Nishizaki, Megumi. Hot Gimmick S. Trans. Sawaka Kawashima and John Werry. San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2007. Summary
: With illustrations by Aihara Miki. This light novel traces the story of the Hot Gimmick
manga and then concludes with a very different ending. Shinogu's tragic past as the son of Hatsumi's mother Shihoko's alcoholic best friend is revealed, and when he is injured while trying to rescue a tourist trapped on a mountain, Hatsumi's at last starts to realize her feelings for him. Comments
: Err...why am I reading this book? Or, better yet, why am I reading this book in English
?! The language and vocabulary are so simplistic that it's clear that this barely-there excuse for a novel would have been a cakewalk for me even in the original Japanese. (If all the Palette Bunko titles are like this, maybe I should try picking up some for practice.) But then, I didn't know that, and I was curious about VIZ Media's first (and last?) foray into the shoujo light novel field. Even after reading it, though, I'm not sure why they chose to license it. Was the original manga that popular? It surely isn't going to contribute anything to America's appreciation of Japanese literature.
For those who have been keeping track here, the "S" in the title stands for Shinogu...and apparently a lot of people in Japan as well were dissatisfied with the manga's Ryoki-centric denouement. Okay, so it's still sorta scandalous because Hatsumi and Shinogu are kinda brother and sister, but at least Shinogu is a "nice guy." Nice guys tend to lose out in romance novels and shoujo manga alike--and let's face it: In real life the girl loses out if she doesn't
choose a nice guy. The backstory involving Yuko and her abusive husband should make that abundantly clear. I'm glad to see this story resolved in a more healthful fashion. It's just a shame Aihara didn't get it right the first time. Notes
: trade paperback, 1st American edition; first published in Japan by Shougakukan in 2005 Rating
- Fans of the manga series and of Shinogu in particular should be pleased. Newcomers to the story, on the other hand, are liable to refuse to believe that this even counts as literature.