The Hating Girl is a strange manga in that it’s a silly light hearted series that deals with many harsh realities. Arrows reside in skulls, nose hairs attack, and things like architecture can cause an erection. At the same time it somehow manages to put forth real emotions and characters.
With chapters averaging 8-10 pages, for the most part the series is episodic with each chapter telling a short story. Certain stories will span multiple chapters when the situation calls for it, but the bulk of the series is the single chapter stories.
At the heart of this series is Asumi a girl who is outcast because of an arrow that is permanently lodged in her head. Because of this Asumi has become a strange character. She’s unable to deal with people naturally and tends to act out in strange and sometimes resentful ways. The arrow is a prop used in a lot of the comedy but is also the source and symbol of much of Asumi’s pain and suffering.
The best parts of the series are the ones in when more serious issues do surface. For the most part these are presented in a subtle way and leave a lot to the imagination. Hidden among the usual comedic plot or slice of life humor are the slight mention self inflicted of cuts or comments portraying Asumi’s mindset and her struggle to live.
Parts of the series though tend to trudge on into cliché plots and unfunny situations. It seems as though the author was pulled into the love-comedy direction later in the series. These parts of the story end up muddying the parts of the series that I enjoyed. There were a lot of forgettable chapters throughout the series more so near the second half.
With 86 chapters averaging about 8-10 pgs a chapter The Hating Girl is a fairly easy read. The series does shine but at points is muddied by many chapters of pointlessness. If you can deal with those other chapters you will find a hidden story about rejection, seclusion, and ultimately acceptance.
It’s not a series that I can recommend to everyone, but if you’re looking for something different and are a bit open minded this may be a series that works out well.