I received a digital advanced reviewer copy of SCRAMBLUES by mame march from Tokyopop.
On the surface, it may appear that a musical prodigy and an average designer wouldn’t have anything in common. One expresses himself through music while the other expresses others through art. But when the two end up working together, it seems they have more in common than they both think.
SCRAMBLUES is the debut manga by mame march and has been published by Tokyopop in the US. mame march is a manga artist and a designer, who has solo exhibits, works on maganize designs, and more. I learned that mame march was a designer and artist after reading SCRAMBLUES and in hindsight, it makes perfect sense seeing how much of the designer perspective is embedded in the story.
Haru is a designer who seems a bit down on his luck. His designs at work aren’t hitting the mark and his coworker’s designs are being picked instead. When the opportunity arises for Haru to lead the design for a musical artist, he jumps at the chance.
The artist in question is Eddie Astley, a musical prodigy. As the name suggests, Eddie was born in London and moved to Japan in his childhood. He grew to fame working on a soundtrack for a movie and now it’s time for his debut album to come out.
Almost immediately Haru’s design is shot down pretty harshly by Eddie. Haru, being one to just keep moving forward, ends up going to a show to see his favorite band, Roze. During the show, Eddie Astley ends up performing with the band as a special guest.
After this chance encounter, Haru and Eddie have a chance to talk more and Eddie is determined to give Haru a real shot. Through spending more time together, Haru discovers he may have more in common with Eddie than he thinks and starts seeing him in a different light. The two grow closer in ways they didn’t see coming.
What Makes This Special
As someone who considers herself a “creative,” I identified so much with the perspectives shared by both Haru and Eddie. On one hand, you have Haru who really works hard at what he does. In his past, we see he could have gone down a different path but due to an injury was not able to. He since decided to move forward with being a designer, even if he has to work very hard at it.
On the other hand, Eddie, is a musical prodigy. While music doesn’t necessary “come easy” to him, it’s all he has known since childhood. However, being a prodigy, part of that was forced upon him and he was not able to take the reins and pursue music how he wanted to.
The progression of the relationship is another great part of this story. While it definitely does get romantic, I would consider it a slow burn to a point. It definitely takes a back seat to the bigger themes of finding your purpose and creativy. I think mame march did a wonderful job of making a romance story where you want the leads to end up together, but first you want them to have their own breakthroughs.
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