Ii Hito ( いい ひと ) means “a good person”. いい being “good”. ひと means a human being.
If you’ve watched anime, you have probably heard of both words frequently.
The protagonist is Kitano Yuji. He is a young man who has just arrived in Tokyo for work. He has a girlfriend in Daeko. Their relationship starts out as a long distance one in the beginning but they’ve been a couple for some years ever since their college days.
He is eventually successful in being hired by a company called Lightex, a sportsware company. This manga writes his life as a salaryman from the beginning to the end.
You see, Yuji is a country folk. His demeanor is very relaxed and easy going which is stark contrast to those who live in a busy city like Toyko.
Just as the title indicates, Yuji is a good person. But I feel it’s important to mention that he is not blindly a good person. Blindly good people are those who behave nicely without any reasons. They behave nicely because that is all they know.
A typical hero in anime or manga can also be described as a blindly good person. He denounces evil and does only good deeds without having never been to dark places prior. Such people exist because that is all they know. It’s their world and they’ve never been to the other side, the dark side.
Kitano Yuji is not a typical good person in that sense. He does seemingly good deeds not because that is all he knows but because he has a philosophy that he sternly believes in.
However, the manga itself does not reveal this until nearly the end where Yuji has to make some painful decisions. It is only then readers will realize that he is not just a good person but a thoughtful person.
But there are faint clues here and there that Yuji may have been to dark places prior.
This manga, Ii Hito, is one of the finest manga in slice of life category. You won’t find many that are better than this.
While this series has never had an anime series, it does have a live film (aka movie) which I’ve never watched. Why bother. I know it’s going to be worse than the manga itself. You cannot possibly jam the essence of this manga into a 2-hour film.
I’ve also scanlated some early volumes but dropped it due to its low demand. A slice of life series is inherently boring to most people. It has no action. It has no climax. It has no super powers and no fight.
One way to spice up such a boring category is adding lots of cute girls which Aria the animation did and which is also why I dislike the series as whole.
It is also why there is no anime for Ii Hito while Aria the animation does. The former has no selling point. The latter has girls.
To be fair, Ii Hito also features a lot of rather cute female characters but they are not modern style and, for some odd reasons, all of them are rather chubby.
Perhaps more importantly, females in Ii Hito are rather human, meaning they complain when things aren’t going the way they want whereas girls in Aria are literally Goddesses.
The climax of Ii Hito, not plot wise but emotional wise, occurs when 99% of story is done for. There is a sense of sublimity when it happens, and it is exactly why I rate this manga high because you don’t feel that sensation often.
Sadly, you are unlikely able to read it that far. No scanlation is available that far. I think I dropped it at 3rd volume or so. Haven’t heard anyone else picking it up, so that’s that.
Mark my words though; this manga is a diamond and a prime example of what late bloomer is like.
A story like Ii Hito can no longer survive in 2020. It takes off way too slowly. At the same time, many manga in this era (late 80s to 90s) have this exact tendency of starting really slowly and blossoming holy late.
Again, the reason for that is because manga industry wasn’t as competitive as it is today. Manga authors had the luxury of time to work things out as they drew stories.
It’s also probably worth pointing out that readers of the era were more patient and tolerant as well, not to mention being resistant from being triggered.
Now, here is the thing. It may probably just be me but I always want something to end on a high note. I don’t mind a slow start as long as it bears its fruit later on.
Many of today’s manga/anime is the opposite. It shines early on and fades out in the end.
Bonus material: Book covers