Comic Books Magazine

Hitohira Vol 1 Review

Posted on the 14 March 2014 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG


Title: Hitohira
Genre: Highschool, Drama, Teen
Artist: Izumi Kirihara
Publisher: Futabasha (JP)
Original Release Date: October 2008
Free Preview: >>HERE<<

There’s nothing more boring than watching an indecisive, insecure character constantly self-deprecate while surrounded by an energetic, supportive peer group. And that’s exactly what Hitohira is.

Hitohira is about one of the drama clubs at an art school, and focuses on one of the new members, freshman Mugi. Mugi is a shy girl that has a lot of anxiety around other people. The club president, Nono, sees a lot of potential in her and pushes her to become one of the leading members in the club. The club is in desperate need of Mugi’s ability because they are in competition with the other drama club and may be disbanded. Nono has her own secrets, however, and the series follows the intense history between the two drama clubs, the personal dilemmas of the members, and Mugi’s journey in self-discovery.

I’m convinced that if you removed all the extraneous dialogue–all the ums and wells and pervasive ellipses–that this volume would be around 10-20 pages shorter. This volume could have used a close editing eye because there is so much extraneous dialog that the story just kind of drags on without purpose. We meander through Mugi’s insecurities and self-doubts, and instead of them being a portrait of someone’s inner mental balance and elucidating elements of the human persona, they drag the story down with it. Mugi makes it a point at every possible opportunity to let everyone know she can’t do it. While at some point everyone has felt this way about something, Mugi feels it all the time about everything, and the negativity and self-deprecation is a burden to this series rather than a moment of personal honesty that it could have been.


Likewise, the seriousness of the two club leaders, Nono and Mirei, is overwhelming for high schoolers their age. As an adult and someone who has left the troublesome years of high school adolescence far behind her, I have a hard time relating to the characters in any series that treat high school life as the end all be all. High school is so incredibly limiting in its scope and allowance of reality, and its both silly and kind of sad when high school characters act with such grim determination to fulfill all their life goals before they graduate high school. While Nono may have had to grow up a little since contracting a possibly life-altering disease, all her peers seem to unnecessarily accept responsibility and fault for her burden. The fatalistic tone makes the story depressing and overdramatic rather than hopeful and inspiring.

I usually don’t mention artwork except when it’s bad, which is why I’m mentioning it here. The artwork is juvenile at best. It resembles something you would doodle during class trying to keep yourself from falling asleep to a boring lecture. The untrained, simplified design and proportioning only draws out the series’ flaws more and more. It seems to highlight the immaturity of the characters and story and makes the seriousness appear ridiculous and unnecessary. It just doesn’t do Hitohira any favors.

That's right, you can see through the table.

That’s right, you can see through the table.

The only real saving glory of Hitohira is the sibling relationship between the Nishidas. It’s fun, playful, painfully accurate at times, and was the only part of this volume that I really enjoyed. Kai’s character in particular was well-done and funny. However, they are such a minor part of the whole volume that it still doesn’t justify the rest of the series’ faults.

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