Absolutely delightful light romance manga !

Say " I love you" - Kanae Hazuki

Tachibana Mei is a 16 year old girl who doesn't have any friends and she never had a boyfriend. She doesn't believe in friendship because so called friends always betrayed her and humiliated her.

"Mei: People betray each other all the time. And at school it's just a bunch of idiots who need someone to bully. I don't want to hang out with that kind of people. So I don't have friends.
Yamato: You can't say that everyone is like that.
Mei: Yes, everyone. They call your name when it suits them but when you call them they don't come"

One day at school Mei was being humiliated and harassed by Nakamishi as usual but he crossed the line when he tried to pull her skirt down. She turned and accidentally kicked his best friend, Yamato Kurosawa, instead. Despite being hurt and on the floor, Yamato laughed. He found her - interesting. And that's how it all started. Yamato gave Mei his phone number because he found her interesting and cute. Even though she didn't call him that night, he greeted her the next day. That evening, as Mei was leaving work, she noticed a regular customer at the bakery following her. She got scared and called her mom who didn't answer the phone. The only other number she had was Yamato's. She called him and he came. He helped her out by taking her hand and walking her out of the convenience store while saying that he loved her and then he kissed her. He kissed her for as long as it took the stalker to leave. Only when he saw her blushing did he realized that was her first kiss.

After that episode, Yamato decided that they were friends. Even Asami, Yamato's friend accepted Mei and even gave her a matching strap-on animal for her mobile phone. Asami was similar to Mei in a way that she was also being bullied. While Mei was bullied because she was quiet, weird and gloomy, Asami was bullied because she had big breasts. They called her the melon monster. Mei stepped in and defended Asami on one occasion which got her a big bruise on her face. One time, Nakamishi who bullied Mei and loved Asami tried to defend Asami also but all he did was made it worse by praising her huge breasts. When Mei explained to him what he did and how he should tell Asami his true feelings for her, Nakamishi and Asami got together. 

"Nakamishi: When talking to Asamicchi I get filled with a happy feeling. That light feeling she has or that she's kind for example. I feel good when I'm together with her. I want to watch her all the time."

"Nakamishi (to Asami): I like your smiling face and when you're glad about something, your gestures, your voice and such... It makes me feel happy to watch you through the day. I want to be the first one to see all of that."

Yamato liked Mei and it seems that she likes him back, especially so when he noticed her stalking him during the karaoke show. He confronted her and kissed her, repeatedly. After that, Yamato decided that they were dating now. And so they went on their first date which would be nice enough if not for the confrontation between Mei and Yamato's former girl with whom he slept with which she told Mei straight in the face, along with that she isn't good or pretty enough for Yamato. Yamato managed to calm Mei down and he told her about his past. Yamato's influence seems to work wonders on Mei because she said:


"I want to believe in people from now on. Even if it's little by little."

This manga has gone off to a great start. Likeable characters, beautiful art and very well explained background stories of characters. Which are not all shiny and happy. More like they are troubled. Bullying and humiliation, depression, complexes, inability to do what's right and going with the flow because that's easier than really fighting for something you believe in.

Mei is one of my favorite manga/anime characters so far. Just when you think you got her figured out, she does something unpredictable (note: PUSH). Just as I thought that Yamato was your typical unemotional playboy, he reveals his true feelings and his kindness for everyone.

The difference between anime and manga is slight, nothing major so far. One thing that really stands out is Nakanishi and his bullying of Mei which does not appear in anime as such. Here he is displayed like a boy I could never like. He humiliated others and does pranks that hurt others. In anime he is more of a nice guy who is always in Yamato's shadow. Also, in anime Asami doesn't slap Nakanishi for his wrongful behavior.