Title: Sakura Rhythm
Author: USAMI Maki
Flower Comics, 2003
See, I warned you that there would be a bunch of USAMI Maki manga summaries! She is my new obsession, please bear with me 🙂 Most of her works are one-shot books, and this volume is no different. This book contains 2 stories. The first one takes up about 3/4 of the book, with a quick unrelated short story at the end. As always, I really like this author’s simple, uncluttered artwork. I admit, her characters do tend to look alike from book to book, but since they are all so nice looking, I guess I don’t mind seeing the character designs over and over. ^_^
The heroine of the first story is a school girl named Satsuki who is stuck taking care of a rather large family. It’s just Satsuki, her father, and her 5 younger siblings. As the oldest, Satsuki is like a mother to everyone- cooking, cleaning, shopping, taking them on outings, etc. The story begins one day at a park when Satsuki first meets KITAZAWA Minoru, a cute young photographer. He takes her photo at the park, and mistakes her as the mother of all her younger siblings. He is shocked that she is only 15 because she seems so mature. Satsuki is not too thrilled at this observation. Time passes, and Satsuki enters high school. She is surpried when she sees the photographer from the park that day give the student speech at their welcoming ceremony. They are classmates!
Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse when Satsuki’s father, who is the president of a tiny, 3-person company, tells her that he is out of business. Their biggest work contract with the Kitagawa Group has ended, and the company has no more work to do. Satsuki realizes that the Kitagawa Group is the same company that Minoru’s family owns, so she rushes away to ask him if he can get his family to help hers. When he coldly tells her there is nothing he can do, Satsuki is in shock. Things get even worse when her father tells her that because of their financial situation, she will have to quit high school. How can this happen?! Why is it always her that has to sacrifice for her family, doing all the work to support her younger siblings? Frustrated and angry, she runs away to a nearby park and lays down in the grass, staring up at the night sky and the sakura petals drifing off the nearby trees. What can she do, where can she go? A sound startles her, and she turns to see Minoru standing there, watching her….
The last story in the volume is about a middle-school girl named Kiku who is in love with her classmate. Unfortunately, he already has a girlfriend. Christmas is coming, and Kiku has a present for him, a pair of gloves, but she can’t bring herself to give them to him. He seems completely oblivious to Kiku’s affection. When Christmas passes, and Kiku still has the gloves, she realizes she needs to do something. They will be graduating soon…
This is such a cute volume. I love the cover!