24 ColorsMangaka: Chiba Kozue
Reviewed on Oct 7, 2011
The story: Coming to a new school, meeting a boy, having communication trouble with your crush... it's all the usual in shoujo-land, but "24 Colors" manages to do things with little drama.
Warm, simple, and cute—that's what Chiba Kozue's "24 Colors" wanted to be, and it succeeded. The plot is paper thin, characters fall into the usual shoujo cliches, but it doesn't hammer you with never-ending misunderstandings and vicious rivalries. Instead, it portrays the story of a first crush from the point of view of a (perhaps naive) young girl—nothing but sweet, happy emotions.
The manga is about Nanaka, a quiet, budding artist entering high school. She's never been good with people, but she's excited to join the arts club. On the first day she meets a boy with paint-stained clothes, and from there you can tell that this is the first couple. The boy happens to be in the arts club, yadda yadda. You know how this goes. It sounds predictable, and it is. The appeal, however, is that the manga never pretends to be more than it is, and it actually comes off as charming. It's fluff, pure and simple.
On the other hand, the story's stylistic "sweetness" is also its weakness. There are little to no conflict, no strong emotions evoked in the reader, and the characters can be difficult to relate to because of their idealistic niceness. Perhaps a bit more dimension to the characters (without using melodrama) would have made this a lot better.
As expected of one-volume shoujo works, the story moves too fast, characters fall in love too easily. But as I mentioned earlier, it's not obsessive, nor overly-serious love, it's a sweet kid's crush. So I suppose that made it easier for me to buy. The ending also managed to succeed in what other shoujo have tried to achieve with their flower-stamped final pages: make the reader go "awwwww!" If the characters were real I would have pinched their cheeks, seriously.
24 Colors is a nice read— probably not something I'd read more than once— but worth the time.