We Were There 3 by Yuki Obata: A

wewerethere3From the back cover:
Every day, all day, I think about him. I wonder if there’s a limit to love? I’m no longer able to imagine a world without him.

Now that Nana and Yano have been dating for a little while, some problems are beginning to arise. Their relationship has been growing more physical and while Yano’s not exactly insistent for more, it’s clear that he’s expectant, while Nana doesn’t see the urgency to “do it.” They’ve got other problems, too. When, at Christmas, Nana tells Yano a small lie about her afternoon plans so that she can shop for his gift, he gets all paranoid and stalks her. In an ordinary shoujo story, such a scene would be played for drama, but with this series, I was actually very worried that Yano was going to snap and do something violent. Even his friend seemed to have the same idea, since he declined to actually go shopping with Nana as she had asked.

After the holiday is over, Yano asks her about the lie and she confesses. He makes her swear that there will be no secrets between them. It’s right around here that I seriously began to dislike Yano, because he, of course, is keeping some pretty mighty secrets from Nana. When she grows suspicious about one of them, the exact nature of his relationship with Yamamoto-san, the sister of his ex-girlfriend, he lies.

Yes, the truth would’ve hurt her tremendously, but it makes one wonder… what exactly is Yano giving to this relationship? He expects Nana to behave as he wishes and to be completely open and honest with him without having to give her the same in kind. I found it very disturbing that Nana was convincing herself not to ask about his past with Yamamoto san because she wants him to keep on smiling, like even she knows on some instinctual level that the alternative is a very scary thing.

When, at the end of the volume, Nana tells Yano that she’s ready to sleep with him, I mentally cried, “No no no no!” Seldom have I been so worried about one half of a lead couple. We Were There is an example of a series that’s very, very good but also somewhat torturous to read.

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  1. It’s interesting… I didn’t have as violent a reaction against Yano here, because I think I know him too well. I just keep feeling sad that these two are not going to last. It’s so freakin’ *real* and he’s so broken, and she’s so eager to please. *sigh* I probably won’t review this because I already sort of wrote it up for Kate’s roundtable. But I’m glad *you* have.

  2. He’s definitely broken, but I guess I just get angry that he’s inflicting his brokenness on an innocent like Nana.

    I’m almost done with volume four, and there’s a scene in that where she’s feeling helpless that her love’s not enough to heal him. It’s pretty awesome.

  3. “We Were There is an example of a series that’s very, very good but also somewhat torturous to read.”

    Not to spoil anything, but you have no idea how right you are. I’ve seen the anime as well (which follows the manga word by word, surprisingly).
    I don’t think I can explain in words how tiring, repetitive, and dramatic it will soon get.

    However, there’s still this sense of realism that remains, because I tend to find that many couples *do* repeat the same mistakes, over and over again. Thankfully, the manga picks up where the anime ended. Though I’m not currently happy with the current situation (as of vol. 12), I’m glad it’s still interesting enough to read.

    Even though this isn’t particularly my favourite manga, I can’t help but place it somewhere near the top of my lists. Though, I think you’ve captured my sentiments exactly in your last sentence.

  4. @Fai: Thank you for the comment! I think you’re right about the sense of realism; that’s something I was thinking about, too. Yano, for example. He’s not your perfect shoujo prince. He can be kind, he can say the perfect sweet thing for the moment, but he can also be selfish, controlling, moody, et cetera. He’s far more “realistic teenage male” than 99.8% of his contemporaries.


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