Cinderella Closet Volume 1
I didn’t expect to like another “schoolgirl has crush, gets a makeover, learns about life” manga, but the twists in Cinderella Closet volume 1 by Wakana Yanai kept me interested enough to want to read another volume.
“Country mouse” Haruka came to Tokyo for university. She had dreams of romance and popularity but finds herself working hard at a cafe and no time to be cute or do anything else but study. A random encounter with an attractive young woman, Hikaru, results in Haruka taking her new acquaintance as a beauty mentor. It turns out that Hikaru is studying to be a beautician, and she helps Haruka look pretty so Haruka can impress the co-worker she has a crush on.
After a successful plan to have a first date, Haruka begs Hikaru to teach her beauty tips and confidence. Only Hikaru has her own secret.
Through basketball and shopping, the two become an odd pair of friends. Haruka is oddly direct sometimes, while shy and unsure at others. Hikaru is spiky but actually helpful, in spite of tone, particularly when it comes to encouraging Haruka to live her own life and ignore expectations. Haruka’s naive honesty is balanced against Hikaru’s jaded cynicism, making them a surprisingly effective pair.
A comic is the perfect format for a story about appearances that also dives into emotions and perceptions. I’m rooting for this friendship. Cinderella Closet volume 2 is due out in July.