Monday, May 13, 2013

Manga Mondays #149: Swan vol. 7 by Kyoko Ariyoshi

Manga Mondays Meme

I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog almost 3 years ago. It started out as a personal feature, but I decided to turn it into a meme last year. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme is a great way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.

The linky will be below my review.

Swan vol. 7 by Kyoko Ariyoshi


As the only exception to the Japan Ballet Association's scholarship program, underdog dancer Hijiri Masumi trains hard every day with other students who have all won the right to train under the best dance instructors. Because Masumi's technique leaves much to be desired, master instructor and genius dancer Alexei Sergeiev demands that she return to the basics to improve her technique. Masumi practices diligently, so that she will be chosen as one of three student performers in the Japan Ballet Company's special performance in Moscow. Eventually, some of the ballet students depart for various destinations around the world to further their dance careers. As Alexei leaves for Moscow, he reminds her once again to master the basics, because her journey has just begun. Hearing this heartening message, Masumi vows to work hard, and returns to the ballet studio to practice, only to find a handsome new foreign student has arrived. Will this newcomer support her in her quest to develop as a dancer, or will romantic entanglements become an obstacle? (courtesy of Goodreads)


*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.

The volume starts out after Aoi confessed his love for Hijiri. She didn't believe it at first - I think she thought he was just saying things to bring out the emotions in her dance. But once she figured out that he really was in love with her, there was nothing. She didn't talk to him or seem to react much herself. It was essentially like, "Wow, he really is in love with me. Huh." Meanwhile, she's still agonizing over the fact that she loves Kusakabe but he does not love her.

A lot of this volume is about Kaoru, one of Hijiri's classmates. She has the classic "dance mom." Her mother was a promising ballerina at one time and now lives vicariously through her daughters, pushing them harder than any instructor. We learn that Kaoru's mom was once a rival of Hijiri's mom, but Hijiri's mom beat her in a ballet competition. This loss embittered Kaoru's mom and is the source behind all her pushing. Lots of drama.

The volume finishes up with a competition between Kaoru and Hijiri for a role in a ballet. The two girls hit a snag when the judges decide they don't like either of their performances and don't want either to get the role. Someone intervened and convinced them to give the girls a chance. Hijiri wins the role narrowly.

While the romance part of the plot leaves something to be desired, I like that this volume introduces us to a new character and a new subplot, even if it is rather silly.

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  1. I remember reading about this series before, and I like the "classic Shoujo" feel the cover conveys, but.. underdog ballarina is one of those things. They have to work so hard and there is so much thrown their way.. I always end up yelling "JUST GIVE MY BABIES ALL THEY DESERVEEEE!!!" :'D

  2. DANCE MOMS!! Some of those stage moms are crazy & it sounds like this one bitterness is the driving force behind her.

  3. Haha dance's interesting how that concept seems to carry over to all realms of literature - even manga! Great thoughts, Alison!


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