Review #66: Seven Days (manga)

Hello, viewers. Thank you for joining me. I’ve made it no secret that I’m not a huge
fan of romance. I think it would be pretty easy to say some
genres aren’t for everyone and just move on– and I’m sure I have in the past. But this is something I’ve spent quite a lot
of time thinking about. It’s possible some of it is because I tend
to be drawn in by the types of shows where they’ll shoehorn in a romance by the end–
because apparently the story can’t be complete without one– but the love story was never
the focus, so it isn’t handled very well. But on the other side of things, whenever
I do look into stories where the romance is the main focus… So many of the plots just sound really dumb. Like, the catalyst that makes our love interests
aware of each other feels really forced, and the more drama there is just for the sake
of drama– another thing I’ve come to view as being a staple of the romance genre– the
quicker I lose patience with a story. I’m sure you know what I mean: the really
simple or dumb miscommunications that snowball into bigger problems and that could have been
avoided if the two could just get over themselves and be honest with each other… I think that’s the earliest any review of
mine has ever devolved into ranting… Anyway, we’re here today because every once
in a while, I’ll find a romance story that I really enjoy and which encourages me to
go looking for more. Most recently, it was Toradora, which doesn’t
have a ton in common with this series, but with both, I felt like the thing that brings
the characters together was very simple but very interesting. And quickly turned into something a lot deeper. Seven Days introduces us to Yuzuru Shino,
who’s just been dumped by his most recent girlfriend. When our story starts, he’s musing on appearances. His ex-girlfriend broke things off on the
note that he “wasn’t the kind of person she thought he was.” And we’re given the impression this isn’t
the first time this has happened to him. Apparently, he has the kind of pretty face
that makes people think he must be really sweet and thoughtful. But then they get to know him, and in reality,
Yuzuru is really blunt and insensitive. Carefree in an unsympathetic sort of way. This makes him a very genuine person, at least,
but we’ll come back to that. Seven Days was really good at dropping in
little details that helped to flesh out the story and world. (A good thing, considering that the whole
thing takes place over the course of just two volumes and 13 chapters.) Yuzuru attends a very wealthy private school–
he’s there on an archery scholarship– that only became co-ed recently. The middle school is still an all-girls school,
so we’re given this view of a lot of his female classmates as being sheltered rich girls with
Disney-princess-style expectations for the boys they date. This might explain a little about the troubles
with his own dating history, but I think it was really meant to set up– and justify–
the bigger story here. Yuzuru’s conversation with his friends soon
turns to the rumors surrounding one of the younger students. Touji Seryou has a reputation for agreeing
to go out with the first girl to ask him every Monday morning, with the catch that he breaks
up with them all by Sunday night. And yet, no one seems to have a bad word to
say about him. In fact, the girls in this school are almost
literally lining up to be his girlfriend for the week. Touji is also in the archery club, so there’s
a connection between our main characters already, but barely, as they’ve both mostly stopped
going by this point, and they’ve never spoken. It does set up a familiarity between them,
though, and Touji’s reputation is already on Yuzuru’s mind when the two find themselves
alone out in front of the school one Monday morning. When he hears that none of the girls have
gotten to him yet this week, Yuzuru jokingly asks Touji to go out with him, but Touji takes
him seriously, and so we have our story. Seven Days is a lot about assumptions and
miscommunications, actually. And I know I started this review off talking
about how much I hate to see that in love stories, but it’s not done just to add drama here. The way I saw it, there was the main story
of whether or not the boys would fall in love before the week was over, but they each had
their own background stories too, analyzing the ways they thought about love. And each other. Because Touji is not at all what you might
expect from someone with his history. He’s certainly not the arrogant, cold playboy
that I was kind of expecting. Instead, he’s kind and easygoing and almost
childlike, honestly. He really is looking to fall in love and believes
that if it doesn’t happen over the course of a week, then the person he’s with must
not be ‘the one’. I described the girls as having Disney-style
expectations, but Touji is probably the worst offender, actually. Their week starts out slow: with the two just
getting to know each other between classes or on their train rides home or during archery
practice, which Yuzuru encourages Touji to go back to. Yuzuru was pretty straightforward. What you learn about him early on is really
just emphasized over the course of the week. And I liked his bluntness just fine. But Touji got more and more interesting with
every new little thing that we learn about him. And the point of view switches between the
two throughout, so the readers do get a chance to really get into both of their heads. There are a only a few things that seem to
really bother Touji. One is hearing people throw around words like
‘love’ too casually, diminishing their importance. And the other is any time he starts to suspect that
Yuzuru isn’t taking their relationship seriously. This one was probably the biggest hurdle the
two have to overcome, and it’s where the miscommunication really comes in, because Yuzuru thinks Touji
is the one playing a game here. It takes him a while to realize these weeklong
relationships are taking place with a serious goal in mind. But Touji is openly disappointed whenever
Yuzuru mentions anything about their time together having a weeklong limit, like it’s
already been decided. It gave them a very interesting dynamic…
that I probably would have lost patience with in a lot of other stories. It could have very easily fallen down that
hole of being drama just for the sake of drama, but Yuzuru’s carefree personality made it
work. They’re both pretty easygoing, so having this
deadline hanging over them didn’t make things as tense between them as it might have with
another couple. Not until the very end, at least, when they
need to confront this deadline and make a decision about it, one way or the other. But it was fitting at that stage. The stakes needed to be raised a little, or
it wouldn’t have felt like they had anything worth losing. Overall, I felt like their understanding of
each other, and their feelings towards each other, was paced very well. There was one other big hurdle that came with
dating Touji– one that only Yuzuru ever got to see. Early on, Touji requests to start using Yuzuru’s
given name from the get-go. Something that wouldn’t typically be appropriate,
culturally, given Yuzuru’s an upperclassman that he doesn’t know very well. Yuzuru, of course, isn’t the type of person
to be bothered by this sort of formality, but Touji explains that he shares his surname with
a girl who dumped him in the past, and you can tell this Shino is the one previous relationship
that really matters. Likely the one who started him on this journey
to find true love in a week, though I don’t believe that was ever confirmed outright. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it a
traumatic past, but you can clearly see that it’s had a huge effect on Touji. We meet Shino later on in the series, and
I could definitely see how she might have shaped a lot of his beliefs and goals. Shino comes across as being really… flighty. Definitely one of those people who throws
around words like ‘love’ and ‘hate’ too casually. So I can only imagine she tossed him aside
just as easily. And clearly, he really cared for her. Something that would have been troubling for
him anyway, as she was cheating on his brother to be with him. In present time, he’s convinced her to get
back with his brother, but it doesn’t stop her from calling and texting and flirting
with him all the time. The whole situation’s just a mess, and I can
understand how it might have messed him up a little. But it disappointed me to see that they don’t
really address it– not past Yuzuru getting upset when he realizes she might still have
her hooks in him, anyway. By that point, the week’s almost over, and
he’s starting to accept that he actually has feelings for this boy, and it’s the start
of that final climax. As a whole, I really liked Seven Days, but
it definitely left me wanting something more. I’m not going to walk you step-by-step through
their week. It is something I encourage you to experience
firsthand. But I doubt any of you would be surprised
to hear they do stay together at the end. After Sunday, the epilogue skips ahead to
Yuzuru getting ready for his graduation. And it was nice to see that they’re clearly
still very happy together, but I can’t help feeling like there was a whole story between
these two points that wasn’t told. Seven Days felt almost like the story before
the story. Like, the trial run before their relationship
really starts. I really wanted to see Touji’s views on love
being challenged, because I think a lot of his expectations are unhealthy. We see a little throughout. He, too, was mislead by Yuzuru’s appearance
but was pleasantly surprised when he didn’t turn out to be quite the person he’d expected. Which is something you could tell really moved
Yuzuru, who’s used to being rejected for it. I think that’s where his genuineness really
comes back in and shines, because Touji has gotten used to these girls who are just playing
out a fantasy for a week with their personal prince charming. Touji basically just follows them around and
does whatever they want. Yuzuru is the first one to really show an
interest in his interests, and I’m sure he really appreciated his blunt honesty, even
if he is a little insensitive at times. But we were definitely missing a scene where
they learned some sort of life lesson from these experiences, and the effect Shino had
on Touji is left really open-ended. Maybe we’re supposed to believe that it’s
not relevant anymore, now that he’s fallen in love with someone else. But I don’t buy that. She’s just had too much of an impact on the
way he views the world, and you can’t tell me that’s not going to be relevant to his
new relationship. All in all, I really enjoyed Seven Days. I liked both of the main characters, and found
the premise as well as their personal struggles to be really interesting. The love story was equal parts sweet and moving. Nothing about it felt forced. It had its flaws, but if you think about it,
my main complaint is really that it just wasn’t long enough. Which is sort of a compliment in itself. I definitely recommend you read it, if you
haven’t already. Thank you for watching!

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