After the body dies, the soul lives on. Many spirits progress toward the world of light, through the levels of the spirit world where they study how to improve their souls. These spirits are sometimes reincarnated into the physical world, and sometimes they are sent back as guardian spirits for other living people. Guardian spirits must protect their charge's souls from the blackness that oozes up from the world of darkness below. Riyon is a very laid-back spirit, who often skips her spirit classes to fool around. To train her further, she is sent back to the physical world as a guardian spirit. Instead of following a human from birth, she is helping a beleaguered man, the Japanese Prime Minister Kasuga Soichiro, in the last year and a half of his life. After an unexpected close call with death, Kasuga gains some unusual talents, including the ability to see Riyon. Will Riyon and Kasuga together be able to protect his battered soul?
Hito Hitori Futari. The delightfully abnormal and seriously captivating manga that made me somehow feel grateful for my life. Hito Hitori Futari materializes the “what if?” questions that arise when talking about the paranormal in your everyday life. Mixing politics and the supernatural, this out of the ordinary manga displays the beautiful and uncommon relationship between the Prime Minister of Japan and his lively guardian spirit. Starting off we are introduced to one of our main characters Riyon, the once perky living girl now deceased and reduced to a spirit like form. She is forced to dwell in the spirit realm until she can be reincarnated, but to do that she has to refine her soul first. Riyon being the mischievous spirit she is, always skips her soul refinement classes to have fun elsewhere. This catches up to her when she is now assigned guardian spirit duty to make up for her skipped classes. Wanting to be reincarnated Riyon obliges picking the person with the shortest life span so she doesn’t have to do much work. Unexpectedly this ends up being the one and only Prime Minister of Japan Kasuga Souchiro. But on the first day of the job Kasuga meets death's door yet escaping unharmed because of his guardian spirit Riyon. From suffering a quick interaction with death he is able to interact with spirits including Riyon as well as being granted psychic abilities. Sent to Earth to protect this infamous man, Riyon discovers a bond familiar to the ones she left behind before she died from Kasuga’s newfound psychic abilities. Tsomotsu Takashi strikes again with another delightful story with wonderfully likable and fleshed out characters. The cast of Hito Hitori Futari is nothing less than amazing, all being full of dimension and personality. Especially our two main leads Riyon and Kasuga who are full of depth and character development. They go through vast changes within this manga from the struggles of Kasuga being the Prime Minister and Riyon having to protect such an important figure from hate. From this a special bond grows between them resembling a heartwarming father and daughter dynamic. While many aspects of this manga are very heartwarming (like that) there are many aspects that aren’t. Dealing with abuse, suicide, personal struggles, and death Hito Hitori Futari isn’t that light of a manga. Yet it deals with all of these heavy topics in a great way making room for a happy and satisfying conclusion as well as giving some sprinkles of strife and action along the way. This brings up how well this manga is in terms of excitement and enjoyment. When you think of politics in a manga you would expect it to be kinda boring. Trust me I thought it was gonna be mediocre too because of the political aspect yet Hito Hitori Futari blew me out of the park. I binged it in two days because of how captivating it was. I’m not one to really understand the working of Eastern Asian politics yet I felt like I was caught up in them. The tension that arises from Kasuga being the Prime Minister and having this immense devotion to the position as well as resolve to better Japan is amazing. Every time someone died or Kasuga was failing to get his message through I felt it. I felt the frustration and anger as well as the hopes that Kasuga would finish his plan. It was incredible the emotion this manga drew out of me within just a short span of 83 chapters. One thing this manga wasn’t lacking was excitement. While this story doesn’t have much action and is more personal/drama centered that doesn’t mean it isn’t exciting. I’m not talking about the usual action packed regular shonen excitement I’m talking about the excitement you see when you are rooting for your team in a football game. That eagerness to want them to win so much that when they have some drawbacks it makes you scream. To add on to this emotional charge, the characters feel realistic and have their own personal backgrounds, motives, constant struggles, and this fierce persistence that you will find throughout the manga. Kasuga is an amazing protagonist and his development is something you don’t wanna miss. Despite being fictional, Kasuga's relentless tenacity will rub off on you. And when it does it feels like you really can empathize with the man and his unwavering resolve to make his country a better place. With this resolve he also manages to always keep moving and trying to give love out whenever he can. Even with all the terrible things people have done to him he spits in the face of harbored hate and loves them. So when bad things happen around him I genuinely felt sad for him and super frustrated. We see his highs and his lows and it sparks emotion. With all this drama the artstyle is able to capture emotion amazingly. While it is sort of sketchy the artstyle has a dsitinctive flare to it that I found to love. It has wonderful individuality of faces, great proprotions, beautifully drawn panels, and amazing use of shading. The great artstyle really helped to compliment the sentimentality that comes with it. I haven’t read a manga that made me feel emotions that strong in a long time. So of course I enjoyed this story a lot. But while we are talking about characters I want to praise Tsomotsu for creating a manga that gives almost all of its cast an intricate background and unique depth. Of course the villains had a background but even after all the pain they had inflicted at the end of the story I was still able to feel bad for him. Everyone had their own circumstances to shed light to things they were doing. Riyon was able to see that too with Kasuga. Riyon was another character who had fierce persistence and she ultimately made Kasuga’s short life so much better. The themes that came with the journey were super inspiring too, like not giving up, sacrificing for the greater good, loving people despite their flaws, and overcoming personal challenges with strength. Overall Hito Hitori Futari was a great manga and one that I haven’t ever read anything like. Give it a chance and I think you will like it.
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