Monday, May 20, 2013

Manga Mondays #150: Swan vol. 8 by Kyoko Ariyoshi

Manga Mondays Meme

I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 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. 8 by Kyoko Ariyoshi


The trials and triumphs of hopeful prima ballerina Hijiri Masumi continue in the CMX version of this beloved international hit. When the naturally talented Kyogoku Sayoko injured her ankle, the chance of a lifetime fell into Masumis lap. Shes now faced with the challenge of representing Japan in a competition in Russia, far from home. Masumi is up against two of the finest Russian dance prodigies, but the tremendous stress and fear cause her to lose her hearing. Can Masumi dance the finest performance of her life without music to inspire her? (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 first half of this volume is a ballet. Hijiri and Kusakabe are performing the lead roles in a ballet and the pages show their movements and emotions for basically ever second of the show. I can't decide what I think about this. One on hand, this focus on the minutia of every ballet performance distracts from the plot, which I see as the backstage life of the dances. On the other hand, ballet is a central character in this manga, just as much as the individuals. And having such a large focus on ballet performance makes the manga different from others that I've read.

There is a subplot in the first half with Kaoru and her "dance mom." Kaoru's mother notice's that Hijiri is not holding herself correctly in her lifts, which means that Kusakabe is straining to support her weight. She takes pleasure in the fact that they will crash and burn during the performance. Luckily, Kaoru saves the day. She stands up to her mother and rushes back to tell Hijiri to do something different as she's going into the lifts.

The rest of the volume is set up for the next few volumes, the Tokyo World Ballet Competition. All the competitors are coming into town. We get reacquainted with Lilliana Maximova, the Russian prodigy. Poor Hijiri is really intimidated by her talent. We'll see if that's enough to throw Hijiri off her game.

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  1. It's interesting that manga has so much depth in it's storylines, which I would probably otherwise have been oblivious to, if it weren't for your reviews. I also find it cool that ballet - or the entire premise - is almost a character in its own right. So cool!

  2. I think this manga sounds really unique. Hmmm, I'm not sure if I'd rather ballet be the central part of the manga, but the series might not be the same without it.

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