Monday, January 19, 2009

Hitohira vol. 2 by Idumi Kirihara review

Hitohira vol. 1

Author/Artist: Idumi Kirihara

Publisher: Aurora Publishing

Rating: T – 13 and up

Genre: Shojo, Drama, Comedy, School Life, Slice of Life

Grade: A

*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at Check it out! ***

Over summer break the Theatre Research Group has its annual camp at the beach. Everyone is looking forward to surf, sand, and fun but Nono has planned every minute of every day while they are there and fun is nowhere to be found. She's running them ragged. Since the official Theatre Club and the Theatre Research Group have their survival on the line Nono wrote an original play entitled Hitohira. It is a beautiful play and she cast Mugi as the play's heroine. Nono is positive that Mugi will be an amazing leading lady, but Mugi isn't so sure of that. Because of all of the pressure they've all been under war breaks out. We have catfights, nasty yelling fights, and all sorts of violent outbursts. Mugi feels like she is responsible for all of this and she doesn't have the confidence so she decides to quit the club and leaves immediately. It's the middle of the night at the beach, however, so it's not too smart for Mugi to leave on her own. Nono insists that it's time to go to bed so she does just that. Takashi, Kai, and Risaki go on the hunt to find her. Kai was the lucky guy to locate Mugi and because of their friendship, love may be blooming. After a day or two things work themselves out and Mugi accepts her role.

Things are different when they get back to school. Chitose Kanna, the adorable blonde, is continuing to obsess over Takashi. When she escapes the official Theatre Club to gaze upon Takashi she overhears rehearsal and feels immediately threatened by Mugi. It seems that Mugi has a presence after all. Things may seem to be going smoothly now but because of a lack of funds there seems to be trouble making ends meet. Will the play go off without a hitch or will Mugi choke? Which club will be the one to have to close its doors?

I have really enjoyed Hitohira. It has a lot to do with the fact that I can totally relate to Mugi. There is just something about the theatre that has the ability to help bring someone out of their shell. I wasn't nearly as shy as Mugi, but I did struggle with my own forms of shyness. It wasn't until I became someone else that I was able to find out who I truly am. The story is interesting and fun, but in several places I've read that this is actually a seinen manga (manga aimed at men). Aurora seems to be selling this as a shojo title. If it’s a seinen title I'm now all confused. To me this is a fluffy feel good story and it doesn't have the feel of a seinen title. I guess I'll just have to stick with it (which will happen, no question) and see what happens.

I must say that the art in Hitohira is absolutely amazing. The effects of the ample uses of screentone give it a rich depth that makes is very pleasant to the eye. It has a 3-D effect that you don't find in many manga. Everything is so clear and crisp that you can't help but just stare at the panels in awe.

I have found this to be an enjoyable continuation of an interesting story. In the world of manga school is a common setting for stories. Often times I find myself yearning for something more interesting than boy-meets-girl at school (or boy-meets-boy because I read a lot of yaoi), fall in love, and so on. Hitohira may be set in an arts high school but with the story focused on Mugi and her coming out of her shell through the theatre gives a different vibe. I think that this is definitely a don't miss title.

If interested here is a link to my review of Hitohira vol.1.

***Review Copy provided by Aurora Publishing***
***Reposted with permission from The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society***