Cover-to-Cover is a column where I’ll choose my favorite cover from a particular series. This time around I’ll be doing one of my favorite manga, We Were There. It took me awhile to get used to We Were There‘s artwork. At first, I thought it was unremarkable but didn’t care because I loved the series so much. Then upon coming across some of Yuki Obata’s lovely color pictures for the series, I began to fall in love with the manga’s art. So choosing a favorite cover for this series is a bit difficult because so many of the covers have such a joyous, dreamy feel to them. The first cover that stands out to me is volume four’s. I love that Nanami and Yano are huddled so close together in the snow; there’s a level of intimacy in this cover that is unmatched. Volume eight‘s cover contains what is probably my favorite moment in the series, Nanami standing on the train platform as he heads for Tokyo with his mother. Volume 11 features the couple right before a kiss, so it definitely wins in the romantic category. And as for the most daring cover, I’d have to say that belongs to volume 12, since it contains a simple picture of fireworks with no characters at all. But if I have to choose just one cover, I think I’ll go with volume 13.
I’m sensing a theme here, because my last Cover-to-Cover pick Sand Chronicles also prominently featured beautiful autumn leaves. Nanami and Yano are adorably smiling – their smiles are almost cheesy, which I think works really well since Yano and Nanami at one point joke that they are a cheesy couple. I think this cover stands out to me because it’s brightly-colored and they just look so happy together, which is a huge contrast to the somber tone of the series at this point. Yano and Nanami see each other for the first time since he moved to Tokyo five years earlier, and he casually dismisses her (although it’s obvious he’s struggling with his feelings more than he lets on). Nanami feels as though she’s stuck at age seventeen for being unable to let go of Yano, causing her to turn down Takeuchi’s marriage proposal. Every character is suffering in some way or another, and the future seems bleak for Yano and Nanami’s relationship. Each volume of We Were There is harder to read than the last, not only because the tone of the series is becoming sadder and sadder, but also because it’s frustrating to feel so bad for these characters who are very much unable (or unwilling) to fix their relationships. If anything, the cover of volume 13 serves as a reminder of the past; of times that will never come again – for both the characters and the audience.