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Manga ● Review: Haruiro Astronaut by Takano Ichigo

English Title: Haruiro Astronaut

Japanese Title: 春色アストロノート [lit. “spring-colored astronaut”]

Writer & Artist: Takano Ichigo

Released: 2011

Length: ~140 pages

Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment (English)

My Verdict: Shoujo romance about twins Chiki and Mami with their different mentalities towards relationships. Short, simple and lighthearted.

Haruiro Astronaut by Takano Ichigo

● This is a short shoujo manga, currently attached to orange omnibus volume 2 (English).

● Chiki and Mami are identical twins. Mami is the younger one and seemingly frivolous, willing to go out with just about any boy who asks without actually going out with them because she breaks up with them within days anyway. Chiki is the serious one. She is not shy but she is cautious and reserved, only interested in a guy who she really likes and who likes her back.

● Chiki and Mami are obviously the two leads who are “opposites”.

L: Chiki (wears stripes), R: Mami (wears polka dots and has bangs)
L: Chiki (wears stripes), R: Mami (wears polka dots and has bangs)

● Enter Guy #1: Kawaragi Yui, a tall basketball player and highly popular. He has a fondness for the twins and both Chiki and Mami like him. Thankfully, we do not see the twins fight over him.


● Enter Guy #2: Natsuki Nanami, a childhood friend of the above who is equally handsome. Unlike Yui, who is frank in expressing his views, Natsuki is the soft-spoken “prince”. He is interested in Chiki.


● Enter Guy #3: The “drawn as decent looking but not presented as a hot guy” character, Tatsuaki is the gruff loudmouth weirdo who also likes Chiki, thus forming a love triangle of sorts with Natsuki and Chiki.


● As already mentioned, the twins do not fight over Yui and the guys don’t outright fight each other either, thus avoiding those clichés. Yui and Tatsuaki sometimes find it difficult to tell Chiki and Mami apart but, thankfully, this is not overdone or done to the point that it is farcical. The story simply follows the developing relationships between the twins and the three guys and in that way address the differing mentalities of Chiki and Mami.

● The art is good and consistent. The line work is nice and clean. There are a few panels, particularly in the first chapter, in which the faces can be more consistent. There can also be a bit more shading at times but it doesn’t ruin the work.

● As the artist admits, she initially “just wanted to draw a super cute girl” which also meant she would then have to “draw a super hot guy to go with her”. She also wanted to use all her favorite shoujo romance tropes. As such, the manga is deliberately lighthearted. If one is looking for a complex and/or emotionally charged story, then don’t bother.

● That said, although the work is seemingly frivolous or even shallow at the beginning, it is not as shallow as it initially comes across. With five main characters, the attention on each character is somewhat distributed before the focus on Chiki becomes more apparent. She is an interesting enough character and a little more drama to explore her character would enhance the work. This is admittedly difficult given its length and it is clear enough that the artist wants to avoid anything too dramatic (and therefore unrealistic) but it could be done in a way that is true to the genre.


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