Hey Baltimore, have you heard? Otakon is coming back to the Baltimore Convention Center August 8th to the 10th. And honestly, with hotels and food, and cosplay and all the fun things that visit Baltimore with Otakon, is it really too early to register for the fun three day weekend? Otakus unite on the East Coast’s biggest anime event. And speaking of otaku, this week, let’s look at a newer series. This week, we dive into Star Light Woman.
Stars are radiant, so with a title like Star Light Woman, we expect the story to be a real bright spot. From the first few chapters, that’s really what the manga portrays. The story is all about Hoshi, a plain woman with extraordinary gifts- none of which that came free. The story entails this superwoman trying to keep out of the grasp of these very cartoonish squid like aliens. They’re fighting a war of rebellion on a distant planet and has been abducting humans, giving them powers to fight their enemies. Hoshi just happens to be their star piece of work. The only issue is, she had no say in the matter and whenever they show up, they mess up her “normal” life.
The story is amusing for having such dynamic yet old fashion art. The manga starts out normal and Hoshi is introduced as this ‘plain Jane’ worker. But when she’s first attacked by another woman, she vanishes and we see a bit of her power. The dialogue is still fairly normal and makes you smile. Then the cartoon squids walk in. Contrary to their appearance and the comedic niche they’re meant to fill, they’re pretty vicious in their assaults. Not really villainous, they give the story this edge of an ever present threat. If it had to be put into the light, there really isn’t a ‘bad guy’ in this story. You understand Hoshi and you understand the aliens’ reasons for needing her.
As it were, Hoshi wasn’t the first abductee and isn’t the last. While she’s been running away, others have been made to stop her. It’s more than obvious that these aliens think of humans as lab rats, and it feels like the authors are turning the camera onto humanity a bit. But putting aside all the mysticism and hidden messages is this story about a woman who just wanted to be normal and still does, she just can’t catch a break. As the story goes through, she gains a guy she may or may not like in Kousuke. While it’s unclear how they feel about each other, the author, Kanou Rie, doesn’t make their relationship overtly obvious. The subtly is good since it doesn’t override the main story, and even if you took it out, the story wouldn’t change. Hoshi also gains a stalker in Kinoshita, who can’t take a hit and is obsessed with Hoshi to the point she works with the aliens to have her. She appears more as an evil of naiveté. The story wouldn’t be the same without her, but you get the feeling that she isn’t getting the whole story (and really doesn’t care so long as she can have Hoshi).
The first impression of the story inspired curiosity as the art for the story is somewhat old fashion and reminiscent of older 90s style comics. But even without the slick edge of modern shonens or the supple alluring lines of shojo, the manga is still a serious yet attractiveness to it. So it threw a large loop when the squids came in like they were drawn by primary school students. But the novelty wore off fairly quickly as the artist flexed her muscles to show what she could do with the cartoonish characters. Applause deserved all around for keeping them silly while showing them as this ‘villainous’ group. Though the question did come up why they just didn’t mod themselves to be all powerful. They seemed to have endless resources to spend on getting Hoshi back, but are losing the war back home.
Wrapping it up, Star Light Woman does really shine. Not many chapters in, the story picks up quickly and doesn’t have a great deal of cliffhangers after every chapter (Don’t you just hate that?). It’s a great manga if you’re looking for a light read and even better if you’re looking for a new serious and silly serial. So be sure to look up and check out this manga – it’s featured on Crunchyroll. And that’s it. As always, keep laughing, reading, watching, and being the amazing otakus you are.