I love Honey and Clover. Well, maybe I should say “like”, since love is a strong word and my feeling doesn’t seem to compare to that. But I know I have high respect for Umino Chika, and more after I began to read 3-gatsu no Lion.
Honey and Clover did a good job telling a slice of life kind of story. However I do think it suffered quite a bit by being too dramatic at the worst of time. I mean, love is a strong word, but it wasn’t actually that strong that it could control you without you let it first. And before I forget, I have to say I never read Honey and Clover. I just watched the anime. So I don’t really know Umino Chika’s style as mangaka until 3-gatsu no Lion.
Different from H&C, 3-gatsu no Lion actually gave me not-so-good first impression. I don’t understand shogi, and I’m a very bad chess player, I never played a game with other people, but when I played against computer, I only win by luck or using undo option. Then the main character, Kiriyama Rei, came out to me as a weak looking ordinary boy, just genius enough he could be a pro shogi player when he was in middle school. It sounds contradicting? Yes, because it is.
I ranted about Konoha (MC from Bungaku Shoujo) before in my goodreads review. And Kiriyama was a bit like him at first. He had more justification for being that than Konoha, though. However, after a while I began to warm up to him. His character development was really good. And after 10 volume passed I just realized I’ve had forgotten about him as that weak looking boy.
He became stronger. And it didn’t seem forced at all.
Then when he did something that betrayed our/their expectation, what could you do except smile wryly and let him do his way. (well, you could always sigh and show your disappointment about that).