Random Manga Theatre 4: Taiyou no Uta
Hit the “Random” button and see what comes up! In this feature, we take a look at whatever manga the Random Number God decides to throw at us and find out if it’s worth your time.
This time: Taiyou no Uta, adaptation of a movie with art by Minatsuki Tsunami and scenario by Bandou Kenji
A young girl named Kaoru has the rare disease xeroderma pigmentosum, making exposure to sunlight fatal and dooming her to die young. To cope, she goes out every night to sing and play her guitar, and ends up sparking a romance with a surfer who goes to school with her cousin.
Just from that premise, you can probably predict how this entire story goes down, and you’d almost certainly be right. It’s a fairly low-key romance, and it all follows the paths you’d expect. An interesting point is that at first I thought it was a fake disease used for dramatic effect, but XP is a real condition that is also more common in Japanese people than anyone else.
Kaoru sleeps during the day and sits in her room until sundown. Every day she sees the same surfer wait at the bus stop just outside her house, thinks about how great it would be to actually meet him, and pines about how that is an impossibility due to her disease. She asks her cousin about him and his hobbies, and at nighttime retraces his steps along the sidewalk. But, in typical fashion, they manage to meet by chance one evening, and hit it off.
And so Kaoru gets to experience herself a bittersweet romance, a blessing among blessings considering the fact that she is terminally ill. She meets her boyfriend in the evening hours and in the safety of her home, and he takes her to other towns for her to play her guitar – since it’s the only thing she’s been doing for so many years, she’s exceptionally good at it. The last plot arc of the story has her boyfriend and family scrounging up enough money to get her a record deal before she dies. In fact, the song she composes for most of the series is still the biggest hit of the idol who played Kaoru in the original film.
It’s short, as well – understandably so, since it’s adapting a film – only four chapters long. It tells the story it wants to, and then ends when necessary.
If you like shoujo manga or are just looking for a quick romance to get you through the day, then you might as well check this one out. There are far worse uses of your time, like you may have noticed during last week’s Random Manga Theatre…