Friday, December 12, 2008

1022. Hana-Kimi: For You in Full Blossom # 1

Those who know me -- especially those who know me well -- know that I love almost all things Japanese, particularly Animation (called Anime) and Comic Books (which in Japan are called Manga). So, of course I have boxes and boxes of Comic Books going back a few decades, my prized possessions being some "Daredevil" issues from the "Frank Miller era". Unfortunately, some of those, got lost in a big move some years ago. Although lately, I have only been buying Graphic Novels and not individual Comic Books, I have delved or experimented with Japanese Comic Books.

Mostly, the Japanese Comic Books that I read are titles that I became aware of because of the Anime, meaning, the Japanese Animation came first, or if there was a written form before it was animated, I did not become aware of it, until the animation became widespread. Lately, one of my Bookmooch friends convinced me to take a chance at this title.

Shojo Manga is written to appeal to both a male and a female audience, and of course it has no Science Fiction, or robots, or aliens, or anything else like that. Still, I always like to experience the Japanese view of the world. And thus, I read the first volume in what I believe is a very popular series.

This has an interesting premise: Mizuki, is a female Japanese-American track-and-field star (up-and-coming, as they say) who falls in love with a Japanese boy Izumi Sano. Why did she fall in love with Izumi? Well, Izumi is himself, a track-and-field star, a high jumper actually, who Izumi noticed at an international meet. So, Izumi, wanting to be near him, gets a transfer to his high-school in Japan. From a strange quirk of fate, they end being roommates... the complication of course being that Izumi school in Japan is an all boys academy. So how will Mizuki go to school there? Well, she passes herself off as a boy.

That is the beginning of the plot. There are two main sub-elements that take place. Mizuki has to hide her identity, of course (though the school nurse/doctor who is gay, finds out pretty early that she is a girl). The other sub-plot is that Izumi does not want to compete in the high-jump anymore, but his girl-friend is trying to convince him otherwise. To top it off, Mizuki's fair features have brought her attention with some of the other boys, one of them thinking he might be attracted to him (her -- he doesn't Mizuki is a girl, so he thinks he's gay!)

So, will Mizuki be able to hide her identity from her schoolmates? Will she be able to "fight off" Izumi's girlfriend? Will she be able to turn away her boy suitor in the school?

It's a quick read, and I did enjoy it a bit, but I was not the target audience. Personally, I'd be much happier reading G.T.O. or InitialD. Still, I'll give it 3 stars out of 5 for style and for the themes it tackles. I don't know if what American teenagers read tackle subjects like this.


Plot Whisperer said...

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M.P. Andonee said...

I have loved your blog, because as well as being a book reviewer, I am of course, an amateur writer! Thanks for your well wishes!