Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Manga-- Mai Oriru Hana

More ballet manga! This time, it's a much better paced one-shot (sort of like the graphic novel equivalent of a short story). Again, this isn't serialized in the US, so you can read it for free here. The translators translated "Mai Oriru Hana" as "Glittering Steps Toward Tomorrow," but I think it's more like "The Dancing Flower Blooms" or something like that.

Anyway, the plot is really short, sweet, and to the point. It's about a girl named Yuuka who goes to a school cultural festival and sees a beautiful upperclassman dancing ballet. The upperclassman is named Misaki, and Yuuka is determined to become as good as her. Yuuka starts taking ballet classes and applies to the same high school as Misaki in order to become closer to her and attend the same ballet after-school club. Later in the year, the club announces they will be performing at the cultural festival and they will be holding auditions for Misaki's dance partner. Yuuka is determined to get the part and works very hard, despite her freshman status, in order to become Misaki's duet partner.

*spoilers ahead*

Yuuka auditions even though she is only a first year and there are many other dancers in the club better than her. Since she dances with passion, she is given the role. Together, her and Misaki practice for the festival. Misaki is hard on Yuuka in order to help her improve.Yuuka doesn't mind since she understands that though Misaki may seem icy on the outside, she dances with passion and prefers to hide her emotions.
When the festival begins, Yuuka gets nervous, but Misaki tells her that everyone gets a little nervous and helps her feel better before they perform. They take the stage together and perform beautifully, and Yuuka finally achieves her dream of dancing alongside Misaki at a cultural festival.

The art looks really similar to the artist who drew Full Moon o Sagashite. And the eyes are HUGE. And since this is a manga, that's saying something, but I loved the ballet scenes. Luckily there were many.  

This story has a much stronger focus on ballet than Le Masque.  The story, though very short, makes you admire the protagonist's determination and does a really nice job of having an interesting story. I almost wish this were longer, but since it's only a one-shot, I guess I can say I'm satisfied.

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