A Distant Neighborhood

Alt titles: Haruka na Machi e, Harukana Machie: A Distant Neighborhood

Vol: 2; Ch: 16
1998 - 1999
3.893 out of 5 from 374 votes
Rank #7,314
A Distant Neighborhood

On the way home from a business trip, 48-year-old Hiroshi Nakahara boards the wrong train and finds himself in the town of his youth. After visiting his mother’s grave, Hiroshi is transported back in time to his fourteen-year-old self – a time when his family was strong and his father hadn’t abandoned them yet. At first he’s thrilled, but soon comes to realize that he isn’t able to return to his wife and children, and must continue living in the past. However, Hiroshi is now left with a life-changing decision – should he try to change the past, without knowing what it will do to his future?

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I can appreciate how out of it Hiroshi is throughout pretty much the entire story and how it actually takes fem multiple chapters to wrap feir head around some things which other isekai/time-jump manga only dedicate a few panels to the characters wondering about (e.g. whether fe's actually in the past or in a dream, whether fe should work to change events or not). Fe is inept at pretending to be a child and repeatedly lets slip feir futuristic perspective. And fe did adult activities like smoking, drinking, going to a restaurant with feir best girl, and riding a motorcycle without a second thought. Fe excels in school because fe's already gone through all this and fe enjoys athletics because of how youthful feir body is. The story itself becomes a contemplation of mid-life crises and the way that husbands can abandon their families after feeling overwhelmed and trapped. In the original timeline, feir father had abandoned their family at the end of the summer. And if fe could change any one thing in the past, that's what it would be. The flashbacks occur with minimal indication or transition, which can be a bit frustrating. I find it interesting how they actually show both sides of the story and show empathy for the irresponsibility on the husband's part. And I appreciate some of the heartfelt conversations that occur. Though, I still never felt the story exceeded mediocrity and I'm not sure I can pinpoint why. Maybe it was too melancholic or maybe it was just a bit too bland. Or maybe the lack of beautiful artwork and the stiff way the faces were drawn dragged the rest of the experience down as well. I dunno. But it's still an okay story; I just wouldn't consider it great or impressive or a favorite that I'll end up rereading or anything like that.

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