Taiyou no Ie, also known as House of the Sun, by Taamo is a romance manga that won the 38th Kodansha Manga Award for Best Shoujo in 2014. Mao Motomiya, the main character, finds herself in a tricky situation and turns to her childhood friend, Hiro Nakamura, for help. Mao moves in with him and feelings start to develop.
Author & Artist: Taamo
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Slice of Life
Released: 2010 – 2015
Number of Volumes: 13
Number of Chapters: 53
Her father remarried and her mother abandoned her. Mao Motomiya grew up lonely and is now faced with her father’s new wife and daughter. She feels out of place, until one night her childhood friend Hiro Nakamura, whose parents have passed away, finds her and offers her a new place to live. Reluctantly she accepts his invitation and quickly starts to feel at home. It doesn’t take long for her to start developing feelings for her childhood friend.
Taiyou no Ie is a heart-warming love story, filled with sweet moments, insecurity and complications along the way. I’d say the award this manga received in 2014 was well-deserved. The characters in this story are relatable and their situations are enthralling. Mao isn’t the only focus of this story. As you read you come to understand each character’s struggles and wishes, even when those characters might’ve just seemed rude and heartless before. If you like romance manga with a little drama, character development and a lot of sweet moments: This is definitely a manga you should read.
Keep reading if you want to know more.
While romance manga usually have a few clichés in common, I can’t say I found many in this manga. Or at least; they weren’t overly emphasized at all. Of course there are a lot of themes present in Taiyou no Ie which are common in most romance manga, like unrequited love and naïve, or rather oblivious, characters.
Taiyou no Ie does stand out to me, because the story contains drama but doesn’t focus in on it too much. It’s not a depressing story and although it might be conceived as a spoiler I just want to say: It all ends well. The characters learn to live and cope with their situations quite well, even if they do get hurt or rejected.
The story focusses mainly on Mao, but there are quite a few ‘extra’ chapters that focus on the side characters a bit more.
Mao, or Magyo as Hiro and Daiki prefer to call her, is the focus of this manga. Her point of view and experiences are explained in detail, but this isn’t just true for her. She is a high school girl who feels out of place in her new family and is worried about being a bother to others, something I think a lot of people can relate to. Although she doesn’t seem to think of herself as a good influence on others, she definitely is. The people around her appreciate her honesty and insight into their situations, just as she appreciates theirs.
Her childhood friend, Hiro, has a caring personality. He is like a ‘mom’, according to Mao. Hiro’s parents died when he was younger and his family was split up because of it, both his siblings moved in with relatives while he stayed in the old house. Hiro’s dream is to reunite his family in the home his parents built them.
Unbeknownst to Hiro, Mao is the author behind the cell phone novel named ‘House of the Sun’ using the pen name ‘Kuukai’, which is filled with her life experiences. Mao, on the other hand, doesn’t know that Hiro enjoys reading her novel. Although they are unaware of this connection, it is yet another way these two are connected, besides their childhood.
The relationship between Mao and Hiro develops further over time, as Mao starts to care about him more than just a friend. The situation for Mao in Taiyou no Ie is further complicated by Hiro’s feelings for his co-worker, Ai Sugimoto. She becomes a sort of rival of Mao.
Aside from these characters there are a few more, like Hiro’s siblings Daiki and Hina, who help or complicate the situation at times. The interactions between the characters seem pretty realistic for the situations they’re in, or at least believable. Clearly a lot of work went into defining the characters’ pasts and personalities, which shines through as you’re reading the manga.
The drawing style of this manga appeals to me, it’s very pretty but not too cartoony for me. It’s a soft and sweet style, but whether it appeals to you is something you’ll have to find out yourself. Not all of Taamo’s manga seem to have this same drawing style, the style varies a bit per manga.
Taamo is also known for Shoujo no Melancholy, Onegai, Sensei and Ano Ko to Boku no Ie, among others. A lot of her manga are shorter than Taiyou no Ie, but most of them, if not all, do have a romance theme.