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Miki Falls : Spring - Review
Article by Scott Tingley, August 23, 2007

There are a few things going on in this book that I cannot follow at all. There are some aspects of Japanese culture that are…….foreign to me but the nice thing is that for someone that reads manga there is no problem (teachers take note: maga = social studies!). And by someone I mean middle and high school girls. Really, if you don't fit into that category you may not be that interested, but if you do, or if your entertainment tastes are similar to that of a grade ten girl (you know who you are – no shame in going to Aquamarine on opening day) this is the manga for you.

It's spring—a time for new beginnings. This is Miki Yoshida's final year of high school, and she's determined to make this the best year yet. Miki is in control . . .

. . . until Hiro Sakurai shows up.

The tall, handsome new student is hiding something, and Miki wants to know what. As she breaks down Hiro's defenses, she is unnerved by how much she cares about him. Too bad he is the one guy who can't care for her back. But Miki is falling for Hiro, and nothing's going to stop her from getting close to him—not even his dangerous secret. (from harperteen.com's description of vol 1)

Mark Crilley (author of the acclaimed Akiko series) has written and illustrated a story that revolves around Miki and Hiro and a secret plot involving ancient mysteries and the fate of the world…sort of. The books are narrated by young Miki, so the point of view is hers, and because of who she is the relationship troubles of her and her friends are magnified. They take on, for example, the same seriousness of parents getting divorced. This is how teens often feel when going through rough patches with friends or significant others, so it feels genuine.

Oh, if only I had grown up reading manga, or if I wasn't too lazy to read Manga for Dummies (too many words – not enough pictures….joke….really!) I might be able to dazzle you with the terms that describe the category of manga this is, and maybe even the name of the art style, but I didn't. So, I'll tell you again that this is written for girls. Some more educated in manga may even say that this is not even true manga since it is written by an American for a North American audience, but it is created in a manga style by someone that clearly understands Japanese culture. The art is manga with some small American comic storytelling influences. This is a good thing. I liked the style, but the thing I enjoyed most about it was Crilley's choice of panels. He often takes a creative approach to how he breaks up the page, but it is never confusing – which can sometimes be a problem when an artist decides to mix-things-up.

So in closing. Miki Falls : Spring (vol 1) and Summer (vol 2) are well written and sweetly illustrated. Also, this is for young teens. Lots of mushy love stuff. Miki Falls : Summer is out now and it continues the storyline nicely. Miki Falls: Autumn will be in stores September 25, 2007


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