“Coming Together” – Tramps Like Us, Part 2 (manga) – 7/10 Tulips

Mangaka: Yayoi Ogawa

Genre: Romance/Slice-of-Life/Drama/Josei

Review Status: Complete (14 Volumes/14 Volumes)

Licensed: This manga was formerly licensed by Tokyopop

Art: It takes after a lot of Josei manga, with sketchier lines and more realistic art. Well, pretty-realistic, not Satoshi-Kon realistic. The guys tend to be bishies, and even the average women look rather cute.

Summary: Life was good for Sumire Iwaya… until the day she discovers her boyfriend is cheating on her, and she gets demoted at work and her life spirals toward the dumps. Things take a turn for the better when she crosses paths with Momo, a homeless guy with a colorful past who puts a bounce in her step and a shake in her hips. It takes two to tango, but when Sumire’s first love reappears in her life, will this be the last waltz? (back cover of 1st volume)

Review: When I left off, Sumire was getting ever closer to Hasumi, while being confused by the feelings she had for Momo. This side of the series, things start spiralling out of control as the people that were surrounding Sumire and Hasumi beginning to exert more pull over them. The relationship between Hasumi and Sumire was always one of tenuous bonds and the feelings of first love- at least on Sumire’s part. It can be hard to let those go, even if you know that you have to. But when the time is right, she shows a lot of backbone and ends things well, without a lot of drama. Her struggle to decide captures a struggle that a lot of women deal with, that crosses cultural barriers. How will people take to her being with a younger man? Will she keep working or become a stay-at-home wife? How can she balance her job and being the wife of a dance star, who can (and has) traveled all across the world? And, of course, how are kids going to fit into this equation? Watching her deal with the questions, being forced to make the decisions when she is such an indecisive person is an amazing thing. She really does think through her decisions to try and come up with what’s best for her and her future with Momo.

We also get more of Momo and Hasumi than we normally do- Momo’s relationships and feelings are brought to a forefront. He’s as held by the past as Sumire is at first, and he has trouble leaving her be and coming to her own decisions about her feelings. Make no mistake- he’s very much in love with her. But he also understand sthat she cannot be led to decisions because that will also make her unhappy. She needs to make them on her own. His struggle to let her find her own path is interesting- even if he’s pretty darn self-assured of what the result is going to be. Hasumi also gets to star in a few of his own chapters. He’s a good catch, and girls know it- including Sumire’s rival from the first half. She knows what Sumire has been up to behind his back, and is determined to be close to him- is really, truly in love with him, and that nearly destroys her. Hasumi never really felt like a good fit for Sumire, and that only becomes clearer as things go on. He’s guilt-ridden for what he keeps from her, and is unable to really and truly break through her barriers… and his marriage proposal only brings this to light in the most vicious of ways.

For all the drama that happens, this isn’t as tumultuous as it would seem. Actually, everything concerning their feelings and who they should be with feels like it’s falling into place. This may be because I knew how things were going to end up from the beginning (though there were still some things that took me by surprise), but I was more irritated and agitated by the first few volumes when everyone was tiptoeing around each other and being obivious. But it all falls together nicely, even dealing with Sumire’s family. That wasn’t the strongest point of the series – though it was utterly hilarious – because it seemed like it had been breezed through instead of really dealt with. Then again, in the anime world, babies seem to make everything alright. It all tied together quite well, though, and I enjoyed seeing how everything wraped up.

Overall, this was a pretty satisfying conclusion to a rather delightfully dramatic manga.

Recommended: 18+, and this will probably appeal more to women then men. There is sex implied, implied drug use and prostitution, partial nudity, some rather risque dialogue, and a little bit of language.

Other Titles You Might Enjoy:

NANA (anime or manga)

Hapi Mari (manga)

The One (Manhua)

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