“My Eyes” – Eien no With (manga) – 10/10 Belleflowers

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.  ~From a headstone in Ireland

Mangaka: Saya Miyauchi

Genre: Slice-of-Life/Drama

Review Status: Complete (1 Volume/1 Volume)

Licensed: No, this manga is not licensed in the US.

Art: This has a more sketch-like feel than other manga. The dogs are very well-depicted, very realistic, but the people tend to be in a more typical manga style.

Summary: Hitomi has always felt lonely, having had to move from place to place because of her father’s job. One day at school, someone comes in to talk about raising guide dogs, and she volunteers for it. But one day, she has to give him up…

Review: I admit it, I’m a bit jaded about dog stories. I’ve had to read enough of them growing up, from Where The Red Fern Grows, to Old Yeller, to Julie of the Wolves and Sont Fox, that I come into these expecting a certain type of ending (and if you know anything about these books, so do you!). So it takes something special to get to me these days, and Eien no With did it!

Hitomi wants nothing more than friends, but having moved around so much, she has never really been able to make them. She’s shy, doesn’t know how to approach the others, so jumps on the chance to get a dog. The system seems perfect – since she and her family will only be living in the area for two years, and they don’t know where they would be living after that, the one-year program to raise and socialize the dog fits their family. The dog she takes on is the runt of the litter, afraid of the others and not really feeding. She takes on a lot of responsibility to raise Eye, really pushing herself to be the best friend she can be.

It’s rewarding to see that she is rewarded for her persistance in finding that this opens up friendship venues… a mixed blessing, because she has to learn how to balance friends with her pet. Eien is very much everydog, loving her unconditionally, waiting for her when she doesn’t come home, and still wanting to be her best friend. Watching them have to part at the end of the chapter was heartbreaking because their bond felt as real as any I’ve ever seen.

This also makes the next two chapters especially heartbreaking. Eien eventually must retire, and Hitomi has to deal with the knowledge that he was someone else’s beloved companion for a long time. She doesn’t understand how they could bond and how she could be forgotten so easily, and when she loved Eiein so deeply it’s easily to understand. Regardless, they share one thing: a love for Eien. Watching the bond between the new and old owners grow and blossom into something more was incredibly well-done and really felt like it happened naturally, and so seeing them rejoice and take comfort in each other when it becomes clear that Eien is at the end of his life – no matter how hard they fought for him – brought a few tears to my eye.

Eien reaches an end that a good number of dogs do, but he really made a lasting impression in his owners, and seeing that change really was wonderful. Eien’s portrayal was also top-notch and something that made me hope for him as much as the characters did. It is a great story, and a unique one on the way it deals with the issues of blindness and working dogs, so I really respect this manga for doing something different with the dog-story that I normally read.

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how this was written. It’s top-notch.

Recommended: Any age. There’s nothing objectionable in here, and many families have had to teach their kids about euthanizing a pet.

Other Titles You Might Enjoy:

Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan (manga)

Deep Love – Pao no Monogatari (manga)

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