Hitohira Vol 2 & 3 by Idumi Kirihara Manga Review

Title: Hitohira Vol 2 & 3

Author: Idumi Kirihara

Publisher: Aurora

ISBN: 9781934496473 & 9781934496534

May Contain Spoilers

Super shy Mugi has to fight her stage fright and help her theater group put on a school play.  She’s been cast as the lead, and the realization that she will soon have to act in front of an auditorium full of people has her freaked out.  How can she possibly be expected to do this?  With her lack of confidence and her timid ways, will the play go on as planned?

Though Hitohira is populated with some fun characters, the plot continues to be rather bland.  I still enjoyed the relationship between Mugi and the extremely demanding Nono.  Once quiet like Mugi, Nono has found confidence and purpose in the theater group.  She wants Mugi to transform into a butterfly, and she keeps pushing her to open up and step forward, to take risks and stop being so passive.  Mugi is full of negativity, and she feels that she just can’t compare to Nono, which leads to tension between all of the members of the theater group. 

Hitohira is mainly about relationships, and how they shape the characters’ perceptions of each other.  There is an interweaving of friendships and rivalries, and as the story progresses, feelings shift and change.  Normally, this would be fascinating stuff, but the personalities involved don’t engage the reader.  Nono is so reserved that it’s hard to sympathize with her, and Mugi is so passive that you just want to shake her.  While the story is about resolving emotions, two of the most prominent figures don’t display enough feelings to really create a sense of connection with them.  While I was reading, I never became fully immersed in the characters, and that’s too bad, because there is so much promise  here for a powerful and moving read.  I like the theme of rising above yourself and living up to your potential, but the restrained presentation was very disappointing.

Grade: C+

Review copies provided by Aurora

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