Yumi to Kurumi is a completed one volume manga by Uruhiko. The story focuses on office worker Yumi, who struggles in her fast paced work environment and lacks confidence in her own abilities and self. After a particularly hard day at the office, Yumi comes across as discarded doll. It’s an immediate connection and she decides to take it home and care for it. The doll, named Kurumi, becomes a catalyst for Yumi’s change. She reconnects with her past passions, learns to love herself and connect with others.
Despite this manga being so short, it’s one that has a special place in my heart. The everyday frustrations that Yumi faces are all too relatable. I remember reading one chapter where she had an awful day at work after my own horrible work day, and just tearing up. I felt like I was crying with the character. But just as I cried with her, I felt her triumphs and successes. Her character arc is almost cathartic. The reader can’t help but cheer her on as she continues to grow and overcome each hurdle. Each step, no matter how small, is a victory. I also really loved the art style, it was clear and striking, perfectly suited to the story.
My only complaint for this series that I desperately wish for it to be longer. The manga volume focuses on about a week of Kurumi’s life, and the last chapter is a time skip where we can see how she’s truly blossomed. While I’m glad she gained her happily ever after, I would have loved to have seen her transformation more. I wanted scenes of her standing up for herself at work and trying new things out of her comfort zone. But, more than anything, I wanted her to learn more about her female work colleagues’ own struggles. Throughout the series she has quite a bitter view towards them – ‘they’re pretty so they have life easy’. It’s clear this view is anchored in her own self-loafing, and I would have loved for it to be challenged. Instead, she just was kinda cordial with everyone at the end. If there was a scene, no matter how small, of her connecting to these women as people it would have been a truly powerful moment.
I can’t help but adore this series. It’s a soft and relaxing read that tugs on the heart strings. It may not appeal to everyone, there’s no great declarations of love nor epic battles. But it’s just as memorable and impactful. It’s a look at life and having the strength to open yourself and heart up to others. I’m sure I’ll be reading this story again and again over the years, and I don’t doubt that each time I’ll be just as emotional.