Can style propel well-worn subject matter into something much more substantive? Reading the first chapter of this manga brings up that question. The story of a pretty young girl named Haruna transferring to a new school starts off in a manner familiar to anyone with any experience reading fiction based on a high school setting. She doesn't fit in with any of the established high school cliques and compares high school to a mountain populated with monkeys: both value hierarchy. What better way to illustrate the students' hierarchy than the ever-popular idea of a high school musical? Haruna starts challenging the social system when she chooses nerdy Masaru for a role over the school's resident lady-killer. Akira's always attractive illustrations of teenage romance set the book apart. Scenes between Haruna and Masaru have a delicate look. There are figures in silhouette and beams of light shining through when Haruna finds herself falling for the boy she compares to a baby monkey. Despite the title, Akira never resorts to the "chibi" style. Her characters are all forceful and strong-looking. and her technical skills keep the familiar material fresh. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
It's hard enough fitting in at a new school while dealing with family problems... Will Haruna remain jaded and distance herself from everyone around her? Or will Masaru win her over with his monkey magic?
Gr 7 Up
Haruna sees the students in her new school, with their cliques and power struggles, as acting like monkeys on a mountain. She wants to keep to herself, but because she's beautiful, the boys start vying for her attention and the girls are getting jealous. Atsuyuki is usually the center of attention, so he assumes that Haruna will fall for him. However, his friend Macharu is mesmerized by her, and over time she grows to care for him, too. When she tells him her theory, he asks how she fits into it. It is his honesty that first begins to crack Haruna's armor, and it creates the first step of their surprising relationship. The other students are preoccupied with this drama, which seems to indicate that either they watch too many soap operas or that they don't see too many transfer students. The artwork is lively and bright, and the romantic scenes are filled with the prerequisite bright shining eyes and glowing snowflakes, moonbeams, etc. Readers who get caught up in the couple's first fight, first hand-holding, and first kiss will wait breathlessly for the other volumes in this series.-Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
Meet the Author
Shouko Akira made her debut in 1995 with Taiyo-kei ha Kimi no Mono (The Solar System Is Yours), which was serialized in Japan's Deluxe Bessatsu Shojo Comic. She is also the author of Times Two, a collection of five romantic short stories that's available from VIZ Media.
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