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
ISBN: 9781591162148
Viz, 2003

Also available with volumes 2 and 3 in Hot Gimmick VIZ BIG edition, vol. 1: ISBN 9781421523484

  • Eva

    | She/her Supervising Children’s Librarian, Alameda Free Library

    Editor and Review Coordinator

    Eva Volin is Supervising Children’s Librarian for the Alameda (CA) Free Library. She cowrote “Good Comics for Kids: Collecting Graphic Novels for Young Readers” for Children & Libraries and is a contributor to the forthcoming ALSC Popular Picks for Young Readers. She has served as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics. She has also served on several YALSA committees, including Great Graphic Novels for Teens and the Michael L. Printz Award. Eva is a regular contributor to School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog and is an occasional reviewer for Booklist.

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