Koi Oto, by USAMI Maki

Koi Oto, by USAMI Maki Title: Koi Oto
Author: USAMI Maki
ISBN# 978-4-09-131345-4
Flower Comics, 2007

Awww, yeah!  I couldn’t resist! It’s another USAMI Maki title! What can I say, I really like this author! I expect I will eventually cover all of her titles on here. Her stories are so cute, and I enjoy her simple art style. This is the first volume of her new series, and it is a nice, non-smutty romance with a bit of mystery.

It all begins during MIMORI Ichigo’s final middle school summer vacation. She only has half a year left of middle school, and then she will move on to high school. Ichigo spends her summer visiting her grandmother’s house by the ocean and helping out in her family’s store there. One night while walking her grandmother’s dog, Ichigo meets an unusual boy. His name is Kouki, and he was walking along the beach alone, looking for a key that he lost. Their encounter is brief, and Ichigo doesn’t get a very good impression of Kouki after he teases her.

Naturally they meet again when Kouki and his cousin Taiga happen to go to the shop that Ichigo is helping out in. Taiga is confused that Ichigo and Kouki seem to know each other, and Ichigo gets confused when Kouki begs her not to tell Taiga that he was out alone at night. Ichigo can’t understand what the big deal is, but she complies. Over the next few days, Ichigo becomes good friends with Taiga and Kouki, but there is something strange going on between the cousins that she can’t figure out. Taiga seems very protective of Kouki, and doesn’t like the idea of him being out alone at night. This seems crazy to Ichigo, but she soon learns there may be a very good reason for Taiga’s concern.

Finally it is the night of a summer festival where there will be a great fireworks display. Ichigo thinks it would be great to watch the fireworks with Kouki, but Taiga refuses to let Kouki out at night. However, Kouki sneaks out and together he and Ichigo have a great time. However, something shocking happens after that, and Ichigo is forced to save Kouki. After some dramatic events, Ichigo feels very close to Kouki. But soon the summer must end and they all must go their separate ways. Ichigo vows to keep her memories of that summer forever.

Well of course the story doesn’t end there! Flash forward a few months and Ichigo is entering high school as a freshman. and GUESS who is a student there! Yes, it’s Kouki. Taiga is there too. But poor Ichigo… while she treasured her memory of that past summer, Kouki shocks her by asking her who she is! What? Both Kouki and Taiga claim to have no memory of her and ignore her claim of friendship. What is going on here? Are they telling the truth? How could they forget her? Why would they lie? Ichigo’s strange high school life is about to start!

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