Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Heavenly Hockey Club, v. 1

Created by Ai Morinaga
Published in the U.S. by DelRey Manga

Slugline: For once, the boy and the girl are both incredibly ludicrous.

Hana has worked long and hard to get into a prestigious local school. But for once it was not to prove something to her parents or to meet up with a cute guy that she had a crush on ever since she was a small child. No, she wants to sleep in, and the closest school just happened to have the hardest standards. But on the way there, she is accidentally hit by the car of one of the most powerful students at the school, Izumi, who decides upon meeting her that her indestructibility would be useful to have around in the Hockey Club. A club of course, that doesn't know how to play hockey, but they do go very far during away games, stay at nice resorts and indulge in food. All of which seems to be ideal to Hana, but unfortunately the morning practices involve learning which end of the stick is up and mean that she has ended up not getting any extra sleep. And despite all of their practice they never actually get to play a game, despite their best efforts to at least end up on the field to play.

Do Izumi and Hana have something going on between them? Yes, but it's overshadowed by the fact that their obsessions blind them to, well, reality. Usually one of the main characters in a manga is the voice of sanity or reason, but fortunately here that character seems to be relegated to a minor supporting role so he is easily ignored. It is the story's fidelity in taking itself not very seriously, but never pushing the characters in areas of insanity, that walks a fine line. Why the characters do crazy things is never unbelievable, but what they do they is. Despite being over-the-top, I still felt that the characters were real. The subject of the story is fluff, nothing out of the ordinary and one may even say it is less important than most other such stories, but the writing is such that you never really notice that the story is really about nothing. Well, less than the nothing that most relationship manga seem to fall into.

My Heavenly Hockey Club, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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