Title: Isshoni Gohan
Author: TANIKAWA Fumiko
Ribon Cookie Comics, 2002
I picked up this fun little series because I enjoyed another work by this author, Mahou wo Shinjirukai?. That was such a sweet series, that I felt I needed to find more by the author. I am glad I did, because once again I have found a great manga that deserves more attention. Tanikawa-sensei’s artwork is so insanely adorable. It manages to alternate between simple and complex in terms of page layout, and the line work is very feminine and delicate. Yet at the same time, it is also very silly and exaggerated. The author creates characters who are all so adorable, but doesn’t resort to using gigantic eyes that fill up their faces. Instead she goes for sudden shifts to an extremely simplistic style with round cheeks and small eyes. It sounds funny, but it’s very cute! I realized after re-reading this series, that Tanikawa also did the character designs and manga for the wonderful little romantic OVA anime Tokyo Marble Chocolate! No wonder that looked so cute! Isshoni Gohan is a breezy cute (can I say “cute” enough times here? lol) series, and at only 2 volumes, it’s an easy read.
UMENO Kaoru is an adorable and cheerful 19 year-old country girl. At the beginning of our story, she is extremely excited because she is finally making a successful escape from home town to go see her boyfriend at last! Her beloved Fukita-sempai moved away when he graduated, but they promised to be together, and now Kaoru is finally following him to the big city, where she will go to college, and they can live together happily!
Only one problem… when Kaoru arrives at his place unexpectedly, she discovers her beloved is not alone… there is another girl in his apartment! A girl he has obviously just slept with! Crushed, Kaoru flees from the scene, and soon ends up laying flat on her back in a nearby park. The park is next to a college campus where the various clubs have booths set up trying to recruit new members. Staring up at the sky and the branches of the blossoming sakura trees overhead, she becomes lost in thought. The flowers are so pretty. Dying in a place like this would be nice… However, before she can complete this thought, Kaoru is distracted by a strange guy who has appeared on the ground next to her and is hugging her head!
Kaoru has a lot of hair. It’s long and curly and fluffy. This strange guy was actually attracted by her fluffy head 🙂 Kaoru naturally reacts with shock, accusing the guy of being a pervert stalker. Meanwhile, the guy is cowering under Kaoru’s attack, begging his approaching friend for help.It looks like the guys Matsu (the pervert) and Take (his friend) are recruiting for some club, but Kaoru doesn’t stick around long enough to find out what it is. This just reaffirms what she has seen on TV and in manga — Tokyo guys are scary!
Unfortunately for Kaoru, her troubles are only just starting. When she gets to the apartment where she made arrangements to live, she discovers there is a crazy misunderstanding. It’s a boys apartment! How did this happen?! Well, Kaoru is a unisex name, so it looks like they thought she was a boy! And hey, those perverted guys from earlier live there, too! Oh no, what is Kaoru going to do? She tries to find another place to live, but every other location is booked up or way beyond her budget!
Feeling low and depressed, Kaoru ends up helping out Matsu and Take hand out club flyers. Take is a very outgoing and friendly guy, so he is able to convince KAoru to join in even when she doesn’t feel like doing anything. However, when she catches sight of her newly-ex boyfriend, her depression sinks lower, and she drags Take and Matsu away to go get drunk. Drinking is never a good way to hide from your problems, and drunken Kaoru spills out her troubles to her two new friends. Matsu is not impressed by her sob story and thinks she is kinda weak. Take is more sympathetic, and tries to comfort her. When the evil ex comes back and attempts to make up with Kaoru, she falls for his fake remorse and goes with him. Fortunately, Matsu and Take see through his lies and rescue Kaoru just in time. It’s obvious that she needs someone to take care of her, and they need her to take care of them as well.
Now Kaoru the country girl finds herself unexpectedly living in a boy’s apartment building with her two new friends. Together they will form a close bond of friendship and go through many experiences together. Will romance be in store for Kaoru too?