Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Review: My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over! by Tetsu Tsutsui

 And here's today's 2nd review circling around the theme of friendship! Due to requests from my younger readers, I've been trying to squeeze in more Manga, Comics, Graphic Novels, and such. This one sounded great, and the cover is cute! It deals with forming new friendships and promises humor and sweetness as well.

Ready to take a peek with me?

Book One
by Tetsu Tsutsui
Illustrated by Koyubi Sugawara
Kodansha Comics
Young Adult Humor / Contemporary
192 pages

Chiro-chan is a world-class idol... at least, to Sakiko Manaka, your run-of-the-mill hard-core idol fan. So when Chiro -- real name Chihiro -- ends up sitting next to her in school, Sakiko's world is turned upside-down, and all her brain cells vanish. After all, how can she concentrate when her absolute fav is just inches away?! But she needs to be on her A-game, because she may not be the only one who is totally gaga for Chihiro...

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All sorts of surprises hit in this cute tale of a girl, who encounters her biggest idol and even gets the chance to become true friends.

Sakiko Manaka is a normal girl, who superly adores a talented star, Chiro-chan. When a new girl arrives at school and sits only a desk away, Sakiko can't believe her idol now sits right next to her. Concentrating on school is out of the question, and instead, Sakiko's determined to become friends with amazing mission! But when another girl in class proves to be a super-fan-girl, too, with similar intentions but not so great means, the battle is on.

I do enjoy the art in this one. Sakiko and Chiro-chan come across wonderfully as, especially Sakiko's emotions radiate from every page in the same over-the-top manner that a true fan girl needs to have. They simply draw a smile and make it hard not to root for Sakiko no matter how overly strong this idolizing is. Plus, the text mixed well with each scene and really creates a nice balance, which flies by easily and draws in, at the same time.

This is a humorous book about forming friendship with two girls, who are very different, and yet, face struggles which the other one can balance out. The situations are funny but do strike a familiar chord and reflect some of the same issues readers face every day...just not quite like in this story. It's not a problem to root for both girls as they struggle past their own problems and near friendship more and more.

While there is tons to enjoy, I did have a problem with the 'other' character. This one is not mentioned in the blurb and added a direction I'm not sure how to see. The other fan girl in the class, who also tries to develop a type of friendship with Chiro-chan, is much more ill-intentioned. Bullying and mean plots twists problems in, which if fine if it'd be seen as such. But in this book, it seems to be an attempt at a comic relief, which doesn't quite work. Instead, I was left wondering about the girl's background and wished she would get help of some sort. 

As to the future reads, I'm not sure where this series will go. this first book was a fun read, for the most part, but it's not clear how things will advance or heighten from this point. But I guess I'll have to wait and see. And I do think book 2 will be worth a read to find out.

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