the realization and the hook up. The down side to that, however, is that the ending felt a bit rushed in terms of how neatly it wrapped everything up in about the space of a chapter.
One of my favorite aspects of the manga story-wise revolves around the introductory chapters which put a great deal of focus on Yuzu Horiuchi’s mother and her dilemma. Our mostly cheerful and peppy lead is forced to transfer from her preppy all-girls high school into a co-ed school after her mother is in an accident that leaves her wheelchair bound, forcing the family to build a house that is wheelchair friendly. With her paralysis being relatively new to her (9 months since the accident), the mother is still resentful and ashamed of her situation, unwilling to venture outside or do the things she used to.
Shortly after Yuzu gets her hands on her shared puppy (aptly named Shiba) and has a moment of determination spurred on partly by the support of her new friend, Soutarou Kashio, she decides to take her mom out and about their new neighborhood. Her mother quickly feels ashamed and embarrassed as every single person they wheel past stares at and talks about her wheelchair, becoming sullen and angry. Right as tempers start coming to a boil, Shiba runs off and Yuzu and her mother are forced to take chase. As they run around town, the mother’s attitude visibly improves and after they find the dog, she is noticeably happier. After one last fit of insecurity, the mother finally comes to terms with her confinement as she looks up in wonder at the tree-lined boulevard she is being wheeled down.
Besides the obvious romance shipping, this part of the manga is my favorite. Although the mother suddenly getting over her shame and insecurities regarding the wheelchair is a bit unrealistic time wise, it’s an unexpectedly touching group of chapters. Though the mom practically disappears after her stint here, her story is an unexpected treat to see in a genre where mothers are often the worst people, the best people, or not there at all.
As for the next six chapters, they manage to do a good job in developing Yuzu and Kashio’s love story. When I say it did a good job, I mean that it managed to be relatively short and sweet. Though Yuzu spends the majority of the manga chasing after Kashio, she is genuine and earnest. One of the things that impressed me about her the most is how, after confessing to Kashio and creating a bit of an awkward distance between them, she admits to him that her actions were a bit rash and that she doesn’t want them to drift apart, at the same time, telling him she doesn’t want him to completely disregard what she told him. In a way, I like how she considered his situation and apologizes a bit for making things awkward while not completely backing down. Yuzu, in general, is a sweet girl who may not have been the strongest or most outstanding shoujo heroine, but certainly had her own endearing qualities.
Speaking of Kaisho’s situation, as with most shoujo, 100% to You has some conflict that keeps the two from hooking up immediately, which, in this case is Kaishio’s long distance relationship with a girl he appeared to be very much devoted to. Conveniently, their relationship had started on a downward slide that would never quite right itself. Admittedly, I don’t think the girlfriend started out a terrible addition, but as the manga’s end neared, I found her to be increasingly annoying, not necessarily because she was “cockblocking,” but more because she wasn’t really developed all that well. When she’s first introduced, she expresses an uncertainty in the viability of her long distance relationship, talking about how she wants to change herself in ways that she’s not sure she can with Kaisho since she views that as her turning into a different person from the one Kaisho originally fell in love with. At the same time, it’s clear she still has feeling for her boyfriend and still wants to give the relationship a shot. I liked this girl. Despite being the rival to the person I was personally rooting for (and knew would win in the end), I sympathized with her a bit and felt a bit bad for waiting for the inevitable collapse of her relationship.
That girl, though, disappears pretty quickly. Maybe I was just overly impressed with her at the start and simply became disenchanted the more I saw her. Regardless, the biggest slap in the face when it came to the girlfriend, and Kaisho for that matter, was the attempt at making their relationship with him into one that had a more sexual nature. The love hotel scene at the end felt awkward and out of place in a manga that had such an…innocent tone to it throughout its course. Being suddenly given build-up to a sex scene felt off for everyone involved. There are two reasons for this. First and foremost is how out of character it felt for Kaisho who had been built up as a pretty upstanding guy who didn’t quite come off as a raging pot of hormones. His bespectacled appearance and nice guy personality was actually a pleasant change up for me since I typically end up reading more romance manga with the Jerk-with-a-Golden-Heart lead than any other kind. The fact that he was entertaining the idea of engaging of sex felt like something that ran against what he had appeared to be. Admittedly, that might be a bit of an unfair judgement considering his actions weren’t completely out of the realm of reality. In truth, I suppose it was the rapid transition from “We’re gonna bang” to “I’m breaking up with you and gonna date this other girl two pages later” is what helped make the scene awkward.
The second reason, which is more of a quip I have with the manga in general, is that the topic of sex wasn’t exactly handled with the greatest amount of grace here. The subject had been brought up before as one of Yuzu’s friends was heavily implied to have a sexual relationship with the guy she had a crush on because she thought that being second best to his girlfriend was better than nothing. Honestly, these scenes always felt a bit out of place whenever they popped up, with the pair half naked and usually in the midst of doing the deed on campus somewhere. The girl receives quite a bit of disapproval from her friends, and, later, Yuzu who states she could never act like the girl and knowingly push Kaisho to cheat. I’m not saying what the girl did was right or that she had the right attitude towards her behavior, but I pitied her since she genuinely hoped that the guy would eventually upgrade her to girlfriend status (he doesn’t) and seeing her friends blatantly criticize her always irked me a bit since they literally did it almost every single time she popped up. Though the sex angle here wasn’t terrible, it still wasn’t the best. Since I already ranted a bit about the love hotel thing, I’ll just leave it at I would have liked if it were left out.
Honestly, trying to just briefly incorporate the idea of sex kind of failed to do much for me. I appreciate the attempt, but other manga have done it better (because they were longer), like Say “I Love You,” and in a shoujo that felt more sugary sweet than anything else, trying to incorporate sex only felt weird, especially at the end.
The ending itself felt a bit too rushed, too neatly packaged. I know this is a two volume shoujo, but still. We go from almost love hotel to scene, to Kaisho’s “magical” realization that he’s in love with Yuzu, to the end of his relationship, to a confession thing, to the last page with a couple shot, all in the span of a 54 page chapter. I’m not saying I dodn’t think the ending was sweet or that the story should have been a longer will-they-won’t-they, but the ending felt…abrupt. It’s hard to describe. Thinking back on the ending, I can’t really imagine having to sit through any more chapters without the story wearing out its welcome. I suppose what it boils down to is me wishing Kaisho and his girlfriend had had a better end. It had been made clear earlier than he had liked the girl a great deal, and he went through great pains to make sure she didn’t feel insecure about their long distance relationship. Sure their relationship may not have been doing as well as it could be, and we all knew Kaisho would dump his girlfriend eventually, but, still, I wish they had at least had the opportunity to have a slightly more graceful break up.
Though I nitpicked the manga a lot, believe me when I say I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Whether that’s because I was reading it in the wee hours of the morning and felt myself being swept away by the sheer sweetness of the manga or because the shoujo fangirl inside me is still thriving despite my best efforts to smother her a bit, I don’t really know. Either way you can bet I smiled like dummy whenever a shippable moment came up. Though the story hits a few bumps, it certainly has its share of sweet moments and Yuzu’s genuineness is endearing in such a way that I couldn’t help but root for her. My soft spot for shoujo art doesn’t help me out since the art style with its emphasis on big eyes and cutesy looking guys and girls certainly has that shoujo feel to it. Though the art is unmistakably reminiscent of Chihayafuru‘s, it’s not necessarily as refined. The characters are still nice to look at, and if you’re a fan of Chihaya’s design, chance’s are you’ll probably like Yuzu’s since (at least to me) she bears a heavy resemblance to the karuta player.
All in all, 100% to You is a little above your average shoujo. The story’s fine but can certainly have it’s frustrating moments. It’s harmless and sweet, something that should please any fan of the genre. With my own shoujo bias, I liked the manga and found it relatively entertaining for its short length.
Overall Score: 7/10