Not Your Idol, Vol. 1 by Aoi Makino – ⭐⭐⭐
I enjoyed it, wanted to read more and was disappointed to get to the end. The story and art felt pretty familiar though, so nothing that really blew me away.
Expected Release Date: May 5, 2020
For an enjoyable short read, for a familiar style, for some questions around heavy topics addressed in light-ish ways, for surprise moments of hilarious dialogue
A psychological suspense series about a girl who has given up her life as an idol after being assaulted by a fan. After that day, she stopped being a girl. In the wake of an assault, Nina Kamiyama, a former idol in the group Pure Club, shuns her femininity and starts dressing as a boy. At high school she keeps to herself, but fellow student Hikaru Horiuchi realizes who she is. What secrets is she keeping? The shocking drama starts.
While enjoyable, this manga didn’t blow me away with anything particularly unique. The setup found here in the first installment was enough to make me interested in the story and want to continue reading it, but didn’t have much I haven’t seen before. It’s worth a read if you’ve got time, but it’s not one that I think adds much new to the existing amounts of manga yet.
What I’m most optimistic about is seeing the story continue, as I feel this somewhat mediocre start could lead to a well-developed and captivating story overall. It just needs the time to get there! The ending seemed like an odd choice – and that’s all I’ll say – but I’m willing to give it a chance to grow into something.
The main contention around assault, femininity, and skirts wobbled a bit between a deep and considered investigation of the problem, and something a bit lighter and cliche. While we do see Karen struggling with the aftermath of her experiences, we also see the people – girls and women as well as men – who downplay the actions and reactions of those in these situations. There are also some throwaway lines, though, and moments where the tone doesn’t seem to match up to what I would expect.
The art style is pretty standard, with line drawings and shading to help distinguish the elements on the page. Overall that was successful, but again, nothing groundbreaking. There were moments of dialogue, however, that had me absolutely cracking up. This was definitely another one to add to my list of things others question me about while I’m reading! For whatever reason I really did not expect Karen to be so hilarious, and it was an amazing surprise. The “horny gorillas” line came early and set me up to expect more moments like it.
Thanks to NetGalley and Viz Media for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.