Illustrated by Daisuke Hagiwara
Hori is a popular girl in school who does well and always has her hair and makeup done pretily. Miyamura is solitary type, sometimes assumed to be a hardcore anime fan, who gets great grades but doesn't really have many friends. When a tattooed, pierced young man shows up at Hori's home while she's in her house clothes with no makeup, she has no idea she's actually chatting with her classmate Miyamura! Both bond over their "other" sides that they don't want anyone at school to see, but they can be completely at ease with each other outside of school. Miyamura starts to help babysit her younger brother while Hori takes care of the house for her busy parents, and she becomes protective of their time, and honesty, with each other.
This was a very cute story that, I think, a lot of my students would relate to because they have very different sides of themselves when they go home, particularly with how many of my students become the caretaker for younger siblings when they leave school. I appreciate Miyamura's side of things as well. He doesn't want people to get the wrong impression of him because of his tattoos, but to him, they are works of art, not a sign of being "hardcore". The dress code at my school is pretty strict, so students are constantly having to take out piercings or cover tattoos while on campus, and I'm sure those studs go right back in their ears/noses/eyebrows when they leave for the day. The story is also a nice affirmation for their friendship that lets you be your true self.
Hagiwara's art and character design is very detailed. I appreciated Hori's various hairstyles, which is not something you often see with manga (it can make it difficult to keep track of characters). The transformation of the two characters between their school selves and home selves is really well done so that tracking them between both scenes is pretty easy.
There's nothing from the first volume that would make this inappropriate for middle school audiences, although the main characters are in high school, so it could skew that way eventually.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, School Age, Friendship, Realistic Fiction
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