Chihaya-san wa Sonomama de Ii (Chihaya is Fine the way She is) follows the life of an average high school girl, Chihaya, who thinks she is overweight and wants to lose weight. Unfortunately, its impossible for her to keep her appetite in check, especially with his childhood friend, Shima constantly bombarding her with food. Can Chihaya resist her urge to eat and succeed in her diet?
This adorable little series starts off looking like a cute slice-of-life food manga, but slowly morphs into something more special.
On the surface, Chihaya-san is a simple series. We have the two main protagonists: Chihaya, a healthy highschool girl who is conscious of her weight, and Shima, an average guy with a crush on his childhood friend.
The series follows a conventional 4koma style, with “eating” as its punchline. It will start off with a vanilla 4koma slice-of-life, followed by a full page of Chihaya eating the “food of the chapter”. It doesn’t introduce the reader to any fancy food or give out cooking recipes, but the cast has great chemistry, and the shot of Chihaya eating are adorable.
At first, it seems like their relationship is fairly one-sided; Shima is quite aware of his attraction to Chihaya, while Chihaya is preoccupied in her pursuit to lose weight and it appears her feeling towards Shima is pretty platonic for now. Shima constantly tells Chihaya that she is “fine the way she is”, and encourages Chihaya to eat (even has a strange dislike towards slim girls). Although Chihaya finds solace in Shima’s words, she still insists that she needs to lose weight.
This back and forth between the two main cast is the main selling point of this series, and the story does an excellent job developing the bond and trust between the two through the events of their everyday life. While Shima starts off as the one trying to get out of the childhood-friend-zone and be seen as a romantic partner, we see a more interesting development happens as Chihaya becomes more away of her reliance on Shima and starts realizing the real reason she started wanting to lose weight.
Kuzushiro has been rising up as a very unique slice-of-life/romance mangaka. Moving away from her dark, yuri manga past, her recent works such as Renai Kowai (Love is Scary) or Ani no Yome to Kurashite Imasu (I am Living with my Brother’s Wife) have been excellent.
Kuzushiro does a great job staying away from your typical shounen cliche heroines, and add real personality to the female cast, whether its adding in an atypical quirk or giving them real-world problems that they are trying to cope in a serious manner. While most of her works revolves around standard school-life or slice-of-life setting, her strong characters and enjoyable art helps her work standout.
Chihaya-san wa Sonomama de Ii (千早さんはそのままでいい) [Manga]
- Author: Kuzushiro
- Genre: Food, School-life, Romance
- Serialized In:Jump SQ (Monthly)
- Status: Ongoing (Manga: ch.21+) | Scanlation: NONE