Hot Gimmick Vol. #12 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Release Date: Friday, September 01, 2006
Translated by:Pookie Rolf
What They Say
Normally, most teenage girls would be beside themselves with joy to have not one but three hot-as-they-want-to-be men in their lives, and if that were all that mattered, Hatsumi Narita would have been crowned Queen of Happiness a lot time ago. But such is not the case.
Her hunky childhood friend (now an uber-studly male model) has tried to ruin her life on several occasions, her dreamy older (and adopted) brother wants to run off with her, and her cute on-again, off-again ad infinitum boyfriend continues to be the world's biggest jerk. Who on earth will she finally choose? Or will Hatsumi remain hopelessly hapless to the bitter end?
With the twelfth volume of the series, Hot Gimmick and its tumultuous relationships finally draw to a close. From the very first volume we got introduced to a very weird set of dynamics between characters looking for revenge, wanting to dominate others or simply looking for love. Unlike a lot of other series that had been coming over prior to it, Hot Gimmick had a bit more of a wild approach to its characters in that they all felt a bit more realistic in their relationships. While some of it went over the top at times, pleasantly so, the characters felt far more like teenagers than a lot of other ones. Hatsumi's uncertainty about things allowed her to be very easily manipulated by the men who were after their own goals but she was very nicely contrasted by her younger sister Akane who knows full well what she wants after awhile and pursues it.
The last couple of volumes have been a ton of fun since it's pushing the cast into making choices. Shinogu's choice of declaring his intentions to Hatsumi has led to a certain weirdness between the two even though Hatsumi has agreed to it. Shinogu, being the male that he is, is completely overanalyzing it and takes it too far by telling her that he'd be happy no matter what she chooses. Hatsumi's belief about Ryoki having slept with the fancy girl only pushes her towards Shinogu more. Even as she's crushed by what she believes Ryoki has done she's starting to learn more about her own heart and what her feelings really mean. Relationship books are great once they get to the point where the choices must be made since so many other books tend to never go there. The best books provide the reader with characters that you root for more than others and then many will groan with the choice. With Hot Gimmick, I think both of her real choices at the end were ones that will make lots of people groan no matter what, but it's beautifully played out.
The final volume is a bit shorter than previous ones but Viz is able to make up for it a bit with the inclusion of a few really nice extras. We get a bonus story that really cements the relationship between Akane and Subaru. Subaru's trying to change who he is so that Akane will be more comfortable with him, not realizing that she likes him for who he is. This is understandably hard for him since he sees all these guys in his school that want to date her and he can't figure out why she's with him. Akane and Subaru almost deserve a book of their own. Aihara also provides a short story called "Ten Days" that plays a fun variant on relationships with a high school girl who wants to get away from everything that troubles her. Aihara's art for it is quite good and it makes me really want to see more of what she's got coming, hopefully in the form of the Princes Girlfriend by the end of 2007.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left