Tuesday, June 30, 2009
My Heavenly Hockey Club, vol. 1
The story: High schooler Hana loves only two things in life: eating and sleeping. In fact, she loves sleeping so much she studied relentlessly to get into the prestigious high school down the street simply so she could sleep in that much longer. But, when classmate Izumi literally runs into her one day, he asks her to join the field hockey club. Of course, Hana realizes the morning practices will ruin her morning sleeping routine, so she says "no." But, the promise of traveling to away games, with luxurious futons and delicious, regional food, draws her in. Just what has Hana gotten herself into?
Reaction: This is a really hilarious story with a very non-traditional heroine. There's no pining after Izumi (although he does like her), nor trying to attract any of the boys in this reverse-harem comedy. Instead, Hana's true love -- food -- seems to draw her into each silly predicament and adventure the hockey club has. There are also several parallels to that other reverse-harem comedy, Ouran High School Host Club, especially with the rich boys who have the money to do anything and travel anywhere, a cold, right-hand man to the club's leader and goofy twins who play off one another all too well.
Deep thoughts: Hana's sleeping addiction reminded me of narcolepsy, or when people fall asleep suddenly for no reason, at any time. In some ways, she seems to have that problem, too, especially when she performs feats of extreme strength or athletic ability during her naps. I also love Hana's "food comas," wherein she falls fast asleep after sharing a big meal, often with Izumi. Anyway, it's not uncommon for teenagers to sleep a lot, as it's when they're growing the most. When I was in high school, I think the longest I slept was for 17 hours after being awake for 32 hours straight. But, that pales in comparison to the 64 hours Hana sleeps for in chapter two!
Artwork: While Ai Morinaga's art isn't the most detailed I've ever seen, it does seem to be a step up from the standard shojo fare. Although the cast of characters doesn't seem particularly distinct judging from the volume's cover, they are easy to tell apart within its pages (with the exception of the twins, of course). Scenes are also done well, panels flow nicely enough and the food has a realistic look.
The verdict: If only... This book has almost too many parallels with Ouran High School Host Club. While I do enjoy the premise itself and like that there is a heroine who isn't all moon-eyed by being surrounded by all those handsome boys, I can't help but compare the two. But, on its own, My Heavenly Hockey Club is a funny and enjoyable read, and a nice change from the usual romantic comedy. My Heavenly Hockey Club is available in the U.S. from Del Rey.