Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan

Alt title: Our Happy Hours

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Bradalee's avatar By on Dec 25, 2014

The following review is part of the forums Secret Santa event for 2014.

There’s nothing quite like a good seinen/josei story that does away with the usual genre tropes so it can focus on telling a concise, meaningful story with true depth of character and theme. And for the most part, Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan manages to be all of the above.

No time at all is wasted in getting to the meat of the story as we’re quickly introduced to our two main protagonists via a couple of short flashbacks to defining moments in their lives. The heroine, Juri, is introduced to the reader by virtue of a failed suicide attempt, while our male protagonist, death row inmate Yuu, is shown standing over a murder scene. The two of them cross paths through Juri’s aunt - who’s a practising nun - when she persuades Juri to accompany her on a charitable visit to a death row inmate with a penchant for attempting suicides of his own. While Juri was there under the pretence of helping a troubled inmate, he ends up doing just as much for her as she did for him by opening this depressed and suicidal young woman’s eyes to the beauty in the world, and the beauty of life itself. The story is a heartwarming tale of how even people who are going through immeasurable pain and suffering, and who have rejected others as a result of people hurting them in the past, can find some sense of relief from other people in the end if given the opportunity.

The two main protagonists both have suitably tragic backstories, but luckily these rarely step into the realm of the melodramatic or fanciful like so many stories with similar themes, rather they’re convincing and relatable at all times. Each of their stories are told by drawing from both the past and the present, with there always being some form of preceding justification for every action or feeling, resulting in characters feeling very real, and their conflicts being resolved admirably throughout. Even if you don’t personally like the characters as people, you can understand them and relate to their problems as real life people, and I have no doubt that this story will provoke feelings of some kind in the reader due to the subject matter. Be it empathy or scorn, you will feel something for these characters as the characterisation is right on point throughout.

If there is a single fault with the story, it lies in the ending. Although it ends on a pleasing enough note, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was just a little bit too cheesy for a story that until then had done its best to steer clear of the more obnoxious tropes of the shoujo and tragedy genres. It may seem like a minor complaint after all the good work that was done before it, but for something that was so competently written until the very end, it leaves somewhat of a bitter taste in the mouth. And that is a massive shame.

That said, this is still a very good story, and one which manages to creature two wonderful lead characters and weave them into a story with mature themes that are handled pretty well throughout. The way the characters manage to arrive at a stage where they are helping each other move on with their lives was a joy to read, so this is still very much a manga that people should read.

7.5/10 story
7/10 art
9/10 characters
7/10 overall
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harshrox2's avatar By on Jan 17, 2014

the score (7) is based on everything + enjoyment factor while with all above stuff now i know that you might be thinking that you must give it 10 nah but not, giving reason are :

1.It is a manga and in manga more of the flow must be depicted through the pictures it is a novel adaptation so i think that as a reader wound up betwwen picture and conversational aspect , depth of story and emotions are outright but this doesn't fit the genre of manga original novel or a movie may do a better work with the script.

2. again conversation/narration length is to long that is not fit for manga.

3. use of heavy words to shorten the length of sentences these were able to depict  in conscience of what they talk in 30 minutes but takes me sometimes 3-4 to re read it to get sentences were not enough to express whole feeling ,takes time to connect to character therefore decrease tne pleasure of reading.

these are the reasons why i was unable to percieve story as i should be, in depth as well in contrast of characters

and giving it above 5 the description is as follows:-

1.)This manga basically deals with the story of two persons one who have comitted 3 murders and is a death row inmate, and a retired pianist who have failed suicide three times(Trivia:- see how '3' is a common factor :)) and how they come to understand each other heart and understand meaning of life it talks about there perspective towards life before and , during and after meeting each other. So from the onset itself you can guess this is gonna be a heart wrenching story.

2.)It is a highly descriptive manga talk about complexeness of human relationship and hardship it also beautifully establish a sense of sympathy towards the characters ,I was personally drawn towards the female character who come to understand life and overcome her hardship by enjoying the small happiness of world around her , her character is beautifully potrayed while regarding male charcter it is beautiful to see how he his transformation occurs from a isolated man to a comlete different personality.

3.)It is beautiful to see how love blooms in a prison between two person who being alone and different , are not so different from each other .Also the points above points must also considered as critsism as they drawback such beautiful story and characters.

4.)If you are tired of generic romance you may enjoy it.

And If you want to enjoy it read novel version that is translated or watch a good movie based on it, for avid readers with good language grasp in literature reading manga may do the trick.

see ya

8/10 story
7/10 art
10/10 characters
7/10 overall
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angelsreviews's avatar By on Nov 19, 2013

The story is really heavy on the drama. I’m not sure exactly weather I like it or not so I feel a bit stuck in the middle. I have never been much into Romance when it doesn’t have some type of comedy within it. I do feel rather sorry for the people within the story. The Nun who only wants to do good, a women who isn’t feeling any love from her mother or the other people around her, and a man who all his life he had seen people turn on their words.

The story seems to speak of forgiveness a lot. Forgiveness of yourself, forgiveness of others… and it seems to be sounding a bit preachy at times. It seems to push it into your face a lot and yet, it feels perfect for the story line they wrote.

The art style is actually really different then I have seen. The colored images are watercolor, so beautiful and done rather well, making them look almost real. The black and white images are heavy in tones; almost no spot was left untouched by the dark look. Hair seems a bit stiff and almost as though it’s dirty or oily on the head.

6/10 story
7/10 art
8/10 characters
5/10 overall
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