Living away from home, a young girl is all but ready to throw away the mementoes of growing up…until a mysterious yet familiar young boy appears to show her that one doesn’t always need to put away childish things. The daughter of a yakuza family is set to marry the head of an opposing clan, but she knows she isn’t yet ready to say goodbye to the boy she likes. A half-witch named Shalala dreams of becoming as powerful as her peers by gaining the teardrops of a human boy, but will her chosen man ever cry. And in a future where advanced robots can pass as humans, a mysterious old woman chooses to spend what may be her final days with two of her creations. In each of these four one-shot stories, a unique relationship is showcased, but will the protagonists realise just what is important to them?
A collection of one shot stories by Yumeka Sumomo, Natsukashi Machi no Rozione takes a break from the mangaka’s usual predilection for yaoi and shounen-ai to focus on a more varied range of relationships, from the platonic to the romantic. It’s thanks to these different dynamics, and the imaginative range of settings they are placed in, that Rozione manages to avoid the usual fate of one shot chapters- that of reading what is effectively the same story over and over. Instead, each story is interesting and refreshingly unique, but sadly, it is also far from perfect. It may simply be due to the quality of translation, but there are often points where the stories feel rushed and unclear, leaving the reader to fill in the gaps and figure out what happened. The second story is the least affected by this, and together with the first tale makes for the most self-contained and coherent instalments, but the last two chapters feel more like fragments from what could and perhaps should have been a more in depth exploration of their respective worlds.
When it comes to the artwork, however, there are no such qualms. The character designs are absorbingly beautiful, with a light and almost feathery feel that ensures that the eye would be drawn to the page even the story made no sense whatsoever. Backgrounds are often nonexistent, but are solid where they appear, and complement the characters well without overshadowing them.
For something I randomly chose to investigate, Natsukashi Machi no Rozione turned out to be reasonably enjoyable, but where the artwork was beautiful and the basic settings were interesting, flaws in the execution ensured that it just did not come together as well as it could have. It’s worthy enough as a quick read, but there are plenty of better series out there that you should investigate first.