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My Heavenly Hockey Club
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Gr 9 Up-Fans of Bisco Hatori's "Ouran High Host Club" books (Viz Media) will recognize the premise of this shojo manga: girl breaks boy's toy and is coerced into joining his club to repay her debt. The girl, Hana, counts sleeping as her number one hobby. In a daze, she gets hit by Izumi's car. He forces her to join the field hockey club as a way to make up for the dent she left. The club is made up of rich boys who never play a game but love to travel. They take Hana (who can literally goaltend in her sleep) all around Japan. She gets to ride in helicopters, take a train, and spend time in beautiful hotels. She complains the whole way, making it difficult to see why these boys would want her along. A helpful feature is the explanation of the honorifics in the front and the cultural references in the back. The story has potential but, unfortunately, a borderline narcoleptic just isn't very interesting. The other characters stick to their cliches. The jokes are slapstick and often fall flat. With all the manga being published right now, it is safe to skip this one.-Sadie Mattox, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

A cornerstone manga genre since day one, the sports comic has served as a repository for inspirational tales laden with such traditional values as team bonding, striving to win against all odds and sagas of "everyman" heroes meant to inspire Japanese youth, but this series has apparently had enough of such wholesome fare and skewers its ancestors squarely through the athletic supporter. Hana, a figure-challenged and lazy high school girl, finds herself enlisted as the goalie on an all-male field hockey team and becomes embroiled in comedic adventures that involve much travel and practice, but no actual sports matches, and when Hana proves useless on the field she finds herself replaced by a love-struck bear, a crazily surreal visual that has to be seen to be disbelieved. The cast is rounded out with well-drawn and blithely scornful takes on the stock characters of the genre, and for once the army of pretty young males refreshingly serves as poster children for raffish indolence. Morinaga's fresh and funny tale offers satisfying lunacy. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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