The Knockout Makers, vol. 1

Toshihiro does makeup. Ryouhei does skin treatments, fitness, and diet. Nobuo does hair. Together they are “The Knockout Makers.” By asking for their help on a special cell phone website only available for 10 minutes at midnight, girls who want to change their image, to become more than what they are, have their dreams answered.

At first, the plot sounds like a makeup company ad and I was worried that this manga would focus more on style over substance. However, I was happy to see that this funny and uplifting shojo title is, like the girls who are the focus of each chapter, more than it appears. Instead of falling prey to the Hollywood stereotype of the geeky girl who only needs to take off her glasses to be hot, Hashimoto’s boys help each girl see the beauty that is living inside. The chubby girl isn’t exhorted to eat less, but rather to eat healthier and, moreover, to embrace her love of food. The athletic girl is still a jock after the K.O.M. team gets done, though she does have a better haircut.

Hashimoto’s art is bishonen heavy, fitting for the tale. What appealed to me most is that she really does try to make over the girl in each chapter without changing too much of her to be believable. And she never makes them ugly, simply lacking in self esteem and skin care tips. Her page layouts are a little cluttered, but not so much as to be unreadable. As each chapter progresses, we’re shown a little more of the boys’ backstories and I’m assuming that trend will continue in later volumes. For now, though, they remain handsome men who love to make young women happy and what’s not to like about that?

The Knockout Makers, vol. 1
Kyoko Hashimoto
ISBN: 978-1-59816-824-2
TokyoPop, 2008