Lack of depth and connection with the reader is one thing one-shots seem to lack. So, I initially kept my expectations low when I read this.
Boy, was I wrong.
Story: The story is simple, but the understatement is beautiful. Akimoto Yae is a loudmouthed, energetic high school girl. When riding the train to school one day, she sees her classmate Ayase. He drops his book when he leaves the train, so Yae picks it up and runs after him. He dismisses her and allows her to keep the book. Yae, having a crush on him, reads the book. (Due to her dislike of print media, she reads it at a slow pace.) Soon after, Yae and Ayase start spending the train rides together.
Yae wonders why Ayase never chooses to regain possession of the book. Ayase explains to her (in the most lovely manner possible) that he has gone blind. Aye notices that the part of the book where he left a bookmark must be that place. They have a heartfelt conversation, and become friends.
While the book has an underlying cheese factor, it is cheese in the best sense. This can be overlooked, for the most part, because of the subtle and well-done love story. The book doesn't try to become a pity party for Ayase, nor does it lessen his pain. It shows the reader how much he'd like to read again, rather than how upset he is about not being able to read.
Art: The art is straightforward, but it has an airy feel just perfect for the manga. The two main characters have pretty, appealing designs, but look generic. (On the other hand, anything too out-of-the-box would look out of place.) The use of sunlight is brilliant, and enhances the panels.
Characters: With a one-shot, the most people can expect is a dynamic (character development needs more pages). Unfortunately, this usually ends up with a kiss or smut.
Due to their relationship, I will not list Yae and Ayase separately.
As the blossoming lovers of this manga, Yae and Ayase should be able to carry it by themselves, and they do a glorious job. Despite the great story and art, you should read this for the characters. Yae seems to become a different person around Ayase; she quiets herself even when speaking with him. Ayase, wise beyond his years, is more of a listener. Their relationship is something rare in manga nowadays--more than a friendship, but while maintaining a PG level of love. This alone makes for an enjoyable read.
Overall: I cannot recommend this one-shot enough. It is the best one-shot I have ever read as far as quality goes, and is quite fun to read, too. It is only 40-some pages--you have time to read it.
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