Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Tramps Like Us Volume 2

The lead of this book Sumire Iwaya is one of the better rounded characters I've seen in manga so far. She is incredibly smart, beautiful,and capable at her job, but all the things that make her so great also make her life a rough one.

Her looks and ability means she has no friends at work, as out of jealousy her coworkers gossip about her. They have to try and cut her down to their level, since she is so different from them because of what she's accomplished in her life.

Her home life isn't much better, as her fiancé dumped her because he's intimidated by her; since she makes more money than he does and is much smarter than he is. He doesn't think he can measure up to her successes, despite her attempts to show he doesn't have to, so dumps her for someone more at his perceived level.

This leave Sumire lonely and insecure about herself, wondering why she doesn't seem to fit in. One night Sumire finds a young man sleeping in a box in front of her building. He's been kicked out of his apartment and has no place to go. So she takes him in as a sort of pet, naming him "Momo" after a dog she had when she was a teenager.

He needs a place to stay and is fascinated by her, so will take any role to be close to her. The second volume is shown from his perspective a lot, and we start to see why he accepted this seemingly demeaning role as a pet.

He has feelings for her that might even be love. Right now it is just a need to be something he sees Sumire needs, someone to talk to and care for so she knows that she's appreciated.

In this volume Sumire attempts to stop smoking at work among other things. Which has the usual wacky moments of frustration and irritation that these stories tend to. Yet the funniest part is the end where she quits quitting, because her coworkers jump to the wrong conclusions for why she s quitting smoking which leads to more personal problems.

When I read the first volume I thought the whole Momo and relationship stuff took away from the incredible work based story. Yet as I've read more that stuff has grown on me, while still having the incredible work based stuff as well.

The things Sumire experience were things I'd seen some of my female friends go through. Those who because they were so different than the stereotypical thought of role as women, were alienated (by both men and women) for only trying to be, and do the best, for themselves.

This was the first time I could really see things directly from their viewpoint, rather than just try and be as supportive as possible for them during it. Which allowed me to see things I hadn't exactly understood before.

I'm anxious to read volume 3 now to see where it goes from here, as the two continue to lean on each other to deal with a world where they don't quite fit.

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