The Stories of Those Around Me (2012) – A Not-so-common Manhwa

Simplicity can beat everything and “The Stories of Those Around Me” is one of the proof. The storyline is just simple. It’s about romance. Take “Pulp Fiction” and the Before trilogy commenced into one, you have so many plots but it’s just about simplicity and romance. Yet, in terms of the story, it’s, in fact, quite complex when talking about feelings and perspectives. But, this manhwa caught up when I read it written by Omyo. Definitely, this is one of the best romance manhwas since “Orange Marmalade” and “Cheese in the Trap”.

Simply put, the story takes in three main characters perspective through their daily lives, hangs out together, but has conflicts from their respective. But, this isn’t a cliché story, mostly, because it takes several struggles and reality in it. I always love how the characters in this manhwa respond to each other, whether the author describes it beautifully yet also real. There is a character in-between and it follows these characters from one another, to one from another story. There is a transition, even though we got a lot of stories besides our three main characters, definitely another pretty part.

Their stories separate from one to another, following along with their togetherness but there is also a low-key tone when they hang out together in a room or cafe. After the exposition, they actually don’t interact with each other. They only tell how their stories from their perspective are interconnected. Just like the title, it’s about the stories of those around them. All three heroines are adult and ideal, with their own romantic stories, they are all interesting. They are Jun-A, Mira, and Summer.

Characters take your normal tropes just like you can find in other media including anime. Yet, they have a story to tell. Jun-A is probably one of the most sadness stories between the three characters. She must be able to maintain a bond between her boyfriend after five years of dating. But, there is something odd between them which is a long-dead relationship. Mira is one of the beautiful stories in my opinion. After colliding with love at first sight, she began developing a feeling after not dating for a long time. And finally, Summer as one of the dynamics at this point. Although it doesn’t give too much on her story, she seems like the most important in terms of development. She must be able to protect and lock his feelings deeply after having one of his coworkers.

You could just say, this is a classic shoujo manga. But, the author does her best in building and developing all stories and characters. The art is just cute but its simplicity makes it even better. You not only recognize how character designs talk to each other but also narrate. But, you can distinguish how the dialogue between them express much emotion just through visuals. One problem was the ballon text, hard to distinguish at first because we don’t know who was talking. But, this problem actually exists at the beginning of the first chapters so it doesn’t matter through the story. The art is cute and I really love at the end of each chapter, there is an illustration even though the design characters are so chibi.

“The Stories of Those Around Me” is not a romance for everyone and really hard to stay focused but this is just one of the best. It tells about struggles and happiness, loss, memories, heartwarming stories, and friendship. It’s a pleasant spectacle and recommendation. But, you also don’t need to think that this is just a shoujo manhwa or manga. It’s just more than what you have thought. So, if you really are a fan of a cute girl, cute boy, and cuteness, then this is for you. There is so much suspense and twist in every one of those stories even though this is a romance.

4 out of 5 stars.