The literature industry is suffering from the publishing recession. While the literary magazine 'Mokuren' was grieving over the present state of affairs, a composition intended for their Newcomer's Award was sent to their editing department. However, it completely ignored the application rules. It should have been torn to shreds, but the work caught the eye of a sole editor. As a result, the world began to change.
Here's my take after reading 24 chapters of the vellichor of Hibiki: Shousetsuka ni Naru Houhou (Hibiki: Becoming a Novelist) by Mitsuharu Yanamoto.
It's seldom that I would find a manga relating to something I like, well... not actually reading books, but something about literature/writing. Hibiki satisfy that urge for me to read such story but at the same time making it really interesting with quirky the cast of characters
The story revolves around the decline of literature industry due to publishing recession, and Hibiki 15 year old introverted bookworm who had submitted a literary work that could possibly save the falling industry.
It may seem
like a boring premise, but because of the characters and their interactions it becomes a an entertaining piece to read.
Akui Hibiki is no doubt the center piece of the story. Her introverted nature, strong presence, and unyielding to what she stands for attitude is what really moves the story. The supporting cast of characters in the literature club is also second to none as they have a chance to develop without taking much away from the focus of the story; they all grow up as you progress with each chapters.
The art is not bad but you can appreciate the effort that Yanamoto-san had put in it. This should not put you away from the entertainment value of the story.
Since it is still an ongoing manga, it is still yet to develop further and I am looking forward on how the story would develop onto.
With that said, I would give Hibiki: Shousetsuka ni Naru Houhou 9 copies of Akihito Sobue's novels out of 10!
(Small spoilers may be listed here, just be warned)
The reason why I read up to chapter 33 is because I couldn't stand it anymore. And I will explain why below.
Story - 7
It wasn't bad. It kept me reading, and I was interested in what would happen next. What next big award would crop up? What will everyone do in response to that? Will Hibiki become even more famous? It definitely was one of the factors that made me read so far.
Art - 5
It was mediocre. It's not the most beautiful art I've seen, but it's sufficient enough. I appreciate its simplicity, though sometimes the simplicity
Character - 4
Hooooo boy. This is the reason why I had to drop this manga. Oh god, the CHARACTERS. Let's analyze each and one of them, alright? I'm listing them here from the characters that were most captivating/likable to least.
Rika - I thought it was particularly interesting how the author made a gyaru girl one of the most intelligent and sympathetic around, which really is the opposite of the common trope of dumb, brash gyaru girls. She was, by far, the most likable and interesting character. Her portrayal and development are more consistent than anyone else. She was one of the main reasons I stuck around to chapter 33.
Ryouta - While at first I thought he was an okay kid, the only one with any sense around (although his taste in girls is a little...strange), the reveal of his true self really put me off. The author certainly did a good job in suggesting what he really is like, as there are small hints here and there that are easy to pick up on. He definitely was not a likable character, but he definitely was interesting. So interesting that he got #2 on this list, though it wasn't too hard to be better than the others.
Takaya - He was a mediocre character. He was somewhat likable, but overall he was just...boring. Perhaps that was needed here to balance out the eccentricities of the others, but everyone else so overshadowed him he landed right here in the middle.
Kayoko - She, like Takaya, was also very mediocre. Her hope to make the classic "high school debut" makes her also very average. Her shy demeanor sometimes annoyed me, but not nearly as much as our last character on our list here.
Hibiki - So, not only is she the protagonist, but also the character that I detest the absolute most. I understand her "stubbornness" is supposed to be the key factor here in making her stand out, but there's a distinct line between being stubborn and being bratty. When she doesn't get her way, she knocks over bookshelves. She uses harsh words without any regard for the situation, and if words don't work, surely violence would solve it. Now, if as the story progressed she would learn how to properly behave in society, I would be fine with that. However, it takes the exact opposite turn.
What bothers me particularly is how everyone loves her for these things that would annoy anyone that was actually sane. Ryouta fell head over heels in love for her while she behaved like this -- I'm beginning to think he's infatuated with the idea of love rather than actually being in love, and is using Hibiki as the object of his adoration. And when Hibiki is beyond rude to Kayoko in making her make a split second decision to join the club, Kayoko isn't offended at all. Instead, Kayoko calls her "cool," which is the exact opposite of how she is behaving -- immaturely.
And when Rika, in chapter 33, vented just a little to Hibiki because of her frustration with failing to get an award, she then sobs and begs for forgiveness. She claims that they're friends when I have seen nothing of the sort. Friends don't invade and trash each other's houses, friends aren't awful to each other. And when the two of them are on "good terms," it's just Hibiki sitting there with a book while Rika isn't talking to her. I haven't seen any development between any of them as friends at all. Just because you're in the same club doesn't mean you're suddenly best buddies.
That was the ultimate breaking point for me. I dropped this manga because I couldn't deal with everyone's delusions anymore. It felt like I was reading a manga full of people with serious cases of Stockholm Syndrome.
As for the other characters, such as Sobue-sensei, the editor, etc., I have the same idea of them as I do for Takaya and Kayoko. The story really focuses so much on Rika, Hibiki, and Ryouta (somewhat) there's almost no development of any other character. I couldn't see why I should stick around anymore if there's no development of any other character, and the only character I'm seeing is treated as if she's a queen when she's nothing but obnoxious.
So my enjoyment and overall is a 4. It would've been a 1, but my appreciation for Rika and just how interesting Ryouta was as a character was bumped it up a lot for me.
Perhaps it does pick up and get better after chapter 33. But my annoyance has built up far too much -- it was somewhat interesting while it lasted, but I'm not staying around to continue reading because I know I won't enjoy it.
tl;dr: We all know what's true. (for the most part). But we deny it. We live our life doing and saying stupid things because it makes life easier. It makes life work. But is it worth it? What if we did what we knew was right? What if we lived with our heart on our sleeve? What if we didn't give a fuck and just kicked the shit out of people who pissed us off? That's what this manga is about. (kind of).
Story: The pacing is very good. The issues in the story are presented early and you can see the progression clearly. There's also
a good mix of sadness, joy, silliness, reality, and lunacy. In short, it's fun.
Art: It looks clean and good. Professional. Proportions are right. Perspectives are fun/appropriate. Nothing like One Punch Man though.
Character: Varied? Check. Dynamic? Possibly. Yes for some. Potentially on the way for others. Round? Yep. In short, characters subvert their tropes but are still realistic.
Enjoyment: See tl;dr
Overall? It's worth your time. (Come at me bro: https://i.lensdump.com/i/NjOG5.png)
This manga is an interesting one. It’s one of the very few mangas that makes me think and re-think really hard about the values and the author’s inner works. This kind of manga usually makes people raise their standard high before even re-reading it. That people including me. Yes, it’s a manga that is so good that can make people go like this.
But as i raised my bar higher and being honestly critical like what the MC in this manga did, then i would say, using Hibiki’s words, this manga is totally half-lame. Exatcly 50 out 100. Im talking about the inner values though,
not overall score.
First, if we talk about technical qualities as a manga, this manga might got a little more than average grade. The art isn’t bad, but it is not something of a diamond either. In the story aspect, the premise might be normal but the start was very smooth and very natural. As the story progressed, however, it lost the natural feels and the smoothness that it had.
And my last view about the story is.... using Hibiki words again, it is as if the writer has lost everything that she/he want to write. In short, this manga has become a story from a vanished author. Well, one more harsh words, everything that Hibiki said as a lame novel to many characters in this manga, can be applied to this manga itself.
Despite my harsh words towards this manga, i love this manga and i admit from my heart that this manga is really something else. This manga shines the most in the aspect of characters and their characterization. It’s not like each character has good chemistry or good vide, no, not at all – but it’s unique and consistent. Their consistency, which is a sweeter way to say “stubborn”, trait make the characters clash as they are. In a sense, that’s pretty natural thing.
One more great thing about this manga that this manga is a form of rampage from the author’s inner-self. When we go deep in this manga, it feels like we can touch what the author really want to write. His/her screams, ideology, point of view etc, things that i personally call those as the inner-values, can be really felt. This manga isn’t talking about in what way a manga has to be written, but what kind of a manga i want to write.
As an ending, i want to say that...i feel this manga is kind of the opposite of Gintama. Both of them has strong inner-values and can make us think about our own values twice. But one thing that i notice that they are at opposite is the center of ego. Gintoki really cares about others and Hibiki doesn’t care about others, but both of them are totally, bluntly honest with their ownselves, their own values and their own lives. I wish i could see Gintoki and Hibiki had a dialogue about life......