If you only want to read the short version of this review, let me ask you this: do you like simple and cute things? If so, then this manga will probably appeal to you. I’m grateful that I’m reviewing the first two volumes of this series instead of just the first one because, unfortunately, there’s only so much you can say with a setup like this. There aren’t any clever tricks or subversions here. Ironically, what you see is what you get.
The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses follows young students who sit next to each other in the back of their classroom, with one of them having incredibly bad eyesight. When Mie forgets her glasses, she relies on her neighbor Komura to get through the day – from going over notes to being transported from one place to another. This setup allows Mie to gradually see Komura in a much more dependable light as Komura struggles to make the best of the situation, being a kind pillar of support.
I don’t want to downplay the number of endearing moments present in these volumes. Komura gradually solidifies his desire to be someone who can always be there for Mie, which is nice and feels like something a kid with a crush would do. He even goes so far as to say that he needs to earn a stable income in the future to make up for all of the glasses that Mie breaks. Those parts are probably my favorite, if I’m being honest, as he’s just a kind-hearted soul who’s trying his best to ensure that the girl of his dreams doesn’t fall into a ditch by accident somewhere. However, because most of what we see is through his perspective, Mie is sidelined on many things. Considering that her lack of perspective is one of the central focuses of the book, it is a little disappointing that we don’t get to see more of her side of things (I promise I’m not making these puns on purpose).
That’s not to say that there isn’t any development going on, as Mie appears to realize her feelings for Komura by volume two. It comes off as a situation where she does like him but hasn’t fully realized it yet, as she’s already using so much brain power just to get through the day when she forgets her glasses (which happens quite frequently, I might add). One of the only frustrating aspects of the book is how unrealistic it is that a girl this blind without her glasses could walk to school without realizing she had forgotten them. The story tries to explain this by saying that she lives close enough to the school that she wouldn’t notice right away by the time she gets to class. But given how comically blind she is without her glasses, I can’t help but wonder how she makes it out the front door without notice. It’s a situation where you need to suspend your disbelief to some extent for the overall premise to work.
I think it helps that the chapters are incredibly short, so there isn’t a lot of time to sit down and think about those things before we are already moving to the next joke. I was surprised that some chapters could be as short as four pages, while others could be as long as eight or ten. I’m not sure why the chapter length isn’t consistent, but it did throw me off a few times when I thought there was more to a joke, only for another chapter to start immediately. The chapters are episodic and have a considerably soft art style that enunciates rounded curves and simple designs. There isn’t anything artistically impressive in the presentation outside of the small attention to detail regarding Mie’s facial expressions when she’s not wearing her glasses. This makes sense considering how often the story draws attention to how hard she needs to squint just to see.
Overall, “The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses is perfectly fine. It’s a nice story to read on an afternoon in the bookstore. I walked away smiling occasionally with a chuckle here or there, but unfortunately, I don’t see a reason to return to the series anytime soon. I wish it had a bit more going on, but that’s not the kind of story that this manga aims to tell. If anything, I have to commend it for sticking to exactly what it says on the tin.