Otomo Megane’s Himitsu (ひみつ) is a series of good ideas that don’t live up to their potential for two very specific reasons.
The plot follows a series of girls falling in love with other girls, at least one of these is meant to closely parallel a second story from the past – in which one of the main players is an adult in the present.
This shouldn’t be particularly complicated, except that Otomo has exactly three character types – blonde glasses girl, short-haired girl and long-haired girl. Each story follows possibly the same three, or three so similar that it’s impossible to tell the difference – other than names, which were never presented in full, so we aren’t *really* sure who we’re looking at without working at it. Yes, it was absolutely true that, after I figured out which story I was following, I knew who was who. But overall, I’d rather not have to work that hard at it.
None of this would have been problematic if the stories were standalones, each telling a slightly different variation of three similar young women. Unfortunately, several of the chapters were continuations, not always in linear order. And the parallel stories were meant to be similar, which further blurs the lines. None of the stories were particularly memorable, which doesn’t help.
Individually, the stories are a variation on the theme of young love. There’s one of everything, from love triangles, to unrequited crushes, to crushing on an older girl and that old chestnut “she left to get married.” None of the stories themselves were bad, and the art is pleasant in a minimalist way.
Art – 7
Stories – 6
Characters – 3 They felt like the same characters over and over – even when they weren’t meant to be
Yuri – 7
Service – 1
Overall – 5
The bottom line is that the artist’s lack of variety forced me to work harder at following the stories than the work itself warranted.