Manga Review: Ame-Iro Kouchakan Kandan
Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan, or Chatting at the Amber Teahouse, is a short, two-volume yuri (lesbian) romance manga. In it, a girl named Seriho in her mid-twenties opens a tea house, which is her dream. But making that dream a reality is difficult. Luckily, high school senior Sarasa starts working for Seriho, and they form a partnership, in more ways than one.
Sarasa helps a lot with many practical things Seriho isn't good at, and Seriho is very grateful for the help. But what's interesting is that, for a while at least, Seriho is totally oblivious to the fact that Sarasa is spending her time doing so much to help out with the tea house out of love for Seriho. Seriho is also oblivious to her own romantic feelings that she develops in return for Sarasa.
So, what you have is basically a cute, innocent, sweet, romantic manga about young love between two women.
Dreaming of a future where we can share smiles forever...— Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan, Vol. 2, Ch. 15
Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan
There are things I liked and things I didn't like. Reading this manga is an enjoyable experience, and the romance will make you go "aww!" out loud a lot. I would describe it as overflowing with feminine elegance and the sophistication of tea itself. But, it is a bit on the dull side, because it hits the saccharine, sentimental notes over and over again, and only those notes. It's like a teeter-totter that is blocked from going up and down. There's no serious drama, no real conflict, no anger or sadness. That makes this manga feel shallow, like it is simply there to pander to people who are interested in lesbian romance (which is totally is, since it was originally serialized in a yuri magazine). It feels empty, like it could have used an expansion that delves into some deeper things.
Finally, the other bad thing is that the side characters are basically boring, and they seem kind of pointless. Their role in the first part of the story is comedic, and then they're no longer needed when the ditzy antics of the blonde girl and the idea-generating help of her smart foil are no longer needed. It's like this manga artist didn't have a role for them to play in the latter arcs, which focus much more heavily on just the two main characters.
Basically, it's cute, but just cute, given to us over and over again, can get a little bit boring.