Monday, January 26, 2015

Manga Monday: Does Hina's goodness prevent her from seeing others clearly?

Hina's sweet nature and love of those around her may make her blind to the dangers around her in Suki: A Like Story Volume 2.

Note: Suki: A Like Story Volume 2 is part of a series. For the review of Volume 1 click here. Otherwise, read on.

Everyone around her can't help but point out how good a girl Hina is. She puts everyone before herself, she treats her stuffed bears as her family, and is very concerned whether the lonely teacher who lives next door to her eats well.

But as her relationship with her neighbor-cum-homeroom teacher becomes more public, her friends are starting to wonder. No matter what Hina believes, almost no one is as good as she is, and she's had problems in the past. In fact, it's revealed that she's been kidnapped an unbelievable nine times. Every time she's made it home safely, but that doesn't mean that she always will. It was after that ninth abduction that she left her father's home; she simply doesn't want to be a bother anymore.

As the school year continues, Hina seems to find herself in stranger and stranger situations, despite the best efforts of her friends. She sees nothing wrong being seen closely with her teacher, a friend happens to be writing her favorite picture book series, and he has a bodyguard too. Throughout, Hina seems to be oblivious to the machinations around her.

Or at least willfully blind to it.

In many ways, Suki: A Like Story is very traditional 1990s shojo cuteness. Its saving grace, however, is the amazing writing that is the trademark of CLAMP. Fans of the author group will be accustomed to the layers of subplot, and the subtext that can be shown with just a glance between characters. This is shojo romance at its best, with just a bit of mystery to keep things interesting.

Highs: It's good to see that Hina is beginning to pick up on some of the stranger events going on around her, even if it's few and far between.

Lows: As well-raised as Hina is, it's hard to believe that she'd be oblivious to keeping up appearances, and wouldn't understand how spending so much time with her teacher while at school might come across.

Verdict: With a cliffhanger ending, Suki: A Like Story Volume 2 leaves the reader anxiously awaiting the answers that seem to be coming in Volume 3.

Further Reading: Bunny Drop, Yotsuba&!, Chi's Sweet Home

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