Title: Candy Life
Alternate Titles: キャンディ・ライフ, 凤凰灰姑娘, Candy ♥ Life, Kyandi Raifu, Sweet ♥ Life
Author & Artist: Ogawa Yayoi
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Josei, Mature, Romance
Volumes: 01 (Complete)
Life has been hard on Makoto lately, and she’s nowhere close to her wish. She wishes to have a sweet, sweet life. When she’s at the lowest of her luck, after her boyfriend took all her money and split, she’s rescued by the handsome and rich Aeda CEO. To make things stranger, when she’s supposed to get married to the CEO, she fools around with his son, without knowing his identity! Will she be able to find and choose the man that will be able to give her a sweet life? All information come from Manga Updates. This blog post will contain spoilers so please read after the cut if you’ve already read the manga. This manga & review should be read by readers who are 18 & older.
To start, this manga is kind of old. It was made in 1999 so there are already dated references (Y2K, the excitement over a Playstation or a Playstation 2) but it does make the story work in a way. Most of the problems could be solved by a simple cell phone call but because of the time period, it wouldn’t really work very well.
The art is fine but it looks really off a lot of the times. When it works, it looks amazingly beautiful and it really sets the appropriate tone but when it’s off, it’s really awkward and just bad. Often, it looks as though that it wasn’t actually finished and it looks just plain ugly. It’s very distracting when it gets like that.
As for the plot itself, well, it tried its very best. It’s only one volume long with a handful of chapters so, yes, there are pacing issues. In fact, there’s a whole section that’s confusing.
In the beginning, Makoto was drunk and was unlucky enough to fall off the bay and into the ocean, only to be rescued by the rich and handsome CEO. She mentions, before she falls in, that she was dumped and had lost her job on that day so she didn’t care if she died. However, after the CEO rescued her, he gave her his number and she went on her merry way.
After that, she managed to find a job at the video store and as she reflects her encounter with the rich man. As luck would have it, that’s when she gets swindled out of her life’s savings and got fired due to plot convenience. That’s when she goes with the CEO, who takes her in and, not only proposes, but tries to teach her how to be a “proper” lady of the house.
Until one day, she starts wondering to herself if this was all worth it and she wanders off to some club and has sex with some guy three times. As it turned out, it’s her future runaway son!
There’s already an age gap going on – the CEO is 39 years old, Makoto is 24 years old, and the son is 19 years old. Quite an age gap, wouldn’t you say? Then you mix in infidelity when she has sex with the son along with more than a few handfuls of crappy family drama (including a suicide) and you’ll get this manga. Oh, let’s also throw in some rape for the hell of it too!
This manga isn’t very good with pulling twists because you can smell it coming miles away. Honestly, the best character is the grandmother who apparently never leaves this little cottage somewhere on the property.
The fact that it’s a single volume hurts the plot the very most and it doesn’t give the reader time to soak in the revelations that just came out. This would have been better off serialized instead of a single volume, especially when it would come time for the family’s truth to come out.
There’s a strange part in the manga, though, when the son and Makoto decide to run away from it all (because that’s what you do), Makoto manages to get kidnapped only to find herself handcuffed to the bed and it’s revealed that the CEO wanted a child of his own (the son isn’t actually his son; he’s another man’s child) so, hey, let’s try to handcuff her to the bed!
The CEO and the son duke it out and then suddenly, everything is okay because the son finally called the CEO “dad”. It then cuts to the son’s and Makoto’s wedding day.
Okay, so I have a lot of questions about the manga.
- Why is Makoto suddenly okay being around the CEO (or even allowing him to walk her down the aisle) after being kidnapped and handcuffed to the bed?!
- Why did the son’s friend poke a hole in the condoms he gave them? Seriously, what’s the point? If it’s supposed to be funny, that joke was clearly lost on me. And it just wasted time. It’s dumb and endangering to them, especially since those two were poor as hell!
- Did the son and CEO ever resolve their issues? Probably not. The son was always talking about how the CEO always ignored him and never really treated him like a son (when all he was doing was shuffling his feet, wondering if it’s okay to do that for another man’s son) and, even though the son was clearly calling him dad even up till the fight scene, why was this particular instance important? To answer my own questions: no, no reason. The author just couldn’t be arsed to and no, they never did resolve their issues.
- Why was it important for the two sisters to follow these men? They never really explained it other than “family duty” and “because my grandfather said so, so we just accepted it, whatever.” Clearly, it’s a dangerous job because both of them fell in love with their guys and one actually married and had a kid with them. Again, what’s the point? Was it to add tension between her and Makoto? Because there wasn’t any.
All in all, this manga really isn’t any good. The tension that does manage to build up is gone as quickly as it came and the characters aren’t really that likable either, other than the grandmother. You don’t really want to root for the main character or any of her relationships but this stems mostly for the fact that manga itself is one volume long and a handful of chapters. Makoto is living the sweet life, but it probably would have gone better had this particular series gotten a serialization that it deserves, not the one it got.