Warning: Here Be Spoilers
Several weeks ago, when I picked up the second volume of School Judgment, I had actually picked up Forget Me Not as well, and ended up setting it aside. With volume 2 set to come out on Tuesday of this week (May 17th), it seemed like a good time to take a look.
Forget Me Not mostly caught my eye with is beautiful cover (lovely artwork and colours that I’ve come to expect from romance series), but I’ve got a soft spot for romance manga. It’s clear that the cover didn’t lie – the art in this manga is gorgeous.
Yusuke Serizawa has never been to his school’s library, but when he and his friends decide to skip, they know that the barely used room is a great place to hide. There, they come across a student nicknamed “Nobuta,” after a tv drama – I’m assuming a reference to Nobuta wa Produce about a shy schoolgirl – who spends her time alone and hangs out in the library frequently. One of the boys, Shimizu, tells Yusuke to get the girl’s email address. Instead, he leaves with a book recommendation. Yusuke loves the book, and goes back to Nobuta. From there, they begin spending the afternoons together.
On his first afternoon in a while with his friends, Shimizu announces to Yusuke that he’s gotten boring, and jokes that Nobuta must have possessed him, prompting Yusuke to tell them off for their behavior. The relationships with both Nobuta and Shimizu go very dark, very quickly. Ultimately, Yusuke loses all his friends, and passes through middle school for the next two years without interacting with them again.
Years later, Yusuke is going through his belongings when he comes across Nobuta’s novels. Struck with guilt and sadness, he admits that he believes he is a horrible person. Fast-forwarding to an undisclosed year, Yusuke gets into an accident leaving work one night. Blurrily, he remembers a young woman talking to him and calling the ambulance. He doesn’t know who she is, but it’s clear that she knows him. He wakes up in a hospital, desperate to know who the woman who saved him was. They speak on the phone, and the only clue she gives is that she’s glad she didn’t go back overseas.
The story flashes back to highschool. Yusuke meets a half-Japanese, half-English girl from England. She doesn’t speak Japanese so well, so he studies as much English as he can, and asks her out. More than anything, he wants to see her happy, but she never seems to smile. A small misunderstanding caused by a friend named Furuya seems to cause a terrible breakup. Jumping back forward again, Yusuke wonders if maybe she’s the girl who saved him. Furuya contacts him, having heard he was in an accident, and confesses that his girlfriend had broken up with him because she found out she would be moving back to England.
Yusuke goes to meet the mystery woman from the accident. While speaking on the phone, she announces that she can see him, but then takes off into the crowd, telling him she’s not ready to meet yet.
Another flashback to highschool reveals a third possibility – a student teacher nicknamed Hermes for her designer clothes and unfriendliness. The final chapter shows the beginning of their relationship, and ends with the feeling that things are about to go badly.
I loved this kick-off to Forget Me Not. Despite his mistakes, Yusuke is noticeably and lovably human, and it made him a very sympathetic protagonist. The characters are fleshed out, and the story’s touch of mystery is compelling. By revealing one piece of Yusuke’s life at a time, the story kept my interest – there are still so many questions to answer about Yusuke’s past and the woman who keeps calling him. We are being led through Yusuke’s life by way of his regrets, which is something most people can identify with, and I think that this is a huge part of what makes the story so believable.
If you like a bit more of a grown-up romance, I’d highly recommend this series. Needless to say, I’ll be picking up Forget Me Not, volume 2 this week.