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Ani-Imo Vol. #01 Manga Review

4 min read

Ani-Imo Volume 1 CoverSkirting the line

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Haruko Kurumatani
Translation: Christine Dashiell

What They Say
Youta has always had a soft spot for his twin sister, Hikaru. Soft-spoken and docile, she’s everything a doting big brother could hope for! But when a freak accident results in the siblings swapping bodies, Youta discovers that his “innocent” little sister is anything but! Now trapped in Hikaru’s body, Youta becomes the object of his “little sister’s” advances – advances she now has the testosterone-fueled power to back up! Will Youta ever get his body back?

The cover here is a rather flat image of the two siblings standing side by side over a plain white background. It’s a little on the bland side, and it’s a shame that it does nothing to show off the content of the book, outside of the arrows around the volume number. The back cover fairs a little better, offering cutesy images of the two characters at least showing a little character, alongside the usual synopsis and other information. Paper quality feels solid, honorifics are used, text reads smoothly, and sound effects are left in their original form and subtitled. A color page at the start and a short bonus comic at the end are included as extras, alongside some rather brief translation notes.

The art here is unfortunately not anything particularly exciting. It’s solid enough and does the job, but it doesn’t really impress or excel in any areas in particular. In fact, it’s a shame that emotion isn’t displayed a bit better by the art, as it’s usually limited entirely to a chibi form. It’s certainly not a bad art style, but it’s also not one that’s likely to attract readers or blow them away.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Hikaru and Youta Koizumi are twins, a boy and girl in their first year of high school. Though they have a younger brother and sister, the pair are especially close to one another, with the mothering boy Youta always fussing over his quiet sister Hikaru. Though others seem to think of Youta as someone solely with a serious sister complex, he does have a crush in the form of a girl named Yurika, who actually seems interested in hanging out with the twins. During their birthday, though, Youta’s world comes crashing down when his parents let slip that he and Hikaru aren’t actually related, as they’re both children from a previous marriage, a fact that everyone else in the family already knew. Much to his surprise, though he tries to stay strong and remember that this doesn’t change that they’re family, Hikaru actually kisses him and runs off. He follows, and in the aftermath the two are hit by a car.

Though he already had a lot on his plate, Youta only ends up with more problems when he awakens, as he finds himself in Hikaru’s body! Shockingly, though, Hikaru actually turns out to be perfectly okay with the situation and doesn’t want to change back! Backed into a corner, Youta actually tries talking about the problem to their doctor, Ichijou. Though he of course doesn’t believe them, he does at least listen, and offers to help them in the future if need be.

Continuing on, Youta does his best to take every precaution he can to not violate Hikaru’s body in the slightest, while she fails to return the favor. Furthermore, Youta finds that his crush was shockingly more interested in Hikaru then he thought! Finally, as the volume winds down, will Youta really end up stuck as his sister’s “girlfriend”?

In Summary
This volume makes for an interesting, yet not particularly exceptional, introduction to the series. First off, to get the obvious out of the way, the book is absolutely playing around in some territory that may make readers uncomfortable. Though it’s made clear that the two main characters aren’t genetically related at all, and it’s not exactly certain what path the series will take as it progresses, it is very much touching on a potential incestual relationship. If you can make it past that hurdle, there is also some dicey discussion surrounding, and treatment of, homosexuality contained within. It certainly may turn out that the series is fine and it’s just the main character being confused, as hinted at by the author at least knowing bisexuality exists, but again, the way the topic is broached may be a turn-off for some readers. As for the actual quality of the work itself, it actually does have some interesting parts to its setup. Unlike in many similar works, Youta is the one who ends up bending over backwards to be considerate, which makes for some fun and unique laughs. Hikaru also has a fun personality, making for an amusing pair at the center of the book. The side characters unfortunately aren’t super developed here, though they definitely have some potential. All in all, though, things don’t quite come together just yet in this volume, making it an interesting read with some nice parts, yet one that isn’t likely to blow readers away. Even so, if you’re interested in this kind of work and are able to get past the possible hurdles surrounding it, be sure to keep an eye on the series, as it definitely has the potential to become something special.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: Nov 18, 2014
MSRP: $12.99

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