Manga Review: I Am Here! Volume Two

I Am Here! Volume Two is a manga by Ema Toyama, and it was published in North America by Kodanasha Comics in 2011. It’s an omnibus that includes the remainder of the third volume and all of the fourth and fifth volumes of the series. This manga is rated “T” for ages 13 and up; after reading this series, I would agree with this rating.

I Am Here! Volume 2
Written by: Ema Toyama
Publisher: Kodansha
English Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: July 26, 2011

Hikage Sumino is the main character of the series, and she starts out being a shy girl who’s basically invisible to her classmates. She writes a blog and has two visitors who by the names of “Black Rabbit” and “Mega Pig.”

Her life changes when Hinata Muto and Teru Mikami, two of the most popular boys in school, talk to her while she’s taking care of a sunflower that she planted. After being encouraged by comments from her two blog readers, she tries to be more outgoing.

Hinata tells Hikage that he likes her, and as they spend time together, Hikage’s life becomes more complicated when others girls in her class bully her and try to keep her away from Hinata. After that situation is resolved, Hikage wants to thank Black Rabbit and Mega Pig by sending something to them, Hinata tries to discourage her. At the end of Volume One, Toyama really led the reader to believe who the identity of Black Rabbit really was; however, it was revealed in Volume Two that the person I thought it was wasn’t right. Also, I was incorrect in guessing who Mega Pig was.

Volume Two reveals the true identity of Black Rabbit, and learning his identity only ends up complicating things for Hikage. Not only that, the ringleader of the bullies in Volume One learns about Hikage’s blog and decides to cause trouble. The bully’s actions cause Hinata and Teru to hate each other and not be friends, and Hikage is caught in the middle. It ends up being up to Hikage to try to salvage the situation and help the two friends patch up their friendship.

This volume has a special chapter labeled as, “Mega Pig’s Love Story.” This chapter reveals the true identity of Mega Pig, and he’s commenting on Hikage’s blog to try to get advice on a love situation he finds himself in. There’s also a couple of other short chapters tacked on at the end.

Well, it turns out that I Am Here! wasn’t quite as predictable as I thought at the end of Volume One, since I was wrong about a couple of things that I thought were predictable. However, after reading Volume Two, I still stand by my assertion that this series feels like a generic shojo manga.

I realized after reading Volume Two that the author of I Am Here! is also the author of Mission of Love, another manga that uses something on the Internet as a major element in the story. Unfortunately, these are the only two titles by Toyama that I have any familiarity with, so  I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence that both series rely on the Internet for a plot device, or if that’s typical for her work.

While I found I Am Here! to be generic, my 16-year-old daughter loved it. This series seems to have a stronger appeal to teenage girls than it does to someone like me, since I’m really not in the target market for this series. It’s a series I’d recommend to manga readers who enjoy typical shojo romance stories that feature teenage protagonists.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of I Am Here! Volume Two that my 16-year-old daughter checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional post about I Am Here!:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.