Title: Stolen Hearts Vol 1
Author: Miku Sakamoto
May Contain Spoilers
Shinobu Okuma’s day goes from bad to worse when she spills a carton of milk and most of it ends up in Miharu Koguma’s bag. Koguma is a hulking giant and his stern expression scares all of his classmates. When Shinobu discovers that she’s ruined a kimono, she feels so awful about it that Koguma easily pressures her into making things right by working for his grandmother at her kimono shop. Though Shinobu is terrified of Koguma, she agrees to help out. As she gets to know him, she discovers that she’s misjudged him. Koguma is kind and caring, and Shinobu is falling in love with him!
This was so cute! Okuma is tiny and petite, unlike her name, which means “big bear.” Koguma is also misnamed, because his name means “bear cub.” Like everyone else in her class, Shinobu has misjudged Koguma because he’s big and because he always has a stern expression on his face. When Shinobu starts working with him, she learns that you can’t judge people by the way they look, and she falls head over heels for him.
The story is very simple, but it’s charming nonetheless. The characters are so much fun, especially Koguma’s mercenary grandmother. She is always scheming to make a buck, and most of the time, Shinobu and Koguma have no choice but to help her carry out her plans to rake in the dough. Grandma is overbearing and strong willed, and even Koguma can’t stand up to her.
Shinobu is pretty strong willed too. When she realizes that she’s made a mistake about Koguma, she is determined to put things right by making their classmates see that he isn’t as scary as they all think. This doesn’t go as smoothly as she would have liked, and so most of the conflict in the story comes from Shinobu’s efforts to try to get everyone else to see that Koguma is a nice guy and isn’t anything like they all think. Koguma is accustomed to people running in fear when he enters a room, so he isn’t very hopeful that they will ever accept him enough to want to be his friend.
The pacing of Stolen Hearts won’t appeal to everyone, as the events meander along at a rather leisurely clip. It’s like taking a stroll through a crowded street, stopping every now and again to really take in the sights or to partake in a little window shopping. There is a lot of attention paid to kimonos and yukatas, and some may find the proper method of donning the garments a little dull. I found the premise and the execution charming, and I’m looking forward to the next volume.
Review copy provided by CMX