Viz wanted me to read this so bad (edit: meaning that it was heavily advertised at the time), and apparently the novel is the bestselling Japanese novel EVER. While I won’t go anywhere near the novels released by manga companies (because I’m an elitist snob, you know, and I simply must have my bookshelves unsullied with their ilk), I’m all about manga, so I picked up that version.
So sad, so so sad. I went into it basically blind (I had read a thread at the ListerX forum with someone asking about it, I asked about a basic plot summary, and when they said it was sad, I went out, bought it, and read it in class). This does a good job of being a self-contained story because it only ever has the two characters, really. You’re aware of a few other characters, but it’s only about the two main characters and their relationship. When I started reading and the subjects dwell on death, the characters were actually so good I begged the story not to harm the main characters directly, but this was not the case. I would have cried about the end had I not been in a room full of classmates.
It’s a simple, powerful, touching story that I really liked, and is one of the best and most well-developed one-shots I’ve read. It may make you cry. Of course, I didn’t cry when I read this at school, but I broke down and sobbed in front of customers and coworkers when I read “God Bless the Gargoyles” the next day, so take that as you will.