Review: Taiyou No Uta
What would you do if you were plagued by an illness, an illness so bad that just a shimmer of sunlight could kill you? Kaoru is a girl who is effected by an illness known as XP, this illness has meant that in all her 16 years of life she has had to hide in darkness, no matter how much she demanded to go outside, her parents had kept her locked away indoors. Now Kaoru is aware of her illness and travels out late at night to sing on the streets with her guitar. Our story starts with her watching a boy at the bus stop from her window, and she falls for him at first sight. By chance she happens to meet the boy at night and they quickly get to know each other and become boyfriend and girlfriend. But she fears what will happen when he finds out that they will never be able to walk about in the sun, to never share the beautiful sight of the rising sun as he surfs in the sea. And thus our story begins.
A wonderfully tragic story of a dying girl and her boyfriend. Though this manga is somewhat short, it helps to give the feel of the very short time that both have together and the speed of her illness as it causes her mind to atrophy and will eventually lead to her death. Though we usually see a long period of time for the love interest to come to terms with his girlfriends illness in these manga's, it is nice to finally meet a love interest who is almost unphased by this as he does not really have much time to understand this illness if he wants to be together with her. Instead, his devotion and drive to engage the girl in their night time dates while all the while trying to dismiss her worries about her restricting him with her illness, makes for a beautiful yet tragic theme.
I think this manga is worthy of a read by anyone who is a fan of the romantic genre, though I do advise caution for those who do not deal well with the subject of death. This manga is based off a movie by the same name which also gave rise to a drama series. Bandō Kenji appears to have captured the content of the story wonderfully in such a short manga, and I would put this forward as one of my favourite short stories of all time.