Attention: this review is about a novel which may not be recommended to people under 14 years old of age. If you dislike anything that may involve incest
“Sangatsu, Nanoka.” is a 2004 fictional light novel written by Morihashi Bingo and illustrated by Sera Shinya. Bingo is not a very well known author. Some of his novel works include Devil May Cry(novel) and Pulp series. Sera Shinya is not too well known as well, but his most famous art work is probably with Digimon Adventure series. Sangatsu Nanoka consists of two books: “Sangatsu, Nanoka.” and “Sangatsu, Nanoka~the story after”.
” Sangatsu Nanoka” means “March (the) Seventh”. Sangatsu is the name of the male protagnist and Nanoka of the female protagonist. 3/7 represents the date which their parents made a promise on the high school graduation ceremony. The story of 3/7 surrounds with how the two separated siblings, Sangatsu and Nanoka, discover their common past about their parents and how the come to a reunion. Through the story Sangatsu and Nanoka eventually develop a relationship with each other, which builds up further tensions and conflicts…
(spoilers may be included below…)
Nanoka as one of the two protagonists in the story is much more relatable in contrast to Sangatsu. Brought up by her father alone(whereas Sangatsu with his mother), mother love is definitely missed out in her life. The death of Nanoka’s father as a cost to save Nanoka from a train when she was a child results in deep guilt in her mind. In the beginning of the story Nanoka is transferred to normal campus Sangatsu’s school. Sangatsu is pretty much the star in the academic challenge campus, thus Nanoka secretly admires him ever since the start. Her feeling for Sangatsu soon become an affection, until they discover the fact that they are actually siblings. This is tragic to their potential relationship. Sangatsu is also deeply in love with Nanoka, and there happens to be an internal conflict when he realizes that his feeling for her cannot be easily converted. Nanoka seems to be accepting the fact that they cannot love each other the way they first wanted. At this point there is a shift where we can observe that each protagonist shows a different response when they are forced to make a decision. Both of them are heartbroken for sure, but Nanoka becomes the one adapts to conflicts well while Sangatsu does not, despite his perfectionist character. Later on, the presence of Eiji Akasaka(who also has a feeling for Nanoka) will change Nanoka even further. Eiji does not appear until the second volume of the story, but he is a very interesting character who seems to be very similar to Sangatsu. He also has a problem in dealing with incest, except that he has a feeling for his stepmother, which is kind of awkward…
Sangatsu is the model as a perfect student. He is the class rep, the student council president, and he always has to top marks in his grade. Though the absence of his father in his childhood, there has always been an empty spot inside in his heart. While trying to be at least looking strong enough to not make his mother worry about him, Sangatsu puts on a “perfectionist” mask which build up the quality during his initial characterization. However, if one takes away his mask, he is just an ordinary boy who has all the concerns and fear. The presence of Maki best revealed this aspect of his. Maki is a girl in Sangatsu’s class who has nearly the complete opposite character comparing to Sangatsu. She is the type of person who is not afraid to act upon her own instinct and desire, neither showing them to others. The most profound significance of Maki is that she is able to look through Sangatsu’s fake mask and recognizes his true personality rather than the acted one. Maki is obviously in love with Sangatsu, revealed by her exaggerated actions in attempt to pursue him. On the ohter hand, Sangatsu treats her like a untimed bomb for the most part. Sangatsu eventually discover the importance of Maki to him, after he undergoes a change in his feeling towards Nanoka, which transforms from an Eros(love of romance) to Storge(love for family members/siblings). In the end Maki is finally accepted by Sangatsu, who almost seems to be just using Maki ever since the initial incident. As a reader, I really appreciate this part as for the story’s conclusion, because Maki proves that any hard work and effort put would not go into waste, no matter it’s for love or anything else in our lives.
The major conflicts took place at the characters’ own mind sets intra-personally. Nanoka lacks self confidence and Sangetsu has trouble dealing with his feeling for Nanoka which contradicts ethics. The emotion described in this novel is very deep and touching, even though we might not have any similar experience comparing to the characters in the story. Empathy can still be developed as we see through their thoughts along each of their personal journeys.
…Anyway, a very good novel to read! You will definitely enjoy.
Character Development: 5/5