Yuuki Fujinari – Yen Press – 2011 – 4 volumes

I was curious about this series. On one hand, the premise sounds so positive. An overweight high school girl decides to go on a diet and change her image, with her friends supporting her. But I heard a lot of awful things about it, like that it wasn’t really about Hitomi changing her image and focused more on an extended, less interesting cast and was mostly vanilla.

But I really liked what I saw here. Hitomi’s diet is definitely front and center here, and I loved the big, positive cast that surrounded her. Granted, I didn’t really get to know anything about them, really before the end of the volume (aside from grouchy teacher, gentle female friend that likes flower arranging, boy with a crush, overprotective brother, plus about five faceless others), but the stories were still nice and positive. They did cover some well-trodden ground, too, with things like the cast getting together for a flea market sale, taking a trip to a lodge while their apartment building was being worked on, and a story about selecting a birthday gift. But the positive, upbeat mode carries the mundane content quite far, and everyone seems to be really supportive of Hitomi’s diet and exercise regime, while at the same time admiring her strong personality and her will to stick with it.

In the end, it is mostly a slice-of-life story about a girl trying to lose weight, along with her friends. The weight loss isn’t front and center, but it’s a theme that ties all the stories together, and I like that it’s such an unusual one. Hitomi’s progress is measurable throughout the volume, and I liked that too.

I liked it a little less that she’s drawn as a caricature when she’s overweight (that downplays the positive message about everyone liking her for her personality), but I was prepared for that.

Did I like it enough to go back and get the other three volumes? Not really, but it is a nice, light read, and I enjoyed it for what it was. I probably would read the rest if I had a friend that recommended them, or if I happened across them in a store somewhere. Plus, I think it’s probably a good, if slightly bland, read for teens. Especially with all the positive messages. Did I mention the positive mood? It really does the book wonders, I promise.

This was a review copy provided by Yen Press.