Ayumu Shiiba is studying for the all-important high school entrance exams. She is struggling to get by, but thankfully has help from her best friend Shii-chan, who is at the top of their class. Test results come back and their friendship falls apart when Ayumu surpasses Shii-chan’s scores and gets into her high school of choice while Shii-chan doesn’t! Losing Shii-chan is so painful for Ayumu that she starts cutting her wrists for comfort. Hoping for a fresh start, Ayumu arrives at her new high school and finally opens up to a new friend, Manami. But will Manami prove to be the friend that Ayumu truly needs or send her further in a downward spiral.
Candy’s Rating: 8/10
Candy’s Notes: Okay so this manga was literally something so left field for what I was reading at the time. I was totally all into really cute lovely dovey shoujo’s and I wanted something a bit darker, and this is what I found! Life focuses on some pretty heavy topics that I personally don’t see a lot in shoujo manga. The biggest topic and the driving force of this manga is bullying. It’s not like your everyday bullying though, this is some seriously extreme madness. Because of that, its not actually realistic and it’s heavily dramatized, but that won’t stop you from being able to relate to some of the characters. In the midst of all this crazy bullying, we get to watch a beautiful friendship grow between two girls. Their bond is what keeps them strong enough to endure all the bs that get’s thrown at them, and let me tell you, it’s a crap ton. Okay so, no this isn’t a yuri, and yes, there is SOME romance, but it is very minor, not actually developed, and I don’t believe it’s actually touched upon or concluded, so if you’re looking for something dramatic WITH romance, this isn’t the manga for you. This manga is for people who can stomach self harm, absolute and humiliating abuse, cruel bullying, attempted rape, attempted suicide, and attempted murder. Sad to say, that’s not even the worst of it in this manga. Every horrible thing you can think of, I swear, it feels like it gets put in here. Due to that, some parts are drawn out and forced drama is added, basically, so some new cruel thing can happen to this poor girl. I say poor but don’t get me wrong, this girl grows major balls. At first she’s just a typical sad girl trying to fit in, and then for a while she takes the bullying. However when she starts getting close to Miki, things seriously pick up for her. You can’t help but get excited by her ongoing growth and development and the way she’s trying to fight back. Now if I haven’t warned you enough, warning, you will be disgusted with how people act in this manga. The school completely lets this happens and Ayumu’s parents are basically playing blind because there’s no way they didn’t notice her changing demeanor and the marks on her body. I don’t care how much she hid it, SHE HAD A LOT OF THEM! The way the school acted was such a turn off, it was legit hard for me to read through. Honestly that can be said about like half of this manga. As much as I like it for its dark topics and the way they explored, showed, and handled them, it’s honestly hard to read through. You’re sitting there literally with a “wtf” look on your face the entire time just wondering why this is being allowed to continue and why it’s even happening. The reasons, omg the reasons are too realistic, like honestly. Character reactions and actions are realistic, the situations are over-dramatized. The ending is EXTREMELY SATISFYING and I found it to be a nice conclusion to it. I didn’t like how one situation was handled, but it was handled in a way that stuck true to the persona personality, so that’s to be expected. Crazy yan mode warning. Read for that alone.