Sunday, October 4, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: NOT YOUR IDOL: Volume 1


MANGAKA: Aoi Makino
TRANSLATION: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Nancy Thislethwaite
LETTERS: Inori Fukuda Trant
EDITOR: Nancy Thislethwaite
ISBN: 978-1-9747-1516-9; paperback (May 2020); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
168pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £7.99 UK

Sayonara Mini Skirt is a shojo manga written and drawn by Aoi Makino.  The series has been serialized in the Japanese manga publication, Ribon Magazine, since August 2018.  VIZ Media is publishing an English-language adaptation of the manga as a paperback graphic novel series, entitled Not Your Idol, under its “Shojo Beat.”

Not Your Idol, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 3) introduces Nina Kamiyama, a high school freshman.  Unlike other girls who wear miniskirts, Kamiyama wears slacks and has cut her hair so that she looks like a boy.  You see, Kamiyama was once Karen Amamiya, the “center” of the “miniskirt” pop idol, girl group, “Pure Club.”  One day, at a “handshake” event where the girls get to thank fans, a male fan brutally attacks Karen.

In the wake of an assault, Kamiyama quits 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.  So is Horiuchi, a judo club member, more than what he claims to be.

[This volume includes a message from the author and an illustration.]

THE LOWDOWN:  The Not Your Idol manga is one of the most shocking manga that I have read this year.  It isn't as twisted as the other manga to shock me this year, Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku, but it is quite intense.

Not Your Idol Graphic Novel Volume 1 dives deep into the subject matter of violence against women and girls.  The themes of obsession and trauma infuse this story with an edgy atmosphere that makes Not Your Idol as searing as one of those pot-boiler, suspense-mystery crime thriller novels.  [The ones about demented men who hurt women.]   Aoi Makino has developed Nina Kamiyama in such a way that readers will feel her psychological torments, constant fear, and self doubt, but she does so in such a manner that the readers will not be turned off by the darkness and certainly will not want to turn away from Kamiyama.

Tetsuichiro Miyaki's translation and the English adaptation by Nancy Thislethwaite yield a story that is hard to stop reading.  As soon as I was finished, I wanted more.  Inori Fukuda Trant's lettering conveys Not Your Idol's interior torments and slashing emotions.  Yes, you will want more, too, dear readers, when you try Not Your Idol.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of edgy shojo high school dramas will want the Shojo Beat title, Not Your Idol.

9 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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