Forget Me Not is a story about love, regrets, drama, and the decisions that shaped a young man. As always, we ask a simple question: Is it good?
Writer: Mag Hsu
Artist: Nao Emoto
Translator: Ko Ransom
Lettering: Evan Hayden
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Here’s the description for this volume and what is going down in it:
After an accident on his scooter, Yusuke Serizawa awakes to find himself in a hospital bed. The cause of the accident—the sight of a familiar face that distracted him. However, it turns out that the person who distracted him was also the person who called the ambulance for him, and whoever it was won’t reveal their identity. All Yusuke knows is that this person is a woman from his past—someone that he loved and possibly wronged. Now Yusuke must search his memories of the women in his life to discover the identity of his guardian angel. Will Yusuke be able to find the true identity of this woman and rekindle the flame of a past love or will this woman forever remain a mystery, lost to old memories?
If I had to describe the story and tone of Forget Me Not in one word after reading the first volume, it would be "complicated." Not in the sense that the narrative is complex or there are many layers to the story, but more in a human sense. This is a story about a young man’s life and his experiences with romance, all of which have ended poorly for one reason or another and the regrets that he has carried through his life, whether he should or shouldn’t given how everything played out.
The story itself is rather straightforward: Yusuke wakes from an accident after being saved by a girl from his past who knew him. Who is she? That’s what he wants to find out and from there, the story goes deep into his past and explores his personal connections with many different women throughout his short life. It’s an interesting, but easy to follow tale that becomes complicated on a character level, where things truly matter.
This story is about Yusuke Serizawa and his past, so almost everything regarding the plot and the character portion hangs on him. As a person, he’s not terrible, but he has had problems throughout his life with girls. Whether it be caused by peer pressure, his young age, miscommunication, or just not knowing how to handle a situation, he has wronged many women to varying degrees when he grew close to them. Some of them are forgivable; some less so. His actions and behaviors you can certainly understand given his age and clearly now that he is older, he’s not the same person anymore. However, his guilt and desire to make things right are constantly eating away at him, especially not knowing who this mysterious savior is in the first place, which is holding him back and keeping him in the past. It makes things far more complicated and what seems to be the driving goal for his character arc is to be able to accept what has happened and move forward (even our mysterious girl says almost the same thing). This is not a character that is exactly perfect, having done things that aren’t very good, but he’s also very fascinating to read about. He has many elements to him that I feel a lot of readers, no matter if you are a guy or girl, would understand and could relate to.
That day, a young boy discovered his new love that changed his life forever: the Twilight series.
The other big portion that’s supposed to hold this story together are the love interests that Yusuke had over the years. We never learn their names, at best just their nicknames, and all we have to go off of is their personality and connection with our lead, since everything is from his point of view. As characters, they are all kind of archetypes. The first and third girls, Nobuta and Hermès, are both very shy and withdrawn– Nobuta always reads by herself in the library and Hermès is a prep school teacher (young and still in college) who has trouble talking to her students. The second girl is your basic tsundere, who is rather aggressive and harsh, but with a very soft, sweet side to her. While I think their connections to Yusuke are interesting and there’s definite character growth on their part thanks to him (making the ultimate fallout even harsher), they are basically just character stereotypes we’ve seen done by a lot of other series out there. It doesn’t make them feel as real as they should, except for the first girl, whose story had a lot of punch and weight to it. Hopefully, we see more of them in the future and what they’re like now and not just the mystery girl that Yusuke is after. I feel doing so would give the series a stronger emotional element.
The writing was well handled for the most part. Yusuke’s characterization, whether you liked him or not, was extremely well done and very realistic. I could completely see a character existing like this and his relationships with each girl felt real as well, even with the more abusive second girl. The female leads need more work like I said and everyone else in the story is just a mere cog to move the plot forward for each mini story. They served their purpose, but had nothing else to offer, which was actually fine in the case of this particular narrative. The storytelling and flow worked pretty well, with the main story moving in and out of mini stories involving each girl. There were a few awkward transitions though when moving from scene to scene or when the story kicked off the second flashback. The dialogue and inner narration are fine as well, helping to build the romance and characterization within the story overall. There were many themes to this story about growing up, accepting the past, and learning and moving on from mistakes. They are all handled well so far and helped the story pack a bit more punch.
Please! I’ll just die if you read my Pokémon/Digimon crossover fan fiction!
The artwork by Nao Emoto is pretty solid. Its softer, lighter style works well with the type of story this is, bringing to life the tone and emotion of romance, bitter fallouts, and regrets. You feel a strong sense of connection, love, and heartbreak within all of these characters and during every scene thanks to the way things are angled in each panel and everyone’s looks and body language. The characters are all drawn very well and each distinct from one another, especially each of the girls (though some have similar facial features). The story layouts are put together well, with some really nice shots of powerful moments (like chapter 4), and everything is easy to follow along with. Overall, a great art choice to go along with a very emotionally strong, character-driven narrative.
Forget Me Not Vol. 1 is a complicated tale of young love, decisions that shatter it, and regrets that follow people throughout their lives. Are they able to move on, accept what they have done, and become a better person? Or do they remain stuck in the past, trying to seek forgiveness of a person who may have already moved on? Its main character is not a saint, but he is still human and his experiences may connect with many of us growing up. Despite its problems with the female characters, Forget Me Not is a strong, dramatic tale that is certainly worth your time seeing if one can truly overcome their own past.