Review: Not Your Idol, Volume 1 by Aoi Makino

cover183260-medium A psychological suspense series about a girl who has given up her life as an idol after being assaulted by a fan.

After that day, she stopped being a girl. In the wake of an assault, Nina Kamiyama, a former idol in the group Pure Club, shuns her femininity and starts dressing as a boy. At high school she keeps to herself, but fellow student Hikaru Horiuchi realizes who she is. What secrets is she keeping? The shocking drama starts.

It’s hard to say what we’d do in the aftermath of a life-altering situation.  So, when Karen, the most popular member of an all-girl group is nearly killed at a handshake event, she decides that not being an idol any longer is the safest and smartest thing to do.  Would I have done the same?  I can’t say, but it’d definitely be appealing to return to anonymity.

She’s so affected by the assault that she takes a new name and completely changes her appearance.  First, she cuts her hair, then forgoes any and all girly clothes and accessories, basically morphing into a young man in both looks and dress.  It’s a type of psychological armor for her, since she believes it happened because she was a girl.

Hikaru is one of Karen’s – now Nina Kaiyama – classmates.  His younger sister is a huge fan of Pure Club and idolized Karen.  So, it wasn’t a surprise that he knew who she was despite all her attempts to hide her identity.  It’s obvious that he genuinely likes her and wants to be her friend.  But, due to her past, she’s too afraid to trust him.  To his credit, he keeps trying and I don’t think he’s going to give up on her anytime soon.

Honestly, from what I’ve read so far, Hikaru seems like the only decent guy in the entire school.  The rest are all sexist idiots, making comments about the girls’ bodies and clothing.  Not to mention all the talk of ‘asking for it’ and the usual gross conversation that happens whenever a woman is assaulted.  It really bothered me reading it, but when Nina steps up and puts them in their place for victim blaming, I understood why it was done.

Volume one presents the story in an upfront and straightforward manner.  I appreciate how the subject has been treated, even showing how often assault victims are treated in the aftermath.  Talk of false accusations and victim blaming included, which is important, honestly, because anyone who has gone through anything like this can relate and needs to know that there are people that will believe them and help them.  I’m excited to see where the next volume takes us because I’m hooked.

4/5

*Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for an ARC of this manga in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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