Okaeri Aureole – Takamatsu Misaki
Bright and sociable Kazu and sober and serious Moto have been friends since they were kids. Even if they grew apart and became friends with different groups of people in high school, they still knew and understood each other well. However, Kazu slowly starts to become aware of Moto as more than just his friend…
Welcome Back, Aureole is your typical childhood friends to lovers story. Two kids growing up in the same neighborhood becoming close friends while one secretly develops more than friendly feeling towards the other. Girlfriends, confessions, rejections or simply because it’s natural between teenagesr, they slowly grow apart. In this case, all these things happened
The story opens with Kazu and Moto going out just as Moto turns 18. Then it flashes back to their younger days showing how Kazu’s feelings changed and how he was pining for his oblivious friend. The POV sometimes changes to Moto’s who took much longer to come to terms with his feelings. The closing chapters led things full circle. The two friends reminisce about happy memories and Moto finally holds Kazu’s hand.
The plot might be cliche, I liked how it still felt fresh. While not exactly putting a new spin on things, the mangaka still managed to turn it into a touching story that grips your heart. They were able to skillful deploy the non-linear style of storytelling to maximum effect.
I liked that the more extrovert of the pair fell in love first. I was also expecting something sweet and fluffy but this was angstier than expected. It even felt like it was leading towards heartbreak. Thankfully, it veered towards a happier direction as it led back to the present.
I loved how the artwork matched the mood of the story. The soft shades reminds me of the dreamy days of youth.
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