Manga Shelf: Sumika Sumire
Our first impression of Sumika Sumire is that, it has a heartfelt premise. The main character named Kisaragi Sumi is surprisingly older when we first meet her, 60 years old to be exact. She’s spent her youth taking care of her family. On top of this, she’s never fallen in love. One day, after she’s finished her mother’s funeral service, a mysterious cat who calls himself Rei appears and grants her the wish of being young again.
If there is anything manga is great at it, it’s answering the what-if scenario. Perhaps this is because it is a medium built in escapism, meaning we use it escape the sometimes problematic experiences of life.
And in this what-if scenario, we have a story that is not only universal in that we have all wondered what it would be like if we could turn the hands of time back and redo something that we weren’t satisfied with.
Sumi is a character that lived the very idealistic Japanese life in that she gave up her own self to fulfill the needs of her family. This is called filial piety which is considered a strong traditional aspect of Japanese culture. It is with this in mind that makes Sumi a sympathetic character but also one who you want to root for and that’s why early on, when she meets Rei, you want her to live a life she’s not been able to.
This relatable and sympathetic nature also finds its way into the main crux of the narrative which is the romance. Seeing a younger Sumi experience these things for the first time is utterly charming.
It puts a nice spin on the romantic story of “will they or won’t they” within manga. It’s as if the manga knew this and decided to use it as its hook to make it just a little different from the rest of the manga out there.
You’ll fall in love with Sumi and the other characters you meet. The fact that Sumi started off as a much older character does add a bit of spice to her character development.
Sumika Sumire is going to pull at your heartstrings if you let it. It’s a romance story at its core with some refreshing supernatural overtones. It’s definitely geared towards the josei and shoujo crowd out there! So pick it up today and give it a read!