Tuesday, November 24, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: NOT YOUR IDOL: Volume 2


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

MANGAKA: Aoi Makino
TRANSLATION: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Nancy Thislethwaite
LETTERS: Inori Fukuda Trant
EDITOR: Nancy Thislethwaite
ISBN: 978-1-9747-1517-6; paperback (September 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 focuses on high school freshman, Nina Kamiyama, who 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.”  In the wake of a brutal assault by a male fan, Kamiyama quits Pure Club, shuns her femininity, and starts dressing as a boy.  At Kaito High School, she keeps to herself, but fellow male student, Hikaru Horiuchi, realizes who she is.

As Not Your Idol, Vol. 2 (Chapters 4 to 6) opens, Horiuchi is under suspicion!  Is he really the stalker who attacked Nina six months ago when she was Karen Amamiya a.k.a. “Ren-Ren” and a member of Pure Club?  No, he's not, Nina insists, and she Horiuchi begin a serious relationship.  Still, someone else at Kaito High knows who Nina was once, so is she really safe?

Meanwhile, their classmate, Miku Nagasu, who is obsessed with getting the attention of boys, schemes to get Horiuchi all to herself.  Nagasu plans to do anything she can to get him, even if it puts herself in danger.  But when is dangerous just too dangerous?

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

THE LOWDOWN:  The first volume of the Not Your Idol manga is one of the most shocking manga that I have read this year.  Its themes of violence against women and of obsessive fans captured my attention and yielded a lurid first volume.

Not Your Idol Graphic Novel Volume 2 is just as stunning.  On the surface, creator Aoi Makino offers tales of catty girls, determined pop idol handlers, and horny high school boys.  Underneath this tale of high school love triangles is a burning hot story of friendship and exploitation.  Friends do whatever they can to help one another, but the exploiters are like predators, using others for their own selfish ends with gusto.

Makino, however, almost seems to suggest that the exploiters may not really know what they want, which can also be said for the star couple of Nina Kamiyama and Hikaru Horiuchi.  The final 30 pages of Vol. 2 encapsulate this malaise of confusion, fear, and indecision.

Once again, the translation by Tetsuichiro Miyaki and the English adaptation by Nancy Thislethwaite yield a story that is hard to stop reading.  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.  This is one of those times that I can say that a really good second volume actually surpasses a really good first volume.

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

10 out of 10

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


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