Title: Hitohira Vol 1
Author: Idumi Kirihara
May Contain Spoilers
Mugi is another character that I can really relate to. She’s very self-conscious, so much so that she can hardly speak in public. She stutters and stammers in the most painful of ways, making you cringe in sympathy. What then, is this shy girl doing in the drama club?
Mugi is a high school freshman, and she allows herself to be bullied into joining the drama club. The club is small, with only a few members, and it’s not even an official school club. But Nono, the driving force behind the group, is charismatic and passionate about theater, and so is everyone who listens to her plans for the future. Despite her reservations, Mugi gets swept up in Nono’s enthusiasm for acting, and she begins to find strength in herself with Nono’s support.
The aspect of this story that I liked the best is how the characters interact with each other. Mugi is quiet and shy, and when she’s forced to speak before others, it’s like she’s a scratched record – she just can’t get the words out of her mouth in a coherent way. There are times, however, when the words just fly out of her; when she discovered that she was accepted to Kumataka Art Academy, her exclamation of delight captures Nono’s attention. Here’s a girl with a powerful voice, that will project and captivate audiences. If only Nono knew how much work it was going to take to get Mugi to loosen up enough to deliver her lines in public!
I like how Nono’s love of theater ensnares Mugi, and makes her try to do something outside of her comfort zone. As Mugi struggles to make worthwhile contributions to the club, Nono encourages her, believing that she can get over her fear of public speaking. Nono is the type of person who believes that anything is possible – she makes up her mind that she’s going to do something, and then she gets it done. Even with formidable obstacles that she is forced to overcome, she keeps her positive outlook and strives to achieve her goals.
The little drama club gets sucked into a little drama of its own. The official drama club, from which Nono had defected, constantly badgers these drama wannabes, stirring up conflict that Mugi observes, but is never really caught up in. Nono and Mirei, leader of the other drama club, were once friends, but are now bitter rivals. Mirei doesn’t share Nono’s positive outlook on life, and she’s nurturing some resentment because Nono won’t stop acting. A showdown is brewing between the two clubs, and which ever gets the most votes after their performances during the school festival will be the only theater group to remain – the other will be eliminated!
Hitohira’s slow-pacing won’t be for everyone, but I enjoyed Mugi’s attempts to free herself from her shell and make a few friends in the process.
Rated for Teen
Review copy provided by Aurora