What would you do if you could stop time? Would you use this power to avoid difficult situations? To cheat on a test? Maybe to get revenge on someone who wronged you? Or would you just be a pervert and use it to peek at your crush’s panties? Turns out, the hero of Fragtime, a yuri manga by Sato with a magical twist, is just such a pervert.
Since she was a child, Moritani has been able to freeze time at will for precisely three minutes a day. This power allows her to easily get out of awkward conversations, stressful confrontations and any other kind of social interaction that makes her uncomfortable – which is pretty much all social interactions. Once she enters high school, Moritani starts using her powers to secretly observe her classmates and becomes fascinated with Murakami, a beautiful and popular girl who seems like the complete opposite of herself. Murakami is confident, graceful and good with people and Moritani’s admiration for her quickly starts to develop into a powerful crush. So, one day, she decides to have a little peek at Murakami’s panties while time is frozen, only to discover that Murakami isn’t affected by her power and isn’t frozen at all! Completely mortified and desperate to win Murakami’s approval, Moritani agrees to use her powers for Murakami’s benefit, and thus their strange relationship is born.
Despite the fact that this series’ hook involves super powers, Fragtime is a pretty grounded and character-focused story. Mortiani’s powers are clearly meant to represent her isolation and they function in accordance with her psychological state; She acquires the time-stopping power when she first wishes for the ability to get away from other people, it doesn’t work on the one girl she is interested in getting close to and it starts to fade once she starts forming connections with others again. Since it’s just a plot device meant to help us explore Moritani’s, and later Murakami’s, psyche, no explanation is ever given as to why she has these powers. She’s not descended from a line of witches and she wasn’t doused in super-power granting chemicals, as far as we know. The source of Moritani’s powers isn’t what’s important, the real story is about these two girls coming out of their shells and finding the courage to be the people that they want to be, all while falling in love, of course.
Moritani is shy and anxious. She’s easily overwhelmed by social situations and does everything she can to avoid talking to others and, when she can’t do that, she uses her time freezing ability to run away. She’s lonely and wishes that she could be more like Murakami, but doesn’t know how to change. Murakami, on the other hand, is good with people and works very hard to be friendly and to put others at ease, but has devoted so much of herself to making other people happy that she’s no longer sure that she even knows who she is anymore. One thing she does know for sure is that she’s not the perfect girl that everyone thinks she is and that no one could possibly love the real her. The time they spend together in frozen time is an escape for both Moritani and Murakami, but it’s also fleeting and ultimately not fulfilling for them. The only way that they can achieve happiness is by finding the courage to move forward and start building honest relationships with other people.
While both Moritani and Murakami fall into familiar character archetypes (the shy girl with no self-confidence and the people pleaser with no sense of self) and might not feel like super original characters, I enjoyed seeing the positive impact that these two girls have on each other and how they inspired each other to grow. They each are able to recognize and admire the other’s strengths and the scene where they finally admit their feelings for each other was very moving. I found Fragtime to be a great love story; even if Moritani’s early behaviour was a bit creepy.
Fragtime will definitely make a great addition to anyone’s yuri collection; It’s romantic and just a little bit saucy, with a dash of the fantastical thrown in for good measure. It was also popular enough that it inspired a movie adaptation, which was released in 2019. After reading this, I think I might have to check the film out too!
Final Score: 8 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.
What did you think of this manga? Have you seen the film? Let me know in the comments! You can also check out some of my other recent yuri manga reviews:
- Goodbye, My Rose Garden Vol 1 Review
- Scarlet Vol 1 Review
- Still Sick Vol 1 Review
- A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow Vol 1 Review