Yume no Moribito (complete at 4 vols.): finally got through reading this.
I'm glad I finished it, I'm just going to be honest right away and say I feel hesitant to recommend this manga mainly because of the age difference between the two leads.
The plot is, there's a girl who is put to sleep permanently as a sacrifice to seal away a bunch of harmful spirits (butterflies), but before she is put to sleep she meets a young man who is in his teens at the time, they form a connection, and then after she is sacrificed (put to sleep) he spends every day for the next eight years binding the harmful spirits inside her so that someday he can wake her up again. He wakes her up again in the very first chapter IIRC, so then the rest of the story is about her growing up mentally to match her physical age, working through the psychological issues she has due to her experience of abandonment as a child, and learning to purify the butterfly spirits inside her, as well as the characters dealing with some external conflict in the form of some enemies who want to put her back to sleep.
So the girl is 16 or 18, I can't recall which but I think 16, and when she first wakes up her mind is still that of a young girl. The story is definitely at its creepiest at that time while she hasn't yet mentally matured to her physical age, but even when she has reached the maturity level of her real age, it is still the story of a relationship between a girl who is 16 or 18 and a man who is about 10 years older. So I just want to say that that kind of thing IRL is never appropriate and I don't condone that aspect of the story.
However, other than the age difference I did like this manga and don't regret reading it to the end; in particular, in the last volume I thought it had some really valuable and beautiful things to say about how it is necessary in relationships for there to be mutual support and to not just selfishly take from the other person without giving anything back. The female lead had a very strong spiritual power that was distinct from the male lead and what he was able to do, and more importantly towards the end there was a lot of emphasis on the way the two leads mutually helped and supported each other: the male lead by literally rescuing Yume from being locked away by herself in darkness (when she was put to sleep), and Yume by loving and accepting a part of the male lead (his ability to read people's emotions by touching them) which caused him to be rejected by other people
SPOILER: Highlight text to read: she also had a role in helping him overcome the grief of his father's death. A similar dynamic of mutual support being the healthy foundation of a relationship also comes up in the relationship between two minor characters.
Other than that, the reader can easily guess that Sensei's (the male lead) spending every day for eight years of his life binding butterflies at a rate of one or two per day in order to wake Yume up again was because he cares for her deeply, so to maintain at least a semblance of tension in the relationship, there's an aspect of the plot that is a definitely there as a plot device, which is Sensei's having this thing where he tends to help people only until they are strong enough to live by themselves and then kicks them out, and he also says things along those lines to the female lead. There was, however, a decent explanation for it at the end which made sense in context of the world and the background the author had created:
SPOILER: Highlight text to read: After purifying all of the butterflies, it was necessary for Yume to go off by herself and scatter the purified butterflies through the world so that their energy could dissipate. So in the end I felt that although it was obviously a plot device which was there to keep the story from completely dissolving into sentimental mush, I can at least accept that it does make sense and is reasonable within the context of the story.
“Leave your heart, and look into the face of Christ.” -Andrew Murray