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A Well Worked Mix: Koori no Joou

Posted in: Anime News

Synopsis

This is the tale of a shy young girl who has trouble expressing herself named Nika. One day when trying to get her eraser back from her classmate Nanao, she discovers that he is in fact a figure skater and becomes enchanted with the idea of figure skating. How will things turn out for her with her new found passion?

The Good

The first thing to notice about the manga is how much softer looking the art is compared to other shoujo works, especially when involving a sport. Most often you see harsh lines and more angular designs with a shoujo sports story but not this one. Here you can actually see that the artist has knowledge on the figures and movements of figure skating and mixed in with the general art, makes everything rather aesthetically pleasing.

As for  the plot and characters, it is generally well done though it is clear that there is some cliche aspects to it. With the main protagonist, Nikka, her portraya was rather well done in terms of her development. As while with other shoujo works, when the protagonist discovers a passion and her skill in it, her flaws are placed in the back burner when focused on this.

But here we see that while she does flourish in her new passion, he general flaw of being not confident and not being able to express herself hasn’t been put to this side and rather was dealt with rather realistically with her development. The same could be said for the second story involving Chikusa, a female skater who knows the main male lead Nanao. On the note of the main male character, the romance of the story was rather well done for Nika and Nanao’s side.

When a confession happens in a shoujo it either goes two ways, sweet and romantic or rather bittersweet. This story takes on rather different turn to it as story doesn’t immediately push the two as a couple when they realize their feelings after the initial confession but rather shows takes a rather mature route of them trying to figure things out but not being opposed to the idea as they had never been in this type of situation before. Compared to many other shoujo works, this is rather refreshing.

The Bad

From the summary to the first chapter you would think that this would mainly be Nika’s story and her journey towards her discovered dream of becoming a princess. But nope, with little to no warning, by the third chapter, it becomes Chikura’s story, and not just any story, an unrequited love story filled with multiple cliches from the love triangle to male best friend and all mixed in with her conflicts to her skating career.

It can be argued that the story is taking on different perspectives and arcs to fully flesh out different characters connected to the main story. However, it can also be argued that the premise had already set itself up to be Nika’s story only to fast forward in the second chapter then take a total shift to Chikura’s story for a total of five chapters, which is considerably larger than it was should have been with her as seemingly a side character.

Looking at her story as a whole, it is not all that different from many other stories with her character type. The only thing that makes her different is how things are mixed in with her struggles of her skating career and the way she handles things. But it doesn’t change that the story and the characters themselves are something from a rather generic love story.

To summarize things, the story moved way too fast in terms of character arcs and story development for the supposedly main character. Then there is the sudden storyshift which rendered the main character as a side character/rival to the new main character, and to add the cherry to the top of this cake, there is the generic character tropes and scenarios mixed in as well ranging from the unrequited love of a rival girl and a love triangle.

Conclusion

The art is soft and aesthetically pleasing especially when working out the figures and movements of figure skating. Something that is not seen often with a shoujo involving a sport. When in terms of plot and characters, the execution was generally well done for the first part but with the sudden shift in story and protagonist, it made the first story rather rushed out. What’s more, when looking at the second story, it made itself out to be a rather generic love story.

While the portrayals of the characters were well done in terms of their flaws and relationship build, it doesn’t change that as a whole, they are rather generic and somewhat predictable for the most part. Still if you’re looking for a shoujo sports story with good art, well done characters and a plot done somewhat differently then this is the story for you.

Rating: 8/10

See also: The Manga Version Thought: Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine

See also: A Film Clip for the First Half of Haikara-san ga Tōru Presents Benio and Shinobu Meeting

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