Nina Kamiyama is trying to fly under the radar and attend her high school classes. She doesn't want anyone to find out that she used to be in Pure Club, an idol group that was super popular across Japan. After a fan assaulted her, she quit the group and begun her second life. Unfortunately, someone recognizes Nina as Karen, the former leader of Pure Club, and her new life begins to unravel. This story deals a lot with trauma, assault, exploitation culture, and more.
One of the things readers need to know going into this is what the concept of an idol group is. These are similar to Boy Bands in the US, but with a lot more rules. Participants are supposed to stay a certain size, they have an age out point, and the girls in idol groups are not allowed to date.
While the main crux of this story centers around assault and the trauma Nina is recovering from, the way that it is handled is sometimes less than delicately. This story gets marks for incorporating these difficult topics, but it was done through a moderately disjointed narrative. While discussing the Idol culture, much of the conversation is centered on men's perceived rights to female bodies, and some of the discussion here seems to reinforce these stereotypes. This might be something that is broken down later after the situation is completely set up, so I look forward to seeing how Volume 2 handles the exploitation culture.
The art style relies heavily on the type of shading that uses patterns, which is not one of my favorite styles. It often brings me out of the story as I notice the shapes and where else they're being used in the same panel. The characters themselves and the scenes they are in are well drawn despite the shading tool.
VIZ rates this for Teen Plus on account of the assault, sexualization of people, and the heavy topics incorporated in this story.
Sara's Rating: 6/10
Suitability Level: Grades 10-12
This review was made possible with a digital reader copy from the publisher through Edelweiss.
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
ISBN: 9781974715169 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 6/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Realistic Fiction, School Life, VIZ Media
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I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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