Title:Mizuno and Chayama Author: Yuhta Nishio Publisher: Yen Press Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 384 Genre: Slice-of-Life, Romance, Yuri Publication Date: May 10, 2022
Mizuno and Chayama is a 2-volume omnibus that centers around a girl named Mizuno who is the daughter of the mayor in a tiny town called Asaba and her friend Chayama who is the heir to the Chayama-en corporation whose father is running against Mizuno’s. The two of them are secretly in a relationship; however, that’s not the reason why they are keeping it secret.
Supporters of Mizuno’s father see Chayama as a threat and so she is bullied at school day after day after day. Usually covered in bruises, Chayama endures it because she knows that since politics are involved, there is nothing that can be done. In addition, she also has this feeling as if she’s living her life on this predetermined path and that Mizuno is the only thing that can get her off of it.
The book focuses on this struggle for Chayama more than Mizuno’s issues. Most of the time, Mizuno is just worried about Chayama and mutters things about not wanting to live in the town anymore. Her dream is to run away somewhere else with Chayama at her side. Obviously, with both of the girls’ parents in politics, that’s easier said than done; however, Mizuno’s father seems pretty open to just about anything she wants to do. He even goes so far as to state that he would support any decision she made with her life.
Chayama’s father on the other hand is very two-faced. He puts on a smile in front of the camera but he’s very controlling and manipulative behind the scenes. Knowing this, Chayama does her best to hide her relationship or even just her association with Mizuno from him but, secrets are typically discovered and when it is, Chayama’s father’s true colors come forth, adding some drama to the story at just the right moment.
Of course, political tensions are not the only source of drama. There is also a girl named Aikawa who simply just hates Chayama. She comes from a semi-broken home with a mother who thinks that her water filter has healing crystals in it. Yeah… let that sink in for a minute. Her grudge against Chayama is misplaced and seen more as an outlet than anything but Aikawa and her group of friends make Chayam’s life a living hell.
I wish I could say that there were some sweet moments in the book but the moments that were meant to be sweet have a different kind of feeling to them. The manga itself is written in a very gritty style. I would liken it to Inio Asano but toned down just a little bit. The dialogue and situations don’t shy away from real life and the gritty atmosphere tends to represent the overall emotion of the book which I would sum up to be despair.
As for the characters, Mizuno seems to be the more aggressive of the two. I don’t mean that as in she’s physical or anything but her attitude, her mindset, everything suggests that she’s more outgoing and willing to take a lead on things than Chayama. Mizuno has her goals and even states that she will do whatever it takes to achieve them. Having a supportive father who is also the mayor kind of helps, but she’s also not the type to take advantage of that. She wants to assert independence by doing it all on her own.
Chayama, on the other hand, is very much reserved and too meek to do anything and when the book carries on, you’ll come to understand why. That doesn’t mean that she’s a complete pushover. She, too, has her limits and when she reaches hers, she lets you know it… especially when it comes to a pair of scissors. At first, I thought this was going to be a bit of foreshadowing for something, and, thankfully, I was wrong but it does become a bit symbolic in the second-to-last chapter. Chayama grows a bit as a character as she becomes as sharp as those scissors and decides to resolve an issue in a way that only she can.
The book doesn’t really push any boundaries but it does keep itself grounded in reality and some of the darker moments of life. Despite being only a single omnibus in length, there is still a lot to unpack here. The overall story, the characters, the struggles that they each go through, and the goals that they try to reach keep you turning the pages. By the time I finished, I felt satisfied as it presented a completed short story that didn’t really leave you wanting more but left you happy with what you’ve read.
For someone who loves romance, especially yuri, and wants something a bit darker, a bit grittier, but still entertaining and interesting, it’s highly worth picking up this book!