- Mangaka : Kennoji (Writer); Midorikawa, Yoh (Artist)
- Publisher : Yen Press
- Genre : Drama, Romance, School Life, Shounen
- Published : Jul 2022 - Present
The Girl I Saved on The Train Turned Out to Be My Childhood Friend is the latest addition to the long list of manga with titles that are quite the mouthful. Although a bit tiring to say, this kind of title is good in its own unique way, because it is super descriptive. You’d know what the story is without having to read one page of it. And just like most manga with this kind of title, The Girl I Saved on The Train is also a light novel adaptation. So let’s see how good it is through this review.
While Ryou Takamori is riding his morning train on the way to his high school, he notices an old man groping a helpless female high school student. He immediately tells him off and makes a big fuss over it so that everybody on the train will look at the molester with scorn, which makes the offender run out of the train at the next stop. Ryou never gets the chance to see the girl’s face, because he’s in a hurry to get to school, but it’s clear that Ryou has essentially saved that girl.
So imagine his surprise when he finds out that the girl that he saved before is actually one of his classmates, and the school idol, Hina Fushimi. Hina is actually Ryou’s childhood friend as well, but they’ve grown distant over the years. But the incident at the train finally gives them a reason to get closer once again.
Much to Ryou’s surprise, it is actually Hina who takes the initiative and asks to meet him at the school’s roof. Not only that, but she also wants to walk together to and from school with Ryou from now on. Ryou knows it will cause widespread gossip throughout the whole school, but he just can’t seem to find the power to say no to Hina. So begins their journey to not only get closer to each other, but also to perhaps elevate their relationship to be more than just childhood friends.
1. A Shy Yet Assertive Heroine
Shy characters, be they boys or girls, are nothing new in romance manga. The quiet and shy character who can’t talk about their own feelings is pretty much an archetype in every romance manga. More often than not, they will be paired with a character who has the exact opposite of their personality, which is usually the carefree and energetic type.
One of the best examples for the quiet boy/loud girl couple would be Hori and Miyamura from Horimiya, while the loud boy/quiet girl couple would be Ryu and Urara from Yamada-kun and The Seven Witches.
The Girl I Saved also uses this familiar format, but with a twist. You see, Ryou is the shy and quiet type, but so is Hina. Or at least that is how they are in public. When there’s no one around, Hina turns into a very assertive girl. It’s clear that she has been burying her feelings for him since they were little, so now is the time to let them all out.
Be it asking to visit Ryou’s bedroom, or asking him to skip school and visit the beach together instead, Hina is clearly the one who takes the lead in their newfound relationship. This contrast between the shy and assertive girl is a refreshing take on the familiar coupe formula.
2. Hyper Focus On The Main Characters
The Girl I Saved on the Train is hyper focused on telling the story of the two main characters. At least that is the case in this first volume. With the exception of a short scene with Ryou’s sister and one other classmate, the overwhelming majority of this first volume is about Ryou and Hime. From the first page of the first chapter, to the last page of the last chapter, we follow the interactions between Ryou and Hime.
To be honest, this kind of approach is actually a double-edged sword. On one hand, it gives the readers more than enough time to fall in love with the characters and root for them, and there are also plenty of chances for character development for the two main characters. On the other hand, the story ends up feeling so constrained, and there’s barely any world-building going on.
However, considering this is just the first volume of this series, this approach actually works rather well. After all, we do feel closer to Ryou and Hime after reading this first volume. That means the next volume can focus on expanding the scope of the story.
1. Super Slow Pace
There are nine chapters in this first volume. The story depicted in these nine chapters happens in the span of around two days after the train incident at the start of the first chapter. As expected, stretching two days’ worth of story into nine chapters results in a super slow pace. It’s like the story tells hour-by-hour events between the two protagonists.
One chapter is dedicated to them going home together. The next chapter is dedicated to both of them arriving at Ryou’s house and Hime spending some time there. The next chapter is dedicated to both of them walking to school together in the morning. So on and so forth. As mentioned above, this kind of approach is a sure-fire way to make the readers understand and even possibly relate to and love the characters, but it is also a great way to bore people who are used to reading fast-paced stories.
The Girl I Saved on The Train Turned Out to Be My Childhood Friend is a decent romance manga. It has all of the familiar elements of every shounen romance manga that you ever read, but it also has several quirky things to make it stand apart from its contemporaries. The slow pace may turn out to be an issue for some people, but if you can look past that, then there’s a good romance story going on here.
Have you read this manga before? If you haven’t, would you consider picking up this title? Let us know in the comment section below.