Monday, June 29, 2009

Hitohira vol. 3 by Idumi Kirihara

Hitohira vol. 3

Author/Artist: Idumi Kirihara

Publisher: Aurora Publishing

Rating: T – 13 and up

Genre: Shojo, Seinen, 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! ***

The time has arrived! It's the day of the school festival and by the end we'll find out which club gets to stay and which club must close its doors forever. The Theatre Research Group has worked very hard and will do their best in performing the play. Of course Mugi is so nervous she continually passes out. But there is one problem that might be bigger than Mugi freezing on the spot. That problem is Nono's voice. Nono has a vocal condition that causes her to lose her voice. Nono knows that this may be a problem but insists that the show must go on. The crew decides that if Nono's voice is going to disappear she'll give a sign and they'll improvise their performance.

Things start off rocky. Mugi is so nervous you can barely hear her. But thanks to Risaki she is able to gain a little more confidence. But Nono gives her sign that her voice is gone and Mugi freaks, yet again, but regains her composure and gives a performance no one will forget. But will it be enough to keep the Theatre Research Group's doors open? Plus Mugi's friend Kayo seems to be hiding something from Mugi and Chitose (member of the official Theatre Group) has her own troubles dealing with her feelings for Takashi. Oy, it's tough being a girl!

I am so glad that Aurora brought us this beautiful series (feel free to check out my reviews for vol. 1 and vol. 2). For some reason I've read in several spots that people are upset that Aurora is marketing this as a shojo title instead of a seinen title. I guess that Hitohira appears in a seinen magazine that appeals to men who like shojo story lines. If that's the case I don't see a problem in marketing it a shojo, especially if that helps sell more books. Hitohira is a fun coming of age story where Mugi must learn to step beyond her comfort zone and grow and that is most apparent here in the third volume. I don't want to give too much away because there is much divulged in this volume that will propel the story forward.

The art never ceases to amaze me. It is truly gorgeous and must be enjoyed just for that fact. I can't imagine how hard this mangaka works to get this title to look so good! Pick up this title if it's just for the art and then get hooked on the series because it is definitely worth the time you spend on it.

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

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Love Round!! by Hinako Takanaga review

Love Round!!

Author/Artist: Hinako Takanaga

Publisher: Deux Press

Rating: M – 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Romance, Sports

Grade: B

*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at Check it out! ***
Kaoru Komatsuna is very sensitive. He has a feminine name and has soft feminine features. Everyone knows that this is a hot button issue with him and not to approach it. Well, all but one person. Junya Kubo happened to pick up Komatsuna's student notebook and made the mistake of commenting on his name. Next thing Kubo knows is that some adorable shrimp knocked him out, which is a shocking thing in and of itself. Why, you ask? Well Kubo is a boxer who is in training to become a pro.

Once Kubo has come to he decides that he needs to convince Komatsuna to train to become a boxer at his gym. Komatsuna thinks that boxing is the ultimate in manly sports and decides to take a whack at it. One thing that Kubo and Komatsuna didn't expect is for Kubo to fall in love. Will Kubo's determination be able to win over Komatsuna, who can only punch out Kubo every time Kubo makes a move?

Hinako Takanaga-sensei has a wonderful ability to write madcap comedy with the best of them. Love Round!! is definitely like a yaoi manga version of a Three Stooges episode. OK, bizarre comparison but I hope you get what I mean. Komatsuna consistently knocks Kubo out and Takanaga-sensei is kind enough to keep count for us (a total of 18 knockouts) just in case you weren't keeping track for yourself. Another thing about the knock out scenes is there are always girls in the background screaming, if it wasn't crazy enough that a kid half the size of the boxing champ is able to knock him out with just one punch. But that's Komatsuna for you.

Takanaga-sensei has an interesting art style and is rather popular here in the states. She has some very dedicated fans. You're able to recognize her work from a mile away. It's sketchy and sparse but adorable nonetheless. Not only is Takanaga-sensei capable of drawing adorable schoolboys but she's able to create some of the sexiest adult characters as well (but none of those appear in this title). Takanaga-sensei's art compliment her story lines perfectly. In the case of Love Round!! there's plenty of blushing and embarrassment to go around and makes for the perfect one-two punch (sorry for the pun, it's pretty lame, I know).

Kubo and Komatsuna make an interesting couple but it seems to work well. If you are looking for a fluffy fun romance with a different feel to it I suggest picking up a copy of Love Round!! I enjoyed it.

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