Manga-ka: Hotaru Odagiri
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: September 2007
Synopsis: “At the Ouka Acadmeic Institute, an elite all-male private school for the nation’s most gifted, exists a student council with some extraordinary members. Among them is Yuushi Satou, the student council president admired by every student. Despite his cool, elegant demeanor, he is a passionate leader. In fact, unbeknownst to him, his concealed passion is what makes him attractive to the rest of the students.”
Invisible Boy follows the life and escapades of the exclusive Ouka Academy’s student council. Led by the nearly perfect student council president Yuushi Kitou, they’re a diverse group of bishonen out to make the most of their days together at school and be sure that all members are included.
Most of this first book focuses on Nagi Tokieda, one of the council’s secretaries. Shy, introverted and kind, his painful past is revealed to his friends in the student council and they all wish to help their troubled classmate. Yuushi Kitou in particular finds himself becoming more and more fond of Nagi and wants nothing more than to put a smile on his face. The emotion behind Nagi’s sadness is moving and it’s touching to read these characters trying to help him without being too intrusive.
Invisible Boy brings together a vibrant cast of characters but has a little difficulty managing a cast so large. The characters are introduced almost all at once and with some designs similar in appearance to one another, making for a confusing time trying to figure out who’s who. Readers will probably find at least one character here they like with an entire council to choose from but it may take a second read through to make sure they have them all straight.
Hotaru Odagiri’s art style really pops off the page in the black and white medium of manga. Her characters are expressive and lively with attractive designs that shouldn’t let down any fans of more shoujo-styled male characters. The entire cast meets comfortably between beautiful and masculine. Sometimes the pages are a bit cluttered with multiple characters and numerous dialogue boxes scattered about but the story manages to keep a nice sense of pacing and isn’t hard to follow.
By the end, Invisible Boy has proven itself to be a fun, and surprisingly sweet, story. While sometimes the number of characters present makes things a tad difficult to keep straight, it’s still an entertaining and touching introduction to these students, making volume two a book worth looking forward to.