[Manga Mondays] Dreamin’ Sun
Title: Dreamin’ Sun (Yume Miru Taiyou)
Author: Ichigo Takano (Story & Art)
Genres: Romance, Comedy, Drama, Shoujo, Slice of Life
Published: 2008-2011 (1st Japanese tankoubon run) and 2015-2017 (2nd Japanese tankoubon run); 2017- 2019 (English tankoubon)
Volumes: 10 [Complete]
Japanese Publisher: Shueisha (1st tankoubon run) and Futabasha (2nd tankoubon run)
English Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Available to Purchase in English?: Yes (Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Indigo )
Oh look it’s another reverse harem. >>;
Before I get into the review, a quick note on the different tankoubon publishings listed above. Dreamin’ Sun was originally run in Shueisha’s monthly magazine Bessatsu Margaret from 2007-2011, and it was compiled into tankoubons by Shueisha between 2008-2011. The series was later redrawn by the author Ichigo Takano, apparently due to her change in art style, and re-released in tankoubon format by the publisher Futabasha from 2015-2017. Seven Seas Entertainment picked up the series’ license and has been publishing it in English since 2017, with the final volume set to be released in August 2019.
Anyways! I found Dreamin’ Sun on Seven Seas Entertainment’s website and ordered the first volume from the Indigo website (as my local Chapters bookstore only had volumes 7 and 8 :/ ). It arrived a couple of days ago and I finally got to read the first volume yesterday.
In a nutshell, Shimana Kameko is a high school student who has a difficult home life. Her mother died a few years ago and her father has since remarried. Shimana now has a half-brother, a baby named Yura. However Shimana feels that her father and step-mother prioritize her younger brother over her, leaving her feeling neglected and unwanted. Is it the absolutely worse family situation to be running from? No, but as it’s revealed throughout the volume, Shimana is carrying a heavy emotional burden and her parents aren’t the best either.
One day Shimana decides to skip school to run away from home. She meets a young man named Taiga Fujiwara in a local park (and by meets I means “accidentally kicks him because she doesn’t see him lying drunk on the ground”), who offers her a place to live in exchange for meeting his three conditions: she must tell him her name, she must tell him why she ran away from home, and she must have a dream.
Shimana of course does eventually fulfill these conditions (more or less) and earns herself a room in a single family home. She now lives with Taiga, who is the house’s landlord, as well as two of her schoolmates: Zen Nakajou, a martial arts enthusiast who loves pandas, and Asahi Tatsugae, a very attractive guy who is a serious student. Guess which one becomes Shimana’s instant crush?
Which leads me to my main complaint about this series thus far: Shimana’s rather annoying, to be honest. Mainly that she is instantly attracted to Asahi and follows after him like a lost puppy. Because this is a reverse harem it’s pretty clear that the other guys in the house will likely become Shimana’s romantic interests, but thus far her initial pick is Asahi. Yeah she’s young and probably never dated before, and yeah she’s in a new and exciting situation (running away from home, living on her own with virtual strangers), and yes I understand she’ll undergo character growth as the series progresses. I get it. She just wasn’t my favourite character in this first volume, to say the least. But I have hope that that will change.
With that being said, this first volume does a great job at unpacking why Shimana decides to run away from home. Because if you don’t read into Shimana’s decision too closely, she seems like just another stupid high school runaway who returns home when they get hungry because they didn’t think their decision through completely. Initially, to fulfill Taiga’s second requirement, Shimana tells him that she ran away from home because her father remarried and she felt that he loved his new wife and her baby half-brother more than he loved her and his dead wife. Shimana feels that both she and her mother have been replaced, and therefore she’s unwanted. Taiga knows that this isn’t the whole truth, and a short while later he makes Shimana re-do his second condition. Crying in front of all three young men, Shimana reveals that she was genuinely happy to see her father happy again, and she did want to love her new stepmother and baby brother. But there was a part of her that couldn’t let go of the love she had for her mother, and that part of Shimana resisted becoming a part of her new family (because it would “betray her mother”), leading to resentment towards her parents and baby brother. That’s pretty deep. And while our views of Shimana’s parents are limited because we only get to see them for a few pages at the beginning of the first volume, it’s clear that her parents don’t treat her the best either. Her father in particular is not very sympathetic towards his daugher, who has lost the birth mother she was very close to and is having to cope with having both a new mother and a baby sibling who demands a lot of attention. Ok, rant over.
The only other part of this first volume that was a little hard to believe was the scene near the end of the first volume between Taiga, Shimana and her father. After realizing that Shimana has been avoiding calling her father to explain why she ran away from home and where she is now living, Taiga drags her home and forces her to explain the situation. Shimana’s father demands that she come home, but Taiga asks him to please let Shimana do as she pleases for now, because she will have to have adult responsibilities when she becomes an adult in a few short years. Anyone reading this knows that this is BS and a stupid reason to let Shimana live elsewhere. But, Shimana’s father does agree to let Shimana live with Taiga. After Shimana leaves the room to go pack her belongings, Shimana’s father recognizes Taiga as being a prosecutor like his father and explains that three years prior, Taiga’s father helped his family out with something. Because Shimana’s father knows that Taiga’s father was an honorable and respectable man, he suddenly feels more comfortable leaving Shimana in Taiga’s care. In return, Taiga promises to protect Shimana. I read this scene and the only thought my brain could really form at the time was REALLY??! But I’ve been reading manga for forever and this is not the first time I’ve encountered this kind of attitude in a manga, so I can give it a pass. Kinda. #ohjapan
Overall this was a decent start to the series and I enjoyed the first volume enough that I will continue reading for at least another volume or two. There’s already the beginnings of at least one romance, there’s comedy, and oh man Asahi’s so easy on the eyes~
P.S – I just realized that I’ve switched to using the English translated titles for my reviews instead of the Japanese titles. Oops? ^^;;;
My Score: 8.5/10
Do I Recommend This Title?: Ichigo Takano is also the creator of the much beloved series Orange, so if you enjoyed that title then you might enjoy Dreamin’ Sun as well. This first volume was funny and cute enough that I recommend reading at least the first volume to see if it’s something you might enjoy.