Manga-ka: Ume Aoki
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: January 2010
Synopsis: “Nothing much has changed at the Hidamari Apartments for some time: Miyako’s her usual, wacky self; Sae’s still writing novels; Hiro’s worrying about her weight; and Yuno’s still as thoughtful and adorable as ever! But believe it or not, time has been passing, and Yuno starts thinking about what the future holds for her, her friends, and her art as graduation looms ever closer. The immediate future of the Hidamari residents, however, involves two new first-year neighbors — the shy, polite Nazuna, and outspoken computer whiz Nori!”
When the cuteness of every day life reaches volume four, it falls from simple laughs to being simply repetitive. The character personalities which before were cute and humourous are exactly what they were in volume one and oddly enough this is in no way a good thing. Tossing in new characters who you feel you’ve met before fails to spice things up and Yuno’s worrying about what happens after graduation brings the whole story down.
The author tries to revive the story with the introduction of a few new characters but it’s just not enough. Nazuna is practically a clone of Yuno, shy modest and jittery, while Nori exists just as a complement to her. This new duo in the Hidamri Apartments feels far too much like a re-hashing of the previous pair of Miyako and the main character, Yuno. Though perhaps the new girls’ salvation will be in the fact that they seem to share at least one braincell between them.
Yuno and Miyako used to be funny, now they just come across as dumb. I’m not sure how art school works since I’ve never gone, but I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to get better. Neither of them seems to have improved in life or art in any way. ‘Ignorance is bliss’ should be some kind of personal slogan between them since they just can’t seem to get it together. Maybe I should cut them some slack though since this is only high school.
I would love to see Yuno grow as a person and not just living day to day having experiences and not learning anything from them. She reflects on events as they funfold (no that is not a typo) but I’m not sure how her character can grow if every day is sunshine. The dark clouds of graduation are a year and a few volumes of fluff away, perhaps I’ll be surprised and she wont trip off the stage at the ceremony.