Mar 10, 2009
Mod Note: This review was written for the one-shot Hug!, which was subsequently merged into this review.
Hug! leaves you with a cuddly warm feeling inside exactly as though you've been hugged, an emotional heimlich of sorts. It'll expunge all uncomfortable and debilitating thoughts you might have left over from reading too much drama or tragedy and fill you with a light feeling of happy happy joy joy!
Haruka is a vivacious shoujo full of affection for her beloved pooch Kojirou. She wants to spend all her free time with him, enveloping his furry little body in hers and kissing his little buttom nose. To her, he's
the ideal partner for christmas and new year's eve celebrations. Already, I feel a kind appreciation growing in me for her! Right when she enters high school, she meets up with her middle school friend and they talk about Haruka getting a boyfriend... Hmm isn't a boyfriend someone you want to hug and kiss and spend time with? Well, Haruka already has Kojrou for that! Just as the best friend goes about setting naive Haruka's assumptions right, they both turn to find a friendly enthusiastic boy greeting them Ohayoo! And who should he resemble but Koujiro! AND he sits right next to Haruka as well! Oh my, how is she to stop herself from pinning him down in a perma hug?! How long can her friend restrain her from throwing herself at Koujiro-kun!
Each character has been given loving attention in this one shot. Dog Koujiro is always happy to sniff and hug his master and his thoughts are evident in his woofs, just as he is naughty and loves Haruka's rebukes! Saki-chan,the best friend, though supportive of Haruka's innocent intentions, is always doing her best to hold Haruka back from scaring the living daylights out of Koujiro-kun. Yet, she has her own "darling" back from middle school days who she must attend to, so she thoughtfully lectures Haruka on the difference between dog hugs and boy girl hugs! Koujiro is playfully active in every panel, though never annoying or idiotic.There's a fine line between campy and tiring, and none of the characters ever cross that.
Expressions and artwork are simply fitting to the mood of the story. There are plenty of hilarious embarrassing poses for Haruka as well as distressed (from fatigue) facials for Saki-chan and confused ones for Koujiro-kun.
Since backgrounds are of some consequence in the plot, they are done with avid attention to detail whenever required. Character actions are in tune with the light hearted dialogues and foray beyond girls clapping their cheeks or boys trapping the heroine within their arms.
The singular kiss is done in a very touching and sincere light which will warm the cockles of your heart! No one is innecessarily lovey dovey or infatuated. The story moves forward in a controlled pace with plenty of solitary interactions between all characters which defines their bonds concretely.
Why Hug!? Simply because unlike most one shots which suffer from the heroine having one track internal monologue about how to hide her true feelings from the apparently uncaring school-prince/player/former delinquent turned hottie and yet getting across her intentions in a safe manner, this story is simply about one girl who is too much in love already to recognise another form of love until the boy actually straight out questions her about it! There is no conflict or drama, only a girl questioning her odd and instinctive urge to pat another boy's head or reward him with his favourite treats when he performs well in a game of soccer!
Should you invest 10 minutes in this? Heck yes! Will you come back to read it again a week from now, hmm... I can almost gaurantee it, if only for the clueless bishonen and his happy go lucky nature.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9
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