Hiren Trip (ヒレントリップ)
Hiren Trip is a short shoujo manga series about Miyu Aoi, an inspiring manga artist. She joins her high school’s student council as an assistant for the cultural festival. It is a way for her to not fully commit to a club, and will give her more time to work on her drawing skills. While in the student council, Kousei Mishina suggests to Miyu that they should secretly date as a way to “change” into better people. However, it backfires when Miyu starts having serious feelings for Kousei, and Kousei reveals his intentions that he is only using Miyu as a way to get to know her older brother, who is currently dating his stepsister.
The sibling relationships are very strong in this series. Miyu would always ask her brother advice about how to improve her manga storytelling because her brother is a successful novelist. As for Kousei and his stepsister’s relationship, Kousei would always take care and listen to his sister’s insecurities. One could argue that his feelings for his sister go beyond brotherly endearment.
The things I wished this manga had are depth within the storyline and better character development. The manga introduces new characters and events, but does not provide further details or background information. For example, it is revealed that Kousei used to have strong feelings for his stepsister. However, I was left wondering since when did he have those feelings (before or after the marriage), and what caused him to feel this way. We are given this abrupt information and we must quickly accept it without questioning it. For some readers, questioning may not be important, but to me it is because I don’t really see the bigger picture towards why his feelings are so conflicted between Miyu and his stepsister. I wasn’t easily convince that he has feelings for his sister because we rarely seem them interact. These are just some of the thoughts that I think should have been explored more.
The lack of development and clarity is also shown through the relationship between Kousei and Miyu. Personally, I don’t fully understand the reasoning behind why they are dating. Kousei and Miyu want to “change,” but what does that even mean? I assumed that Miyu wants to become a better manga artist; therefore, she dates Kousei in order to have first-hand experience in love, which will help her become a better storyteller. Yet, what about Kousei? Why is he dating Miyu? One could assume that by dating Miyu, he is coping with his feelings for her stepsister. His intentions aren’t clearly stated, which left me wondering. In addition, it brought me to question whether or not dating Miyu was necessary to gather information on her brother. Throughout the chapters (until the end), I questioned whether or not his feelings for Miyu were sincere.
Although the storyline isn’t as clear and developed as I hope it would be, I still enjoyed the manga. Aside from the appealing artwork, I like the message that the author conveys in which the best way to tell stories is to use your own personal experience. This is a great method, which I use for my own writing.