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Our Happy Hours by Sahara Mizu
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Our Happy Hours

by Sahara Mizu

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You guys, I am so excited that Lynn put some manhwa on my to-read list for Sadie Hawkins' Sunday. I love reading manga and manhwa, but I do not do it enough, because I mostly live from review copy to review copy. Also, this is totally a story I probably would have skipped left to my own devices, both because I'm not a fan of the cover art and because it sounds so depressing, and I'm still getting used to the idea I love depressing stories. Thanks, Lynn, for getting me to read something out of the usual, especially since I loved it!

Manhwa, for those who do not know, is the Korean equivalent of manga. Both manga and manhwa have a reputation for being melodramatic and crazy, which is perhaps rightly earned. I expected Our Happy Hours to fall into that category, but it is surprisingly melodrama-free. The subject is treated with the appropriate gravity, but nothing needless is added to up the emotional ante unnecessarily. The plot's not drawn out or over-complicated.

Juri tries to commit suicide for the third time. A former pianist, she now refuses to play and hates her mother, once a famous pianist. All Juri wants is to die, out of this life with untrustworthy people and nothing to live for. Her Aunt, the only good person in her life, is a nun, who works with death row inmates, trying to bring a bit of joy into their dreary lives while they went for the sentence to be carried out. She asks Juri to come speak with one of the inmates.

Unsurprisingly, Juri does not want to do so, but, given that she can do that or spend time in a mental institution, she agrees. Speaking with Yuu, a convicted murderer doomed to die, she opens up and is able to overcome her own mental blocks. She finds beauty in the world and connection. Though they come from completely opposite backgrounds (her: wealthy; him: a poor orphan, who had to prostitute himself), they have a lot in common and bond slowly. Their story is touching and tragic. Oh, the feels that I did not expect!

The writing, or at least the translation, was much stronger than usual, perhaps due to the fact that this is an adaptation of a novel. The art works quite well with the story, very shadowy. The conclusion does run a bit to the cheesy side, but everything else was perfect. Dark, emotional, and full of feels. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
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