Natsuru Nanao, a 6th grader who lives alone with his mother, strikes up an unlikely friendship with the reserved and driven Rio Suzumura. Natsuru plays hookey from soccer camp that summer, and instead of telling the truth to his mother, he spends all his time with Rio and her kid brother at their rickety house, where a dark secret threatens to upend their fragile happiness.
This is a short, and essentially rather simple story at its heart, but my word, it is wonderful. 'The Gods Lie' is the story of 11 year old Natsuru Nanao, a football loving boy who has just moved to a new town with his mother, and Rio Suzumura, the tallest girl in their sixth grade class. Natsuru's football team has just accquired a new coach whom he dislikes, and in addition to this, he has been outcasted by one of the girls because he rejected one of them on Valentine's day, whereas Suzumura is isolated from everyone because of the secrets she carries- starting with the fact that she and her little brother Yuta live alone, their father being overseas working in Alaska. It is this secret that Natsuru finds out by chance, and thus a tenative friendship forms between Natsuru and Suzumura. This leads to him running away from attending football camp to stay with Suzumura for the summer, and that is when both other secrets get revealed and the tenative friendship turns into first love. Now, I don't want to give any spoilers, so I won't give specifics as such, but the story works beautifully. The blossoming relationship between Natsuru and Suzumura doesn't feel particularly forced or contrived or even too old for their age- it works just right, and particularily with little Yuta in the mix too, seeing them together does at time seem to echo the potential families they should have had/ could possibly be in the future. They have a good chemistry together, and the moments they share, whether shocking or sweet, both serve to show this. And the other relationships in this work well too. Of course, given the shortness of the story, it is not as if we get very long in-depth studies of said relationships, but the story works well with the length it is given. I know I got very attatched to Natsuru, Suzumura (and Yuta) very rapidly, and for good reason. You cannot help but feel for the characters and somehow understand where they're coming from. And of course, there is a sense of being catapulted back to the different feelings of childhood- of how everything is new and intense, how you (usually) just live in the moment, and just how dependent you are on the adults around you and how that can make things fall apart when they don't come through as you'd always believed. It is wonderful. As to how the story ends- it is tragic, but not in a big, bombastic way, but rather quietly. Not tragic in the typical sense, but there is a melancholy to it, almost a sense of defeat. I know I found myself wishing that they'd had a bit longer to enjoy themselves and each other before it all happened. Yet, it was inevitable. There isn't really any other way things could have ended for Natsuru and Suzumura. But, that end is not the end, as such, and the last page leaves us with a sense of hope for them. To summarize: This is a short, but very sweet and sensitve story, and I would reccomend it over and over again.
A very well-constructed and beautiful romance between two elementary schoolers who start seeing each other as family. They share the secrets and insecurities they hide from everyone else and end up trusting each other more than the adults in their lives. Suzumura Rio, the girl, is tall for feir age as well as very responsible and mature. Nanao Natsuru, the boy, finds Rio strong and cute. And Rio finds Natsuru cool, feeling drawn in when fe sees fem on the soccer field. The meaning of their names is brought up, and both of them have very hopeful and forward-looking meanings. I suppose the story is sorta hopeful in a subdued, though perhaps realistic, way. But it would be unfair of me to imply that the romance is the primary focus of the manga. Well, I guess it might be, but the romance wouldn't work nearly as well or make nearly as much sense without the context of child abandonment and neglect that pervades the story. It gets pretty dark and upsetting, but none of the drama feels gratuitous or tear-jerky, and the story is made stronger for it. The ending felt a little less-than satisfying, especially with its title-referencing attempts to wrap things up by bringing up the idea of gods lying out of kindness (as though gods or spirituality were at all relevant in the story).
I never thought I would really like this story because like some people who read this manga, were pretty weirded out by the ML grabbing his mum's breasts. However he was only 11 and it only looked to be only affectionate between mum/son so it was ok to let it slide in this case. Different story if he was older, I would be seriously creeped out to say the least. Anyway I really liked the art man, it was just gorgeous. I really felt sorry for Rio because she was the only one looking after her baby bro. Even that, their father was just a scumbag for abandoning them with the grandfather, who just wasn't able to look after them. It was very heart breaking to know what happened to him. It was really touching to see Nanao looking out for Rio and her little brother cause they have been through hard times than Nanao has. I mean at least his mum and that she has a job as a mangaka. I am aware that mangakas don't earn much but it seems that Nanaos mum is doing well anyways lol! Definitely read this folks!
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