Majime na Jikan (A Serious Time), by Seike Yukiko
seinen, supernatural, romance.
Manga recommendation time! I feel obliged to recommend this one because I just cried my eyes out over it.
Plot: Uemura Kazusa is a high-school girl who is unexpectedly killed in a car accident. Like all dead people in this story, she immediately becomes a ghost, and has to float around in the mortal realm for a while until her spirit can move on. She isn’t ready to achieve enlightenment just yet however, as she still feels bound to her family and friends, and particularly to the boy she had a crush on, Mitsuharu. Things get even more complicated for her when she finds out that Mitsuharu was in love with another girl, and that girl, Okabe Ranko, is the only one who can sense her presence! At first the story focuses on Kazusa dealing with her anger and resentment towards Okabe, but as the story progresses the focus shifts more towards Kazusa’s mom, who is deeply depressed after her daughter’s death.
Why you should read: Altogether this was just a really well-written manga with a positive message: death is inevitable, but that’s okay. I personally don’t buy into that, but even so, the story was very moving and was really able to convey what it meant to. After reading it I think most people would be left with a peaceful feeling, and perhaps feel a little more comfortable with the idea of dying. This manga was also excellent in how it was mainly lighthearted, but was still able to bring up more serious topics and tones and express them seriously and meaningfully.
Warnings: death/dying, mild horror warning for the evil spirits but nothing really scary, also mentions of child abuse.