Hitohira Manga, Volume 1 (English)

December 15th, 2008

“In manga, no one can hear you scream….”

Or not scream, as in the case of Hitohira, Volume 1.

The manga follows almost exactly the same (non-)plot as the anime of the same name (reviewed last year by guest reviewer Hafl.) In short, a girl named Asai Mugi, who suffers from debilitating shyness, is coerced into joining one of two Drama clubs in the school, thus thrusting herself both literally and figuratively on to both dramatic and political stages.

Also like the anime, Mugi’s problems almost immediately take back seat to those of the charismatic and dedicated – perhaps too dedicated – club leader, Ichinose Nono and her intense love/hate relationship with the leader of the other Drama club, Mirei Sakaki.

Because this is manga, we are not forced to listen to Mugi’s protracted mumbling, or ineffective stutterings. Unfortunately, it also means that we aren’t able to listen to Nono’s wonderful voice. But we’ll take the bad with the good, I guess.

I was underwhelmed by this manga, but only because I find the story to be as thin as Mugi’s voice. The reproduction of the book is quite good, and the art is pretty much exactly what we have come to expect from the anime. Interestingly, although the book was published at the original Japanese size and reads right-to-left, Aurora has chosen to not use honorifics and reversed the names into Western name order…. It seems a bit haphazard, but doesn’t particularly affect the story.

Perhaps future volumes will be more Yuri-riffic, but this series relies mostly on Yuri goggles in any case. Nono and Mirei are a solid “best friends gone bad” with a frisson of maybe…if we squint hard…a little bit more than just that.


Art – 6
Characters – 7
Story – 6
Yuri – 2
Service – 1

Overall – 6

Much thanks to Okazu hero Dean C. (who is clearly angling for superhero status ^_^) for sponsoring today’s review!

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3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nono really is what made this series rock, both in manga and anime. Without her it’s a bit of a bore, unfortunately… Which reminds me that volume 6 is out in Japan, guess I’m still going to order it.

  2. Motormind says:

    This review made me watch the anime and, by golly, am I glad I did. The whole affair at times gave me the idea of being a love story between Mugi and Nono, with the rivalry between the two clubs thrown in as window dressing. Especially the ending with Mugi and Nono on the rooftop appealed to the overly romantic side in me, since it sounded so much like a mutual confession. They don’t reject each other, but still have to part, which makes it all quite bitter.

    Of course, I don’t share your distaste of shy lead characters, which made it all perhaps a bit more enjoyable for me. And Kawasumi as Nono is a real boon.

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