THIS REVIEW HAS SPOILERS
I can't believe this manga has only a 3 star rating, honestly. It deserves a lot more of praise.
If you're planning to read Arigatou, you have to think you're not in for something cute. The sinopsis means it when it says this manga is depressing and, by all means, presents sexual violence — mostly, during the first "arc". The story, however, doesn't romanticize it or any of the rest of the sexual stuff shown — like when a characters's nude photos are leaked, or when a group of bullies use their power to abuse a side character.
There goes the review!
The sinopsis resumes everything. A dysfunctional family coping with the fact that no, they're not as bonded with each other as they were in the past. Lonely, lost in life, sticking to their traditional beliefs, failing to communicate, these family members need to try and live with each other until their breaking point — which is the ending of this tale, when they break apart and go to live life as they can, separated. We see small stories inside this universe, like Takako going to school, her sister coping with the abuse she has gone through, their mother finding a level of freedom outside of the family's house, their father repeatedly failing at trying to "fix" his own broken family, all of this leading to the end.
The storyline is quite solid for a rather simple premise. You can see why I'm giving it a 9 at the "Why not a 10?" section.
This section is nothing special and based out of taste.
The art strikes me like a slap every chapter. I love Arigatou's catch at that 90's style so much and would say that the highlights were the chapters's cover art, specially the ones that showed Takako in a more natural state, out of the small universe the story got us in.
Like this one, for Chapter 9 : Making a Bento.
At the beginning, the style might be a little bootleg. I get it. But it just gets progressively better every chapter and, again, I'm a complete sucker for 90's manga style.
Pretty much my favorite part of this damn manga.
Arigatou has rock-solid and almost realistic character construction. The protagonist, her family, side characters, pretty much everyone. Takako, the rebelious tomboy teen that learned to be on her own because of her father's ausence; Akiko, her sister, confused, trying to just go with the flow and accept everything her father does (and sometimes, snapping out of this behaviour); their alcoholic mother, lonely and abandoned by her husband, who finds happiness and freedom in risky business, out of her marriage; their father, overworking, stubborn and a complete failure at understanding his own family. All characters's struggles are rather transparent as the manga goes, maybe except for Akiko's, and the artist doesn't feel the need to rub everything at our faces (most of the time).
Going in with the mindset of someone who understands how gestures, commentaries and certain acts can also show what a character feels, I was kind of amazed to see that the comedy tones of this manga and sometimes overexagerated personality traits actually did shine a light into the characters's flaws, struggles and qualities.
WHY NOT A 10?
As much as I absolutely love this manga...
The first chapters where, kind of, the villains to me.
As for the art...
And characters, for bonus points:
That's it. I'm not the type to do reviews, because of my fear of expressing opinions, but I had to do it with Arigatou. I hope this was useful in any way!