Today I wanna talk about a certain manga that im sure not many people know about called Tonari no Kashiwagi-san.
I stumbled upon this title thanks to a nice anon on 4chan that decided to dump ch1 on /a/ one day. Upon reading it, it was definitely something I could enjoy and so I went ahead and read everything that was released at the time. The genres of this title are the usual romance/comedy in a high-school setting, and if you are a fan of titles like Ore no Imouto or Nogizaka Haruka then I would highly recommend you try this one out.
Similar to the titles mentioned above, the story revolves around the MC of the story Sakuraba Yuuto (an otaku). Being an otaku, he indulges in your regular otaku activities like watching anime, reading manga, and image searching for some good quality art like im sure many people do.
His favourite gallery website is a called pictia, which is a clear reference to the japanese website pixiv. Out of all the artist on pictia, his favourite one is the one that goes by the handle-name of “Sayane”. Yuuto comments how pictia is full of god-tier artists, but he loves Sayane’s art the most and comments on how ridiculously “moe” they are compared to other works on the site.
The main heroine of this manga is Kashiwagi Kotone, one of the prettiest girls in Yuuto’s grade and described by Yuuto as the very first 3D girl that he found to be beautiful and on the same level as the main heroine of a galge game (Keima would challenge him on this). While Yuuto obviously feels he has absolutely no chance to ever get to know her, the truth is that Kashiwagi’s hobby also happens to be the same as Yuuto and to kick it up a notch, she is also an artist on pictia which goes by the name of “Sayane”.
To Yuuto’s luck, he was hired to work at an anime shop (his dream job) and so, I’m sure at this point you can start to connect the dots as to where this series is headed. Manga physics #231 says “If the main heroine has a secret she cant let anyone find out, she WILL be caught”.
A lot like OreImo and Haruka, the reveal of Kashiwagi’s secret is the bind that brings the two protagonists together. Kashiwagi, fearing the backlash of what people would think of her if her hobby was to be revealed forces Yuuto to keep it a secret, and so their relationship finally begins. However, even if Yuuto knows she is an otaku, he still does not know that she is her beloved “Sayane”.
As far as characters go, Yuuto is your average rom-com MC so at this point in time I have a neutral opinion of him. He has had his moments where he is a likeable guy, and also some moments where he displays the common MC characteristic of “super density” which has plagued many before him (mostly concerning the hints that point Sayane = Kashiwagi).
As for Kashiwagi herself, thankfully she is nothing like Kirino on OreImo. In fact she is not even a tsundere, she is on the opposite side of the spectrum. Because of her fear of having people find out her secret, she is actually a very shy and quiet character in from on people only to show a more cheerful and active side when around people she is comfortable with. Of course there are some moments where she does get angry and it’s actually a great thing to see, but overall as a character….the moe is very strong in this one.
So far the story has been really enjoyable to read, with A LOT of d’awwwwww moments between Kashiwagi and Yuuto and more than enough comedy to keep it light-hearted and fun. Yes, there seems is a bit of drama but so far it doesn’t seem like the series is headed in a very serious direction at this point. No this is not a shoujo, it’s actually seinen, but it’s really good and I would highly recommend anyone to pick this up if you are looking for a very nice read. I just hope the scanlators can pick this up quicker, with only 9 chapters released at the time this post was made I am really craving for more of it.