On her way home from school one day, Noriko is unexpectedly plunged into a strange and extraordinary fantasy world. Her troubles compound exponentially when she is rescued and befriended by a handsome young man by the name of Izark. He may be brave and courageous, but inside Izark lurks the darkest evil imaginable. And according to an ancient prophecy, Noriko possesses the power to unleash that evil. Now, inexorably bound together, these two unlikely allies must navigate a world both wondrous and hostile.
Extra story: See You Tomorrow! (volume 3)
Okay, so...if you're very into shoujo, this is the perfect manga for you. It has everything a good shoujo manga needs. A cute girl with good intentions who happens to have some kind of supernatural power + a handsome hero who is super strong with a heart of gold + a villain who is trying to keep them apart = perfect shoujo ever. All it's missing is a love triangle, but I'm really glad it didn't have that... The story of From Far Away/Kanata Kara follows young Noriko, a high school girl who is mysteriously transported to a magical land. She is thrown into the arms of Izark, a handsome stranger who, for whatever reason, decides to take care of her and keep her safe. Meanwhile, tales of a supposed Sky Demon and Awakening follow them as they travel and the world she's been transported to is thrown into deeper and deeper chaos as the world awaits for this Sky Demon to take over. It's a typical shoujo, no? The story reminds me a lot of something like Red River or Fushigi Yuugi...definitely check out this manga if you're into either of those manga because this will be right up your alley. There's not much that makes this stand out from either of the two manga mentioned above or any other manga in this genre, but it was still a decent read. There were a few times I found myself wanting to roll my eyes or just feeling as if I was being oversaturated with Noriko's goodness or Izark's nobleness, but, honestly, that's just because shoujo isn't always for me. I read this as a reprieve because I just finished Monster not too long ago and I needed something light-hearted to lift my spirits. This did not disappoint. Even though it was a 6/10 for me, personally, it is very much a product of its genre. The art is very nice, very pretty, which is to be expected of the genre. The men are quite handsome and the girls are very cute. One thing I really liked that the mangaka did was to create some characters who weren't what would be considered "attractive" in the eyes of society and to make them the good guys. A lot of times in shoujo, the bad guys are always "ugly" and the good guys are "beautiful," but this artist decided to do it the opposite way around. It was very much a breath of fresh air. The characters were nothing noteworthy, but still entertaining. You have the main characters which I mentioned above, and then, of course, you have to have an entourage. All good manga have some kind of entourage of crazy characters and this manga did not disappoint in that regard. I especially loved the characters who started off evil and then made their way to the other side and fought for good. Very, very cool. I wasn't the biggest fan of the main characters, but I didn't dislike them. I really like that the mangaka decided to make Izark, the hero, someone relatable and sympathetic. Quite often, heroes in series like these are untouchable and stoic, but he wasn't. Once again, a nice breath of fresh air. Overall, this manga was not a waste of time, in my opinion. It's not a genre I typically enjoy, but I didn't hate it. There were cheesy moments, sure, but the ending was kind of heartwarming and the overall theme of redemption was really beautiful. I don't think I'd ever recommend this to someone who isn't into shoujo - it wasn't quite that good - but I would definitely recommend it to those who love shoujo. You will get an absolute kick out of this!
While transported to an unfamiliar world, Noriko has to learn the language and learn the ways of the new world. I found this very similar to Red River, where the main character is transported to a new world, where they meet the person they want to stay with. I really enjoyed this manga because Noriko shows a kind of strength you don't expect to see from someone in her situation. Reaching the end of the manga, I felt like I'd entered the light (you'll understand when you read to there) and I learned so much at the end! I truly felt refreshed from this manga and loved the ending and epilogue! If you are looking for a nice romantic fantasy manga, I think you should give this one a try.
Noriko, a typical Japanese high schooler, is suddenly caught in a terrorist bombing and transported to a sea full of trees with giant insects and dragons. A mysterious man Izark with seemingly superhero strength saves her from giant worms, and she's now the center of a giant hunt as The Awakening, with the power to awaken the power of a mythical sky demon. From Far Away helped define many of the tropes central to modern isekai before the deluge of a lifeless, never-ending cycle of low quality isekai. So, although many of these tropes have been seen before and will be seen again, the story stands on its own because of how it manages to execute these tropes long before they were ubiquitous in Japanese media. Despite the excellent plot twists in the first 2/3rds of the story, From Far Away suffers from a weak plot and poor characters at the end. Although not a short series, it introduces too many characters for us to get close to, and the entire story revolves around Noriko and Izark. This dynamic starts on an excellent foot, understand that a character transported to a new world cannot speak the local language, and how they slowly bridge that gap is engaging and fresh. That our lead may awaken a nearly omnipotent demon that will destroy the world is an interesting twist, a story suggesting moral ambiguity of a character who we relate to potentially being central to causing great evil. Despite this promise, it ends in lazy storytelling of extreme good versus evil, rather than the idea of good and evil being two sides of the same coin hinted at earlier. Rather than end with shades of gray, with characters with different moral compasses leading to thorny issues and an epic ending, or blue/orange morality on how a foreign land's ethics might be diifferent to our own, the villains are uninspired and comically bad. It's light against darkness, and it doesn't get less uninspired than that. We also get little to no insight into Noriko's life back home, despite the pain Noriko must feel from leaving everyone she knew behind. This is haphardly reintroduced for moments when needed as a plot device, but never sufficiently explored. That said, it's easy to judge From Far Away by the standards of today, at a time where these tropes weren't as commonplace. The execution in most of the series is good, and coupled with the plot twists still stands even today. The ending, however, and the deluge of poorly developed characters, drag this story down to barely above average. As far as the art, it's above average for shoujo art of the genre, and Izark's design is quite well done. Despite the similarity between Izark and a few others, there's also a large number of supporting characters with good character designs superior to the norms of the time period. All in all, it's hard to recommend this series today. Not all classics withstand the test of time and this seems to hardly excel even at the time it was written.
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