by Chihiro Tamaki
published by Aurora Publishing; $10.95 US
Michiko is still pursuing her dream of being a model, even though she has little understanding of what’s involved. Her first task is to learn how to walk in high heels. She gives up quickly, embarrassed to be so tall, but more because she has no work ethic, no understanding of the time and effort needed to achieve meaningful goals, without quick gratification.
Her lack of patience makes her too eager to rush ahead into things she’s not ready for (but she’s unaware). She doesn’t realize the gifts she’s been given, like her teacher’s attention. She has no trust and no knowledge; about all she does have is stupid determination. And a bipolar personality that swings abruptly from baseless confidence to abject apathy.
Meanwhile, Mihara, the fashion designer whose show Michiko crashed earlier, refuses to make compromises, even when it separates him from his family. (They think design is women’s work.) But my favorite character is the bitter, aged former model who’s trying to tutor Michiko. She’s drawn as skull-like and shadowed with hooded, angry eyes. She’s seen a lot, and it hasn’t been for the better. She’s tired but giving one more try to helping Michiko. And after a flashback to the challenges she faced in her career, she’s much more sympathetic. I really feel for her having to put up with Michiko’s infuriating mood swings.
Compared to the first volume, there are some publication changes. The paper in book two is softer, less thick, more like other manga volumes. That makes the book thicker, which makes the binding less tight, which makes the book easier to read without worrying about breaking the spine. It’s also 70 pages longer for the same price.
There are preview pages at the publisher’s website. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)