Nostalgia can be a powerful feeling. Sometimes it’s the little things that cause each of us to stop what we’re doing and reflect upon the memories of our younger years, a time when we saw the world as a big place waiting for us to leave our mark. Starry Sky is a manga about memories, specifically those of Tsukiko Yashisa. As a teenager, Tsukiko’s interests leaned so heavily towards astronomy that she decided to enroll in an all-boys high school because it offered the best program. Starry Sky begins with Tsukiko continuing her studies at a university where she receives an email from an old high school friend. From there, the book sends the reader back several years and presents a glimpse of her life as a student at Seigetsu Academy.
Starry Sky really doesn’t offer anything wholly new to the genre. Putting Tsukiko into an exclusively male society is a novel twist, but by the end of the book it becomes difficult to truly differentiate it from other high school stories. There’s very little conflict in the volume and, despite being in an all boy’s school, she gets along with everyone and doesn’t have to put up with ruffians or sexual deviants (the opening story does feature an overzealous childhood love, but that’s as bad as it gets for her). Tsukiko’s relationship with her friends creates strong, emotional bonds, and while there are numerous romantic overtones, no one actually carries through with their feelings. By the end of the first volume, there’s a sense of “now all the players are in place,” and later books could very well feature attempts to woo Tsukiko. But for now, the reader can bask in the work’s innocence. Digital Manga Publishing gives the book a 16+ rating, but as there is no offending content in this volume, I don’t see why younger readers should be barred from experiencing it.
Starry Sky is what it is: a manga about high school students told from the perspective of its only female student. It’s light, airy and presents many scenarios that avid manga readers will already be familiar with. Interestingly enough, the manga is a print adaptation of a popular dating sim (Editor’s Note: a video game where players date different characters in an attempt to find romance). However, readers are not required to have played it in order to enjoy the work. The first volume does everything a first book should: set up the scenario and establish characters. There really isn’t much to it and, while it won’t likely dazzle readers, Starry Sky is a simple, uncomplicated, and fun read.