Cover Image: Haru's Curse

Haru's Curse

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Member Reviews

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* 

This book combines volumes 1 and 2 and is completed, I think. It deals with grief and guilt, so is a bit sadder than most manga I read. I wasn't sure how I felt about the book at first, but once we see the past from their different views and their thoughts on situations, I got into it. It pulled on my heartstrings and made me feel for the couple. Truly liked the couple and how the story progressed. 
I won't be buying it for my teen collection, but do think this would do well in an adult one.
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I was unable to finish this book before it was achieved but I did manage to read the first 100 pages. From what I did read, it was shaping up to be a great story. I loved Haru and how she was interacting with the male MC. I wish I could’ve finished it and plan on purchasing a book when I can. I highly suggest this book to whomever is interested in an interesting and angst filled romance story.
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Haru's Curse  is extraordinary in the way that the mangka breaks down what grief looks like. The visuals of what it means to be a grieving person who has lost someone, who has lost part of themselves and who has lost part of the future that they have been planning. I was unprepared with how nuanced the relationships in this manga become and how deeply I felt bonding with the characters. Natsumi has lost the only person in the world that she loved most: her little sister, Haru. 

She was her entire world and now that she's gone she's locked into this cycle of guilt and grief--she's also apparently dating her late sister's fiance'--Togo.Sounds like a hot mess, believe me, I know. But the journey is one, I do not regret taking. Haru's Curse almost has a coming of age type feel--this is what I realized after reading it to finish for the first time. It is every bit an incredible manga about the lives we lead and who we love. Yet it is also about first loves, the people who roll into our lives and impact us. It is a book about growing up, maturing and figuring out what your life means to you. This one took me by surprise. So much. I can not stress just how it blew me away again and again after my second and third reread.

Asuka Konishi’s English-language debut is a superb effort that presents a narrative where love, family and expectations can linger like a curse, like burdens on us all and how some of us are lucky enough to see the writing on the wall and make the choices that are not always offered to many.

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.SPOILER: the ending feels rushed--wrapped up the book but it surprised me. May come off as jarring the first time you read it--it would sit fine with me if another reader took off points or stars for the ending alone.
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Thanks for this arc to Netgalley and Kodansha, I’m so happy to be able to review it. 
All my reviews might see the same bc to review something I either loved it or not liked it at all, thats how my heart works and I review with that😅 but Im really honest when I say that I really reeeeeally loved this manga. It was something so serious and important showed in a “beautiful” way. The characters were so human and suffered a lot bc of the lost and grieve from it, and bc of the guilty of their own feelings. But even though some people might see it wrong, I don’t. You can’t change how you feel, the love is an inevitable feeling and that was showed very well. And the life it’s for the living people. Im sorry if it’s cheesy but it is the way it is. I really felt it deep in my heart all those things, the author did a very good job. I didn’t knew if it were to be an only volume and I was glad when I find out that it was that way. Even though now I miss them a little and I felt nostalgic at the end. I would really like some spin-off from their new lives and things like that. So, with all this said, I really want everyone to read it. It was different and moving and loving. THANK YOU AGAIN, that’s it. Xo💕
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HARU’S CURSE: ⭐️⭐️

A girl realizes that she has always loved her dead sister’s betrothed and he has always loved her. It was surprisingly unmoving given the premise.

NOTE: I was provided an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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(rating is around a 3.5)

this story was very… weird to say the least. it follows natsumi dealing with grief after her sister passed away from cancer on the very first page of this book, leaving an incomplete family and a boyfriend behind. after slipping into a depression, when togo, her sisters ex, ask for her to date him, she agrees. on one condition; they have to visit all the places he took haru (the sister). and, as every romance manga goes, love begins to grow, along with feelings of guilt, all until she finds a certain online journal.

this dealt with grief in a way i consider accurate. it shows how, although the dead cannot be sad, the living still try to consider their feelings, as natsumi did. it also shows a whole ton of messed up families, with their own issues and arranged marriages. i felt, although their feelings were presented really well, most of the characters lacked something until the very end, which was highly rushed, btw. i would have been okay with it being a few hundred pages more in order to fix the pacing and add more details. 

overall, confusing read, lacks a sense of morality but i still enjoyed it nonetheless
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i liked the exploration of grief, the character and the art style. i loved the emotional writing and such,.
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The copy I read was generously provided by #NetGalley and #Kodansha.

What is grief? How soon can the bereived move on with their lives? This seinen/shoujo manga tackles these difficult topics with finesse. Natsumi suddenly loses her younger sister Haru. As she struggles with her pain, she also grapples with her budding feelings for Togo, who was her sister’s fiance. Haru’s death feels like a curse and a burden. Will she and Togo find happiness with each other? Will their families allow it?

This isn’t a typical shoujo manga, where the heroine can oftentimes be too one-dimensional. Depression, family conflicts, and falling in love all contribute to Natsumi’s growth throughout the volume. She’s relatable instead of being too perfect or sickly sweet. 

The art style was refreshing too. It’s serious to convey the heavy topics that were tackled in the book. No random feathers or sparkly backgrounds here.

Overall, I loved it. One of my favorite mangas this year.

#HarusCurse #NetGalley
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Thank you to NetGalley and Kodansha Comics for the opportunity to read an advance copy of Haru's Curse. This was a quick read, occasionally funny and very bittersweet. Manga is a beautifully expressive media form, and Haru's Curse really captured the depth of a sister relationship and the guilt of moving on. The art is gorgeous and the dialogue fun and engaging. The story did seem rushed however; I didn't feel like I really knew or connected to the characters and everything seemed to happen so quickly. Also, there wasn't really any mystery and only mild thriller elements. Ultimately, it was an enjoyable and fast read without requiring too much of the reader.
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Natsumi's younger sister, Haru, passes away at the age of 19. She begins a relationship with her dead sister's fiancé, Togo. Natsumi grapples with her feelings with Togo while mourning the loss of her sister. This manga delves into feelings of guilt, loss, and depression, which made it at times difficult to get through. This is not a happy love story, but it will get you thinking about cheating and how someone begins to love their sister's ex-fiancé. 

I will note that Togo did seem like another variant of the male lead in Raise wa Tanin ga ii, Konishi's other manga where the male lead also comes across as emotionless and a bit robotic.
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Haru's Curse is a neat one-volume manga containing a complete story arc about two people dealing with grief and trying to live their lives on their terms. The word "curse" itself feels like a misdirect; it's a direct translation from the original title but if you are put off by the title/summary thinking that there might be some supernatural forces in play, this is not one of those books. This entire book is truly about what the living (Natsu and Togo) are left with when their loved one (Haru) dies, be it memories, photos, or diaries. The arranged marriage thing that Togo and Haru are set up with might seem odd to those not used to arranged marriages with the added motive of preserving bloodlines, but it's not that big a deal in the overall story. Natsu is especially saddled with honoring the memory of her sister, and as the story progresses so does Natsu's grief, and we move on to showing personal growth with Natsu and Togo.  It's refreshing to read about adults dealing with their major life events in a single volume instead of stretching it out over several books. (I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley.)
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I’ve heard a lot of negative talk about this manga unfortunately, but I’m so happy I had the opportunity to read it! 

I personally love stories about hardships and loss, and seeing how the characters overcome them. I really loved how all of that was portrayed, and how we got to see the different characters lives. 

This was a beautiful read, thank you for allowing me to review this!
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This manga is centered around Natsumi the older sister of Haru and Haru’s fiancée Togo and how their relationship develops after the passing of Natusumi’s younger sister Haru,when they had decided to start dating. But Haru’s memory lingers over the two. I don’t want to give away anything but this manga makes you feel for the characters and how they are feeling about Haru’s death and their lingering feelings of guilt.

For a debut manga, it is quite good and I enjoy reading it so far and cannot wait for the other volumes.
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I’m a bit of a sucker for stories involving siblings, and this is one of the most emotional stories I’ve read involving sisters. After her younger sister Haru dies, Natsume isn’t sure how to continue her life. After all, Haru was the one people looked to as the ‘perfect bride’, the one who had a shining future ahead of her. So different to Natsume, who struggles to accept that her nineteen year old sister is gone and she isn’t. 

Natsume is now dating her sister's fiance Togo, who it turns out was secretly more interested in Natsume to begin with, until his family forced him to choose Haru. So now, he is trying to build a new relationship while dealing with the guilt of knowing he never truly loved Haru, while Natsume has the guilt of dating the fiance her sister was deeply in love with. 

When I started this, I immediately loved the art style. It’s quite simplistic, yet the tones and shading matched the darker theme of the book. It almost reflects the grief, and the feeling of loss Natsumi and guilt Togo are both feeling. As the pair navigate their way through their emotions, the pages themselves become lighter, like the dark clouds of a thunderstorm are now clearing for a brighter sky. It matched the book perfectly. 

The only downside to this whole story was the feeling of it being vague. Despite having a lot in there, it all felt like we were just seeing touches of the story rather than a bit more time to really see these things develop. That being said, I did love how they showed a lot of Harus's story and time in hospital as well as Natsume finding her online diary which showed how much her younger sister adored her. These were really well developed and definitely made me feel emotional. I just wish there was a little more in depth development between Togo and Natsume themselves. I also felt the ending was a little rushed and again would have liked a few more pages showing the progression from their decisions to maybe then do a time jump so we could see how their lives were after. 

This is a beautiful story about living after a devastating loss, discovering a love in amongst the pain, and moving on to find a new life. It had a well thought out plot and characters I genuinely enjoyed getting to know. As someone who has lost loved ones, I felt the grief, even though their situations were different to my own. This is definitely one I think many will enjoy.
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Well the story starts a funeral with a flashback of a dying sister,Haru, asking her elder sister,Natsumi, to put a picture of her fiance and herself in her coffin.
The plot started rough with Natsumi losing her dear little sister and Togo loosing his fiancee. But there's a twist, Natsumi and Togo starts dating as they have their own reasons to do the same. Natsumi loved her sibling so much that she wants to know more about her and Yogi's parents were searching for a perfect bride and they had approached the girls' family. Now when the one selected by them was dead, Togo started dating the other sister but on a condition that he has to take her only to the places where her sister had went with him.
Time passes by and both are dating, hanging out together until Togo realise that since the beginning he had eyes for Natsumi not Haru. He was dating her only because he had never disobeyed his parents. But now he realised and was trying hard to give Natsumi the hints regarding the same.
Whereas Natsumi was hanging out as she thought Togo stole her sister, who was her only dear family as their parents had divorced. So she wanted to collect the memories of her little sister from Togo too.
In the meantime, she even felt guilt of dating her dead sister's fiance. She attended suicide too. But Togo held her strong and took her out of her depression. He was right by her side comforting her in her way and Natsumi couldn't even realise until Togo had his limit and broke up with her.
Natsumi started researching about the reactions of sister over such situation as her own sister was died and she had no clue how her little sister would had felt. She found Haru's online journal and she was shocked to learn about Haru's feelings.
The sister whom Natsumi had loved so much basically hated her and wanted to drag to hell as she couldn't tolerate the thought of Togo and Natsumi dating and being happy together after he died.
Shocked and puzzled Natsumi decides to lead her life as she wants because she has been hurting Togo and herself for a person who had already rejected her before she died.
Meanwhile Togo's mother forces him to date another girl and get marry soon. But he couldn't keep his heart away from Natsumi and he gets a bad feeling too that she might try to commit suicide. He ends up getting a similar scene's new as it was when Natsumi had attempted suicide before.
He rushes to the scene to find out if it was really Natsumi or no but instead he gets hurts himself in a road accident and is admitted to hospital. Natsumi gets the news of Togo's accident and she rushes to meet him. Then they both realise and confesses their real feelings to eachother.

I was so satisfied with the plot. There's so many conclusions in this one single plot, I am amazed to see the vision of the creator here. Loved the plot and definately going to recommend it.
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TW: Death, Suicide

3.75 ⭐

I honestly don't know what to feel regarding this story, I enjoyed it, yes however there's a coflicting emotions that I'm feeling and can't figure out.

The story is pretty much filled with a heavy angst and drama that might thrown some of readers off (that was just what I thought). I was pleased to see that we just don't get Natsumi's pov but Toga and Haru's as well that just made the storyline a lot more better and added more depth.

I pretty much predicted in how it would go on the story but still was pleased that it did. Overall, I enjoyed it.
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So I had no idea what was awaiting before I picked up this manga on a whim, after asking for it on netgalley and man can I say I was blown away. 
Firstly lets talk about the art, oh wow ! I loved it. The elongated models of the characters and the strong facial features gave made this such a memorable piece. 
I loved Natsumi and Togo, and I was drawn into their story. I find it strangely hard to write about, this one volume manga has totally blown me away, I've immediately went a preordered a physical copy while also looking at what else the mangaka has been involved in (if anything). 
I'd say go into this with knowing as little as possible and just enjoy the ride, it certainly took me on a journey that helped keep my mind off things. This could be a favourite read of the year for me.
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* I was given the english translation off NetGalley for an honest review*

I am very sad that my first ARC is a dnf :( The synopsis and reviews had me incredibly excited for this as it seemed like exactly the kind of story I would love. I just could not get behind the relationship that was blossoming between Togo and Natsumi. Togo came off very robotic, toxic, and just generally unlikable. I liked Natsumi's character a lot more, however I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that she agreed to date her dead sister's ex boyfriend (a proposition which he presented to her at her sister's funeral no less). I think the story could have benefitted from placing larger emphasis on dealing with personal grief (the death of a sister and fiancee) before introducing a coupling between these two characters. I will admit that the art style was absolutely breathtaking! Had I found the story slightly more captivating, i would have stuck with it.
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Love is what we cling to, but holding on too tightly can stifle personal growth or smother the other person. For Natsumi, she clung to her little sister Haru. It's easy to understand why when looking at their family dynamic. Their parents were the product of an arranged marriage that never clicked and due to some old-fashioned family values, their boisterous mother was constantly at odds with their more traditional father. Natsumi sees herself as a reflection of her mother; she's goofy, the way to her heart is through her stomach, and her goals for her life are modest. As a growing teen she aches for her father's approval until his affair and remarriage brings a new woman into the household. A woman who has more in common with her diminutive, feminine sister. Her mother leaves her and Natsumi quits vying for her father's approval, instead finding comfort in an intense closeness with Haru.

Co-dependency is an underlying theme in Haru's Curse, at least as much as guilt, individuality, and grief. The skillful emotional drama unfolds with each chapter named after a particular month, but it'd be closer to say that the story travels through the seasons of three people's lives. This metaphor is not subtle: Natsumi and Haru's names are homonyms for Summer and Spring, respectfully, and when Natsumi discovers Haru's blog she finds her sister writing about her experience with cancer treatment under the alias "Aki" for Autumn. The sisters' personalities are reflective of their namesake, with Haru being "flower-like" in her demeanor, invoking the idea of a shrinking violet, whereas Natsumi is brash, forward, and athletic. While those character types are far from unique, it's the honesty of the women's relationship dynamic that contributes to the story's realism. Natsumi appears to be a "what you see is what you get" type, but it's her own insecurity that feeds her altruistic actions. She learned early that she was not good enough for the adults in her life and is initially hostile to Togo when he begins courting Haru. When Haru gets sick, she reroutes her entire life in order to become her potential caretaker, going as far as majoring in nutrition. This is in part because she loves her sister of course, but it's also because she still believes they'll live together despite Togo being lined up as her future brother-in-law.

The futility of her actions barely occurs to her, but Natsumi knows the extent of her devotion to Haru is unhealthy. She's distraught by what she thinks are romantic feelings for her sister. However, Haru's Curse is chaste in its depictions of romance. While Natsumi's feelings for Haru are no doubt intense, they strike me as co-dependent much more than something truly romantic. However, the space between her feelings for Haru and her feelings for Togo is small, likely intentionally. Her initial agreement to date Togo has nothing to do with protentional feelings for him. It's an agreement made out of grief and Natsumi's futile attempt to "compromise" Haru's death. She hopes that by dating him under specific circumstances, only going to places he had previously taken Haru, she'll recapture a closeness with her sister. Of course, that's not what Togo had in mind at all, but he accepts her stipulations.

What Haru's Curse does exceptionally well is impart the reader to the internal lives of its cast. The initial chapters are told from Natsumi's perspective but later shift to Togo and eventually Haru to give a better understanding of their feelings and internal motivations. Togo is far from the aloof business heir that he is initially presented as and instead more akin to a bird in a gilded cage. He's lived a life where everything was provided for him easily so long as he jumped when he was told. Natsumi's vivacity strikes a chord in Togo that causes him to question his own satisfaction in the way that he's lives. Meanwhile, both parties seem to have overestimated Haru's naivete and gentleness. Her death looms over the entire story as Natsumi and Togo try to discover which decisions they can live with and what pain is tolerable.

For readers sensitive to such content, there is a two-chapter discussion of suicide within the book and the handling of the topic is dicey. The series falls back on the threat of "if you die, then I'll die" to navigate the crisis so that one character abstains out of concern or potential guilt for the other. However, it's not central to the story thematically and the feelings at the time seem appropriate. I would say that all the characters' actions feel purposeful. Haru's Curse isn't playing up feelings for cheap drama here.

By the volume's end (Vertical has combined the two tankobon into a single volume release) it felt like both characters had truly grown into more mature and confident versions of themselves. There's an overarching message that grief is eternal. It's a feeling that always sits within you. But you cannot disappoint or make the deceased sad; you have to make your choices for yourself.
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My rating: 4.5 / 5 ★

At the start of this manga, Natsumi was attending the funeral of her younger sister, Haru. She was seen discreetly slipping a picture of Haru with her fiancé, Togo, into the casket with Haru's body before the funeral ended. Natsumi later started dating Togo after he asked her out after the funeral ended, and she accepted with the condition that they visit the places he visted with Haru during their dates. Sounds horrible, right? I wholeheartedly agree, but Haru's Curse is more than just a story about a sister "stealing" her dead sister's fiancé.

Haru's Curse is a story about Natsumi and Togo, the closest people to Haru and how they dealt with grief and guilt after Haru's death. Haru and Togo were engaged for an arranged marriage, and while Haru helplessly fell in love with Togo, it seemed that it was not the same case for him. He ends up asking Natsumi out after the funeral, using his parents as an excuse. Shockingly, Natsumi agreed right away, giving him a condition for agreeing to it. Their relationship stayed as a secret between them, and while their feelings start to bloom towards each other, the guilt of betraying Haru continued gnawing at their hearts.

I saw a few other readers saying that Togo is toxic for asking Natsumi out, and not reciprocating Haru's feelings at all despite dating her for more than two years. While I agree to a certain level that that behaviour is toxic (I mean, how could you even ask your dead fiancée's sister to date you right after your fiancée's funeral?), I would not say that Togo is a bad person. For a start, he got engaged to Haru because of his parents, and he was kind towards Haru during their two years of relationship. Despite catching feelings for Natsumi, Togo did not acknowledge it and was ready to marry Haru. He only approached Natsumi when Haru was gone. Not exactly something applaudable, but Togo should not be blamed for wanting someone that he truly loves. And if Togo is toxic for asking Natsumi out after the funeral, who's to say that Natsumi is not toxic as well, for accepting to be in a relationship with him? 

The original manga in Japanese consisted of two books, but the English version is combined into a single book, in two parts. In the first part, the story is told from the perspective of Natsumi and Togo. From just a few pages, it was obvious how much they both wanted to care and love each other, yet the guilt held them back. In the second part, readers are exposed to Haru's perspective, which I really appreciate. I love Asuka Konoshi's artwork; not only are they beautiful, but the expressions for each character are so vivid and clear that you can easily understand their emotions.

Natsumi's character is easily likeable. She is attentive towards those around her, and she tries her best to be cheerful and happy around her family, despite knowing that her father doted more on Haru. She loves Haru a lot; she even confessed to Togo that she was probably in love with her sister, because Haru was the only real family to her. This caring part of her was what drew Togo towards her, without both of them realising it. While Togo may seem rather emotionless most of the time, I rather believe that he is just not good at expressing himself. Growing up following whatever his mother wanted, he never had any dreams of his own—and this changed when Natsumi entered his life. 

I like that Haru's character is present too, although she was no longer alive. Her character is portrayed realistically, which is proven in one of the online journals she left behind: she mentioned that she would not willingly witness Natsumi and Togo marrying each other. Perhaps she noticed earlier, the small accidental interactions between Natsumi and Togo, and she knew that she would never experience the same thing. My heart broke for her, but feelings are something that is very complicated.

I do not think that either Natsumi or Togo are at fault for accepting their feelings for each other. They respected Haru and only acknowledged their feelings after Haru's death, although the timing is still not great. It may be considered as a betrayal to Haru for some people, but Natsumi and Togo deserve their happiness as well. It's a very complicated matter, and both of them will carry the guilt for a long time. Despite Haru saying that she could never accept Natsumi and Togo to be with each other, if Haru lived, I am rather sure that eventually she would learn to accept it. Sure, she will resent Natsumi for it, but their sisterly bond is stronger than that and it would not easily be broken just because of a man.

The story has a rather open-ended ending; though readers will know that Natsumi and Togo are trying their best to make things work, there's no saying that another hurdle would be coming right at them soon. It is also clear that they still carry the guilt, or as they called it: Haru's curse. The story focuses a lot on their grief and guilt, and the romance are not strongly shown. I ended up liking this story more than I expected, because the topic of "stealing your dead sister's fiancé" is actually something I am uncomfortable with. But the way Asuka Konishi presented the story made me able to easily empathise with both of the main characters.
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