By Thea Srinivasan
Romance is a tricky subject to deal as we have to use our hearts instead of our heads to make any decisions. But sometimes love becomes trickier when life makes us change who we are. When we see our partner after a breakup or a long period, the changes become apparent and can sometimes shock us. With the right circumstances and timing, we sometimes end up falling in love with them again. This is the basic premise of Perfect World.
Tsugumi Kawana, an interior designer, has to work on with on a project for an architect firm and gets reunited with her first love, Itsuki Ayukawa. From the time the pair broke up, Ayukawa ended up paralyzed in a wheelchair. The pair has to work on a project for their respective companies, and along the way, Kawana decides to rekindle her friendship with Ayukawa. As their friendship progresses, Kawana tries to understand Ayukawa’s relationship with his disability while Ayukawa ends up learning how to allow someone love him even though he uses a wheelchair.
I like the unique plot the creator decided to use when writing this story. They didn’t shy away from the reality of disabilities nor did they immediately jump on the romance train. Instead, they took the time to build the characters and reignite their friendship. Ayukawa is not a typical masculine lead nor is Kawana a fragile person. Both of them are regular people who have their own ambitions and were able to move on with their lives. Most romance manga overemphasis masculine and feminine features. But this one was a simplistic build up where the side characters were almost as important as the main characters. Even though the side characters were in the story for small portions of time, they weren’t simply there to reflect the main characters, their purpose was to show the audience a new side of the plot and that is something romance manga don’t tackle.
One of my favorite characters was the girlfriend of Ayukawa’s client. Even though she was only in one chapter, I really liked her perseverance as she stayed by her boyfriend’s side through his personal turmoil. While the couple represents what Ayukawa and Kawana could be, the pair also represents first love while Ayukawa and Kawana are adults with different paths. Even though all of the characters play off one another, each one can stand on their own and make a personal impact on the reader.
Although the story is focused on a paraplegic, the creator didn’t turn it into something outlandish. They ended up discussing the struggles injured paraplegics may face and how it emotionally impacts the person who is injured and their loved ones. The closest people to Ayukawa worry about him and their relationship with him while Ayukawa just wants to live his own life without burdening others.
The art style is very pretty to look at. Even though it is more simplistic than other manga, its main focus is on the characters and their expressions. The art style is not bad, but it isn’t as detailed or intricate like other styles. Even with its focus on the characters, the art focuses more on the important characters and it doesn’t pay attention to background details.
Overall, this is a sweet manga that allows readers to see a different side of romance. The simplistic plot and subtle use of drama don’t put a lot of weight on the reader’s emotions. Yet the tale is unique enough that readers will be forced to learn how to empathize with the characters and their issues. This manga is for the reader who wants an ordinary love story with a hidden gem to make their journey more unique than other romantic journeys.
Perfect World vol. 1