Jan 25, 2012
I’ve had it saved for a while, but I finally got around to reading Kyouko Hikawa’s 1983 manga Miriam. Hikawa has an unusually large number of series available in English for a mangaka who wrote shoujo in the 80s and 90s (including From Far Away, which was published in the USA by Viz), but just like the other series of hers that I’ve read, Miriam is rather average.
This is the only shoujo manga series I can think of with a wild west setting, so if nothing else that makes for an interesting change of pace. Unfortunately, there’s not much to write home about when it
comes to the plot: it’s an uninspired tale of bad guys doing bad things and the good guys fighting against them. I’m admittedly biassed against series that have a lot of action/fight scenes and Miriam is one such manga, but Hikawa does very little to add any sort of excitement, suspense, or even uniqueness to the storyline, so it’s overall very disappointing. There’s also an element of romance, which does help to give the story a softer, more emotional side; it’s not horribly unique either, but it’s a nice break from horseback riding and guns.
I did, however, really enjoy Miriam as a heroine. While she, too, has a lot of typical traits — spunky, independent, overly enthusiastic — she’s a lot of fun to follow due to being honestly charming and fun. This isn’t a manga to read for deep characterization, but it’s perfect for readers who just like to smile along with a fun and funny lead character. The supporting cast is similarly not very complex, but in general, there’s enough consistent and enjoyable characterization to make it strong enough.
All in all, it’s an enjoyable but not particularly noteworthy manga that I’d recommend for shoujo fans who also have an interest in action-packed wild west stories, and perhaps oldschool manga readers who are desperate for more translated series to read. (Fans of late 80s/early 90s shoujo in particular will surely be pleased by the very much period art and paneling style.)
What did you think of this review?