SOS

Hinako Ashihara, Author, Hinako Ashihara, Illustrator
Hinako Ashihara, Author, Hinako Ashihara, Illustrator . Viz $9.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-59116-735-8
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This collection offers up three love stories about sweet girls and the hot guys they fall for. Ashihara, creator of the popular Forbidden Dance series, distinguishes each of these formulaic romances with a unique narrative quirk. The dark side of the search for love is revealed in the title story, when high school matchmakers confront first a violent client and then a female stalker who has to learn to cope without the object of her obsession. "That Sweet Organ Song," set in Kobe at the time of the earthquake of 1922, is defined by its historical nostalgia, while the final story, "The Good Life," portrays the paradoxical love of a girl whose boyfriend treats her like a servant, or, as she complains, like she's his mom. Needless to say, love triumphs in the end, and readers in search of a solid love story will be rewarded. Ashihara draws the characters in typical shojo (girl's manga) style, with strong, clear lines delineating attractive young characters whose enormous eyes are ever trained on their objects of desire. The artist adds a personal touch to her work by sporadically including notes that explain the origins of the stories and open a window onto her creative process, drawing readers even further into the atmosphere of tender confession that these stories create. (Mar.)

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