Binbou Shimai Monogatari

Alt title: The Poor Sisters Story

Vol: 4; Ch: 46
2005 - 2006
3.701 out of 5 from 69 votes
Rank #18,240
Binbou Shimai Monogatari

Asu and Kyo are two orphaned sisters; their mother passed away some time ago, while their father abandoned them due to gambling issues. Asu and Kyo now live in a rundown apartment complex. Asu, the younger sister, is responsible for all of the housework while Kyo is in charge of living expenses; and together, the two sisters work hard to live a comfortable and enjoyable life. Looking to one another for support, Asu and Kyo experience the hardships of daily living, but are still able to welcome each day with a smile.

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Hating on "Binbou Shimai Monogatari" is like kicking a puppy.  Even if the puppy deserved it, you're still going to look like a heel for doing it.This is a manga that is right in my strike zone; it's an iyashi (healing) manga story where nothing much really happens with characters who are warm and likable.  The two sisters of the title are alone; their mother died and their father racked up debt and dissappeared.  In fact, the set-up of the story is so perfect and charming that you don't want it to change.And there's the problem.  There's no drama, no dramatic movement at all.  The one set of chapters that threaten the harmony of the sisters' life together do it in such a way as to be just a little ridiculous.  The reader is never left in any suspense about what's going to happen.  After all, earlier chapters have shown that no matter what, life at the little apartment house will stay the same, so nothing to worry about.  Ever.  The chapters are so short that there is little room for development of either plot or characters, two things that have been traditionally the great strengths of manga in the world of graphic, sequential art.  In the end, nothing has changed in the slightest.  Kyou and Asu still live in the apartments, are still poor, despite having discovered a well-to-do aunt, a doting grandmother and even having found (and lost again) their father.  You finish volume 4 feeling like you have been on a boring walk through nowhere and came back to where you started.  Keep in mind I am a HUGE fan of slice-of-life anime and manga."All right, Jiji, fine: then what would you suggest?  Giant Robots?  Magical girl?"  No.  Of course not.  But this story could have improved greatly if the girls started out homeless, living in cardboard or an abandoned shack, trying to look normal at school and failing due to being too hungry.  Around chapter 3 or 4, Kyou could find a job (newspaper delivery) and start making enough money to live and eat more regularly.  At the end of volume 1, they would have moved into the apartments.  Then you could include all the material of the landlord, the neighbours, the aunt and grandmother (with some minor changes).  I would have found the story more likable and more believable if they had ended up moving out of the apartments into a modest house supported by their Aunt OR perhaps getting enough money to buy the apartments from the landlord and taking over running it for him since he's rather old already.  Well, enough fanfic.  This is an obviously freshman effort from a mangaka with a little promise.  It's hard to say whether she should go back to yonkomi or extend herself with her chapter length.  All in all, I give this manga a "D".

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