Monday, June 24, 2013

Manga Mondays #154: Swan vol. 11 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. 11 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.

Not only were Hijiri and Aoi not disqualified by the late arrival in the pairs part of the Tokyo World Competition, but they won first place! Now Hijiri is moving on to another part of the competition. She is paired with Leonhardt.

We see again Leonhardt's lax attitude about ballet and basically everything. When he doesn't show up at rehearsal, we see a rare display of temper from Hijiri. She accuses him of being irresponsible and of ruining their chances. Leonhardt counters that it's better to go with the flow and that he's already seen everything about Hijiri that he needs to know to dance with her.

To Hijiri's great surprise, Leonhardt is right. They dance together unrehearsed and do so splendidly. This seems rather unrealistic to me, but who knows. Leonhardt has the instinct to know just how and when to support Hijiri. Also, something about his attitude transforms Hijiri's dance into something ethereal.

We end the volume by finally realizing Hijiri's fatal flaw. It's so obvious that it's somewhat disappointing. She has a severe inferiority complex. When she sees better dances, she chokes. She did this the last time she went up against Lilliana and everyone is worried she'll do it again. She does start to seize up, but it helps that she overheard Sensei complaining about her fatal flaw. She's determined to rise above it and so she does with a wonderful performance.

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  1. Leonhardt seems like kind of a jerk, even though he ended up being right about her dancing. How can you miss rehearsals and practices and still be a top dancer?

  2. I do think that missing rehearsals and still winning is a bit far-fecteched,but some people do better the less they study. That's the only way I see that being slightly possible, especially if the character over-analyzes.

  3. I tend to over-analyze so I sympathize with Hijiri though I'm not sure I quite buy the whole not showing up to rehearsals and still do well at the event.


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