Title: Kasumi Vol 1
Written by: Surt Lim
Art by: Hirofumi Sugimoto
Publisher: Del Rey
May Contain Spoilers
When Kasumi and her father move from the city, she is forced to leave all of her friends behind. Not wanting to trouble her dad who is struggling to raise her after the death of her mother, Kasumi puts on a brave face and tries to make the best of the situation. When they take a break on their journey to their new home, she falls out of a tree, but is saved by mysterious lights. Now she has the power to turn invisible! But only for as long as she can hold her breath.
This high school melodrama seemed like a collection of every possible cliche imaginable. Peppy heroine – check. Mean rich girl – check. Geeky good guy – yup, he’s here, too. The list just goes on and on, tediously following Kasumi as she’s mercilessly bullied, all for the sin of having her seat assignment next to hunky Ryuuki.
Kasumi definitely skews to a younger audience. The repetitive plot never grabbed my attention, and I started to feel like I’ve read this all before. Several times, in fact. It wasn’t terribly original, and after Kasumi is bullied for better than half of the book, it got a little boring. All of the characters were one-dimensional, and the story just never went anywhere.
When Kasumi transfers to her new school, she learns that it’s an exclusive high school where all of the rich kids go. The first people she meets are Ryuuki, the handsome student-council president, and his number one fan, Reina. Ryuuki has a fan club, ala Fruits Basket, and Kasumi quickly gets on their bad side. This causes her no end of grief, and me no end of exasperation. Ryuuki just looks on as the girls harass Kasumi, which leads to the subtraction of brownie points for him. Nerdy Yuuta was so much cooler than Ryuuki – at least he came to her defense on more than one occasion.
A few concepts of the story did appeal to me. After Kasumi’s mysterious encounter with the lights, she discovers that she has the ability to turn invisible. But only for as long as she can hold her breath. That gives this particular power an added complication so it’s a little more interesting. Other students seem to have been visited by the magic lights, and have special powers, too. Spacey Maiko has a weird habit of spontaneously breaking into dance, and I have to admit that I wanted to learn what that was all about.
The art is really cute, despite the characters often lacking noses. This strange facial disfiguration was only slightly bothersome, once I got used to it. The character designs are more on the cartoony side, but their large pool ball eyes and lipless mouths are very expressive. The backgrounds occasionally become cluttered as screen tones crowd the panels, but overall, I found the illustrations full of energy.
Rated for Teen
Review copy provided by Del Rey