Sweets play a huge part in the new manga series Something’s Wrong With Us. Not only is the plot centered around characters making wagashi, traditional Japanese confections, but the feelings that sweets often generate within a person. Candy is not healthy, but it is tasty, alluring, and so tempting that you just have to take a bite—and then you desire more. That’s the feeling author Natsumi Ando, who previously wrote Arisa, wants this book to leave on the audience, and whether it’s successful will depend on how much you enjoy melodrama.
The story begins with a childhood memory: Our main heroine Noa and her mother moving to a new job at a famous wagashi company. There she meets Tsubaki, a kind boy whose father owns the company. They quickly bond and become close friends. Things are going great, but this is a melodrama, so something dramatic must happen! The drama appears when Noa walks in on a murder scene. Tsubaki is staring down at the corpse of his father, covered in blood. Tsubaki claims he saw the murderer: Nao‘s mother! She was sent to jail, leaving Noa an orphan.
Flash forward to present day: Noa, now 21 years old, is hard at work trying to break into the wagashi industry, but the trauma of that murder left her unable to handle the color red, which is super important when filling out customer orders. After getting fired from her apprenticeship, she receives a letter from her mother, stating that she is, in fact, not the murderer! Noa must discover the truth behind the murder.
She is given a lifeline when her friend offers her to make sweets for her wedding. But Noa will have to compete against a rival wagashi maker: none other than Tsubaki himself!
I didn’t really think sweet-making could be so competitive, but I was dead wrong. Tsubaki and Nao put as much meaning and effort into making candy as Van Gogh did in his paintings. Candy-making is an art form, and Nao and Tsubaki’s competition clearly shows that. Food Wars may be all about flashy action, but here the “duels” are very intimate. After the duel, things yet again take a turn for the dramatic when Tsubaki asks Nao to marry him out of the blue! Whatever will Nao do!?!?
Things get crazier from there as Nao and the reader are transported into the world of high-class Japan. This manga heavily leans into the allure of the life of the rich, and the many traditions force characters to give subtext to every word they say and every action they take. It gives each situation a high-strung atmosphere, and whenever Nao and Tsubaki try to cut through it, their actions create even more tension.
Something’s Wrong With Us, while melodramatic, sets up an interesting murder-mystery hook that kept me interested through the whole first volume. I also learned more about Japanese culture than I expected, which is always welcome. If you are looking for a spicy romance thriller, Something’s Wrong With Us is the perfect snack.
Nao has followed in her mother’s footsteps to become a traditional Japanese sweets maker. Even at 21, her skills are unparalleled, landing her a spot at a world-class confectionery company. However, when she meets the young, handsome heir to the company, she recognizes Tsubaki: her first friend, and the same boy who framed her mother for murder over a decade ago. As the only witness to the crime, Nao seizes her chance to get close to him, but instead of finding answers, she falls deeper for Tsubaki’s allure…Add to CartLearn More