Review: Present

All for love…


1 Volume – Complete

Plot Summary
A husband awaits his wife in the hospital…
After two months in a coma, she’s left as an amnesiac.

Due to her heart’s condition, she only has three days left to live.
And as her memories return, the story unfolds…

Personal Opinion
Such a sad, sad little story…

This is a oneshot – and a short one at that. 40 pages in length, I would say that this manga, without a doubt, gets the more done in such a span than any other manga – long or short.

As such, there’s plenty to say on it’s account…
While it may seem primarily a romance, it goes on to focus on drama and character over all else. Powerful emotion in endless amounts tears through this manga, allowing the reader to experience just what the characters are going through. It’s not over saturated in the least – heavy emotion is used quite tastefully, for the best effect. “White” lies… those to make our nearly departed not feel the pain of leaving. Brought off as kindness, as a gift, as deceit. What can we possibly offer those on their deathbeds? An escape from the harsh reality that this is, that shall be. What one does out of true, simple love. All displayed beautifully in Present. This manga is extremely compelling to say the least.

You’re not exactly let into the minds of the characters, but much more is brought through without that. The reader is shown their lives, and outward reactions towards the cruelest tragedy. Through dramatic scenes, one gets to know the characters in a somewhat more complex manner than if we were simply shown their inner thoughts. This is done in all of the best ways – with increasingly moral questions, dramatic tension, and a telling monologue or two. The prior is perhaps one of the most powerful of things showcased in this manga – choices grow more difficult, and circumstance is far from improving at any point. All is done out of love, but it eventually reaches outwardly strange things. Most of which are only apparent once finished with the story. The characters are in constant conflict, at their wit’s end with recent happenings. And I can’t blame them.

The ending is completely unexpected…
It’s a cruel plot twist, and a saddening one at that. All that has happened seems suddenly for naught, and the reader is left in the hold of their emotions. The manga ends shortly after this sudden twist [or should I say complete turn-around] to the storyline. It’s the ending that makes this manga what it is, but if you don’t like tragedy, avoid it. I nearly cried…

The art is not only one of the most unique I have ever seen, but the most detailed. Art itself doesn’t exactly determine how much I love a manga, but I’d like to make the point that while this is the most detailed art style I’ve ever seen, it doesn’t smother the story at least. Art can be overly detailed, killing off much of the meaning, but in Present, that is certainly not the case. The story comes through better with this style of art, with Boichi’s perfected style pushing all the dramatic and emotional themes. It wouldn’t be quite the same without it.

At 40 pages, this is one of my favorite manga. Ever. It’s so amazing in too many ways…

Personal Rating

[Reviewer: Simon A. Blake]


One thought on “Review: Present

  1. It’s good. I just couldn’t quite understand the whole story.

    So, the real “Makao” (or Takao) is the old man, which is the father? And the “husband” is pretending to be him because he looks like him? And Hanako is the “husband’s” mother and the old man’s wife who stayed comatose for 40 years? =/

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