Remember back in high school when you would convince your mother that you were *cough* much too sick to *cough* go to school and as soon as she left for work you would *cough, cough* turn on Days of our Lives to see what Jack and Jennifer were up to? No? Maybe it was just me. But it is the same kind of compelling/repellent characters in quasi-believable situations combined with over the top drama that draws me to Hot Gimmick. Hatsumi is a good girl who cares more about others than she cares about herself. Ryoki is a controlling jerk who has never had a reason to grow up. Azusa is the pretty boy who has returned to town determined to solve the mystery behind his mother s death. Shinogu is Hatsumi s brother who has a few secrets of his own. Put these four characters together, add a little revenge, mistaken identity, parental scheming, and a dash of sexual tension, and the result is pure soap opera. Miki Aihara s artwork is clean, the layout is easy to follow, and there are very few shoujo moments of butterflies and flowery backgrounds, making the story seem more immediate and realistic. It is because of this sense of realism that Hot Gimmick, and Hatsumi in particular, can be difficult to buy into. A soap opera depends on the viewer’s ability to suspend disbelief. If the audience is unwilling to go along with the outrageousness of the characters and plot, the whole thing falls apart. In order for Hot Gimmick to work, the reader must be willing to wait a very, very long time as Hatsumi slowly, slowly begins to assert herself. For some, the wait may be too long.
Hot Gimmick, vol. 1
by Miki Aihara
Also available with volumes 2 and 3 in Hot Gimmick VIZ BIG edition, vol. 1: ISBN 9781421523484