Spicy Life, by HAYANO Akari

Spicy Life by HAYANO Akari Title:Spicy Life
Author:HAYANO Akari
ISBN# 4-08-847463-5
Margaret Comics, 2002

Because I don’t live near a Japanese bookstore anymore, I have had to search around online to find my random shoujo manga. I spotted this one on s-book.com, and I really liked the title. The cover art also implied some sort of story about a secret life of some sort. The art in this volume is fairly standard shoujo style, with large sparkly eyes, fine lines, and detailed clothing. It actually looks a little bot more like something you’d see published by Ribon comics than Margaret. I tend to associate Margaret comics with a different art style. Anyway, the story I purchased this volume for fills exactly half of this tankoubon, while three other school romances take up the other half.

I am going to focus on “Spicy Life” which is the main story because that is what I purchased this volume for. The other three stories are very cute also, but I think I like the main one the best. It’s the story of a girl named Anri SHINZAKI. She is 15 years old and is in her 3rd and final year of middle school. She looks like your typical Japanese school girl, with her dark hair in two pigtails and her sailor uniform she wears to school. Her twin sister Momoka is very different. Momoka is older than Anri by 19 minutes. 19 very important minutes. You see, they were born around midnight, so technically, Momoka’s birthday is the day before Anri’s. This makes for a big difference because they also happened to be born right at the deadline for school class cutoff. Because of their birthdays being different, Momoka is a freshman in high school. She was born right before the school admittance cutoff time, and Anri was born right after.

Momoka looks a lot flashier than Anri. She has dyed hair, and doesn’t have to wear a sailor uniform to school. She can dress however she wants. In spite of their different situations, the twins are very close to each other and are good friends.

One day, Momoka comes running up to Anri, begging for a favor. She is experiencing a relationship crisis and a break-up, and she just doesn’t want to face going to school right now. She begs Anri to take her place at school for a few days. Anri is very reluctant, but after Momoka dyes Anri’s hair, she finally gives in. They really do look identical when their hair is the same. And because Anri’s school is on vacation for that week, she can go to the high school without missing her own classes. What adventure will Anri find at high school, pretending to be her sister? There are two boys who will make her life interesting- NAGASE Kazuto, the scary guy who sits next to ‘Momoka’ in class, and Naemura, the cute class officer that Momoka likes. Hooray for shoujo manga love triangles 🙂 The story is short (I would have liked it to at least fill the whole volume) but it is cute, and there is furigana to make reasing easier. A pretty fun volume to pick up.