Tuesday, December 1, 2009
My Heavenly Hockey Club, vol. 2
The story: The hockey club is up to it again -- from Hana's propensity to sleeping on stomachs to traveling across Japan in order to play other field hockey teams -- and hijinks ensue. When the student council's Ota brothers threaten to disband the field hockey team, Hana and crew must win a match or get kicked out. While Izumi is initially not concerned, he quickly changes his tune when Hana gets moon-eyed over one of the Otas. Will the team be able to find another field hockey team to beat, or are they out of luck?
Reaction: This was another fun volume, but it seemed really derivative. There were certainly echoes of that "other" reverse-harem comedy, Ouran High School Host Club. From a fascination with "poor" people to "playing" at judo, the field hockey team certainly mirrors several of the hosts from OHSHC. Thankfully, there are some unique moments that change it up, mostly coming by way of Hana and her unique personality and talents.
Deep thoughts: There's some fat jokes in this volume that subtly communicate the emphasis on thinness in Japan. In fact, it's illegal to be fat in Japan. While outlawing obesity in America would be near impossible with our focus on independence and freedom, it works in a collectivist culture like Japan's. Since priority is placed on the group, rather than the self, working with the group to solve the problem of obesity works in Japan. Notably, Japan has the lowest rate of obesity of all industrialized nations.
Artwork: There are some particularly funny moments in this volume. From playing a super-broke team to the judo team's makeover, Ai Morinaga does a great job with goofy scenes and characters. I particularly liked the first chapter and the exaggerated shojo-ness of it -- there's lots of sparkles and blushing cheeks, but not for what one would expect!
The verdict: If only... This series only comes in a far second to Ouran High School Host Club, which is much more original and entertaining. However, this series is entertaining in its own way and is better than quite a few other shojo manga series out there. My Heavenly Hockey Club is available in the U.S. from Del Rey.