A Girl on the Shore is a manga that I didn’t know that I needed. It’s a story about two youths, struggling with an oppressive ennui that leads them to become friends with benefits. This isn’t a love story by any means, as many that have ever entered in a true “no strings” friendship can probably attest to. It is about loneliness, selfishness, and the complexity of relationships.
“We just do it and do it, but I keep feeling like it’s not enough. Why do you think?”
I was surprised with how much I related to this manga, I was in a similar place for the better part of a year. We were friends, but not really, and then I quietly stepped out. I do not look at the experience positively or negatively, it was an experience that helped to soothe me, but also made me think about what I truly wanted.
This is the tone of A Girl on the Shore, as Koume deals with rejection after being used by a playboy, and Keisuke struggles with suicidal depression. The two start off as classmates as Keisuke initially tries to support Koume, conceding to her request to sleep together after she had rejected him.
This book depicts sex in a way that isn’t beautiful or stimulating at all. Two teenagers lost in the drama of youth, both characters selfish and eventually growing to resent each other, but needing the other at the same time. Both struggle with their desire for something more, something better in their lives. The characters grow and change emotionally, constantly dipping into self-destructive behavior. This is one of the most real pieces of fiction that I have ever read in my life because it speaks volumes about an emotional experience that often gets overly glamorized.
Warnings: sex between pre-teens, depression