Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp
Publisher: VIZ Media (VIZBIG Edition)
Author: Miki Aihara
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shojo Beat)
MSRP: $17.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Now Available
Hot Gimmick has made a slave out of me.
You have to hand it to VIZ Media for recognizing the best of their best. Already available are the VIZBIG Editions of the Dragon Ball series as well as the samurai epic Vagabond and now the new Shojo Beat classic Hot Gimmick gets to join these titles in a VIZBIG Edition featuring the first three volumes packed in a single massive volume. That’s a lot to love right there, shoujo fans.
If you’ve never picked up Miki Aihara’s work before then you are seriously missing out on some great manga like Tokyo Boys & Girls and VIZ Media’s other Aihara title, Honey Hunt. Hot Gimmick is what you might call a guilty pleasure. No, scratch that. Hot Gimmick makes guilty pleasures like the steamy and scandalous WB show “Gossip Girl” look like a kid’s program. This alone makes this series an addictive joy that will make it incredibly difficult to want to put down once you start reading.
You see, Hot Gimmick centers on a High school girl named Hatsumi Narita who just so happens to be living in company housing (that’s an apartment complex owned by a business corporation with its employees living in it) with her mother, cute brother Shinogu and her attractive yet promiscuous sister, Akane. Unlucky in love, Hatsumi doesn’t see herself as a catch and the boys in her life have either disappeared or had been mean to her. Oh, but in first volume alone, things will change for Hatsumi in ways should couldn’t even imagine.
On the day her sister Akane, who is still in Junior high, asks Hatsumi to pick up a pregnancy test from the local drug store, she bumps into the son of the company big shot named Ryoki Tachibana. As it turns out, they happen to be childhood acquaintances … but not in the friendly sort of way. In fact, Ryoki use to bully Hatsumi around while another childhood friend protected her. Now, seeing him all grown up, Ryoki picks on Hatsumi again only this time he calmly tells her that he will keep the secret of the pregnancy test from his mother (who is pretty much the queen of the complex) if Hatsumi becomes his love slave!
Unable to tell Ryoki off, Hatsumi finds herself in quite a predicament and it’s quite comical to see her try to squirm her way out of being fondled by a boy she grew up hating. Then her knight arrives and this knight comes in the form of the childhood friend that defended her when they were children. Azusa Odagiri comes back into the picture after a long absence and now lives in the same company housing building as Hatsumi and Ryoki. As it turns out, Azusa is something of a celebrity seeing as he’s a hot new model for a popular magazine. Better yet, he comes to Hatsumi’s rescue again and seems to be interested in her.
Unfortunately, Ryoki refuses to back down and still insists that Hatsumi is his love slave to use as “practice.” As handsome as he is, Ryoki has had bad misunderstandings with the women in his life and needs a human took in order to get better in the lovemaking department. While he still insults Hatsumi and even steals her first kiss (which she intended on experiencing with Azusa), there’s something about the way Ryoki reacts to certain things about her that makes Hatsumi believe that she means more to him than just practice.
In the meantime, Hatsumi finds herself happy that Asuza considers her his girlfriend when she shows up at the studio during one of Asuza’s photo shoots. He’s charming, sweet and a true gentleman towards her and despite having another good-looking guy chasing her around it is Asuza that has win her heart. Still, a part of her still isn’t able to refuse Ryoki even after he spends an evening receiving a hickey from him. It is Hatsumi’s brother, Shinogu, and their father who tells her that she should stay away from Asuza. Why stay away from a seemingly nice guy when the guy they’re suppose to tell her to stay clear from is Ryoki.
The truth is revealed after Hatsumi ends up back in the studio only to be assaulted by a group of male models. Strangely enough, it is Ryoki who ends up saving Hatsumi from a group of lustful boys that were forcing themselves on her. The truth about Asuza shocks Hatsumi to the very core. Are the rumors true? Is what Asuza said about her father true? I won’t say because it is definitely something you should read to believe.
The three volumes packed in this one edition have more than enough juicy plot twists and turns. We learn that Akane has a major crush on Ryoki and finds it upsetting that her sister is spending way too much time with the object of her affection. Then there’s Shinogu who doesn’t have a girlfriend for a very scandalous reason that will be revealed soon enough. The VIZBIG Edition also comes with all the extras found in the end of each volume as well as extra art and an article about corporate housing.
The VIZBIG Edition of Hot Gimmick brings us the first three volumes in one big edition that’s sure to be the shoujo classic you will definitely want in your bookshelf. Individually, these volumes were tasty bite-sized morsels but placed together like this makes for a meal well worth savoring from the first page to the very last. Yes, it’s that good.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Hatsumi has a mountain of problems she just isn’t able to climb over now that two very different boys from her past have suddenly come into her life. While one turns her into his slave, the other sweeps her off her feet … until he shows her his true colors. All three volumes packed in one big volume edition is very good, indeed.
The lovely art in Hot Gimmick works for the series and is consistently good throughout the first three volumes of the series.
Ingeniously conceived with every intention of sinking its teeth into you until you finish the very last page, Hot Gimmick is the type of series that definitely deserves the VIZBIG Edition treatment. Aihara-sensei’s work has always been convincingly real and completely addictive and Hot Gimmick definitely falls in this category. I can’t even begin to express how much I highly recommend buying this edition.