Monday, July 1, 2013

Manga Mondays #155: Swan vol. 12 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. 12 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.

To Hijiri's great surprise, she does wonderfully at the Tokyo World Ballet Competition. She places second behind Lilliana, which is basically like placing first because Lilliana is so good that no one can compete with her. Hijiri gets offers to train and perform in both Moscow and New York. She faces a difficult choice but makes the right now. She chooses New York, because Moscow would be easy. Her sensei is there. She has friends there. There are so many people that she can lean on in Moscow. But Hijiri knows that she'll never truly succeed unless she learns to stand on her own. And New York will hopefully be the place for that.

The ballet dancers have a rare opportunity to have some fun in this volume, now that the competition is over. Hijiri, Aoi, and Kusakabe go to the zoo and mess around. It's easy to forget that they're all young kids (even if the guys are college aged).

Leonhardt surprises Hijiri by wanting to become her partner. He insists that they're exactly alike. Hijiri can't imagine herself more different than the cocky Leonhardt, but he has a point. They're both focused on their own performances, they push themselves, and ultimately they recognize their own flaws and correct them. Arguably this is a characteristic trait of every good dancer, but it does indeed fit Hijiri.

I'm looking forward to seeing more of Leonhardt in future volumes. His light hearted approach to dancing adds some needed levity to this weighty series.

Sign up for the Manga Mondays Meme!


  1. good summary! good to see your blog! so great! i can share this with my son!

  2. That is a gorgeous cover, kind of reminds me of Sailor Moon (the originals) Leonhardt sounds very interesting, I will have to add this series to my TBR!

  3. I am really kind of sad that I am just finding out about manga Monday. This is really exciting. I read the first bit of your summary and was instantly yelling no don’t mess with the foreign guy he will sabotage your rehearsal. I love this.

    from Sarah @ What is a PhD by Publication?

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