It was the announcement that this series, a long-time favorite of mine, was going to be remade by a new author, that prompted me to include the original series on my site today. Wow, I can’t believe I never managed to talk about this one here before! I guess I sometimes assume some of the classics are already so well-known by everyone, that I don’t really need to talk about them. But then I see my site poll results, which show so far that over half the visitors to my site are 17 or under, and I realize that perhaps not everyone is familiar with all the old-school stuff. Er… then I realized that perhaps the reason I haven’t talked about the series here is because I can’t find my copy of volume 1. Argh. I know I have it somewhere! I have volume 2 right here… Hmm. So I am going to talk about the series from memory. Please forgive me if I end up describing the anime instead, lol. They are very similar! Anyway, about Hime-chan no Ribbon! This is a wonderful school-life fantasy series, that also contains many aspects of a “mahou shoujo” (magical girl) series. It ran for 10 volumes between 1991 and 1994, and had a wonderful anime series made based on it. The art is simple and cute, and the story has a lot of silly twists and turns, and even a bit of romance!
NONOHARA Himeko is the middle daughter of three sisters. Her older sister, Aiko, is cute, feminine, and gentle. Her younger sister, Yume has the whole cute, precocious younger sister thing down. But what about Himeko? Well, she is a Tomboy! With her short hair and skill at athletics, the boys at school consider her just one of the guys. Himeko doesn’t mind too much. She has lots of friends, and has a lot of fun at school. However, things are going to change soon for Himeko, thanks to a strange coincidence.
What Himeko (and the rest of the world, really) doesn’t know is that beyond our boring human world is a world of magic! A place where the impossible can happen! And it’s inhabited by people who look exactly like us! I don’t mean that they are human like us. I mean, that for every person in our world, there is a person in the magic world who is our exact double! This story begins when Himeko, who until now has been an average schoolgirl, actually meets her twin from the magical world.
In Himeko’s case, her twin just happens to be the Princess of the Magic World! Her name is Erika, and even though she wears her hair long, and has a gentle, feminine personality, she DOES look exactly like Hime-chan! The reason for Erika’s arrival is because of a test she is taking. Everyone aspiring to the throne of leadership in the Magical World, must take a test where they create a unique magical item and give it to their look-alike on Earth. That person gets to use the magical item for one year, during which the leaders will judge the worth and usefulness of the magical item, and then pass a judgment on the person taking the test. No one must find out about the magical item, for if they do, the people from the magical world will have to wipe out all the memories of everyone involved!
When Erika appears to Himeko, claiming to be from a Magical World, and wanting to give her a magical item, Himeko can’t quite believe it. But after the magic is demonstrated, she can’t help but believe Erika’s story. The item Erika gives Himeko is a red ribbon. It is worn as a sort of pin with a bow on it. With this ribbon, Himeko can transform herself into anyone currently living, by simply facing herself in a mirror and chanting, “Parallel, Parallel, Turn me into ______!” In order to change back, she has to face a mirror again, and say the spell in reverse! Imagine all the adventures you could have if you could turn into anyone else! But there is a danger to this magic. If she remains transformed for more than 1 hour, the change could become permanent!
To help Himeko get used to having this new ability, and to help her use it wisely, Erika enchants Himeko’s favorite toy, Pokota, a small lion plushie Himeko has owned since she was a baby. Pokota magically comes to life, and is excited to finally be able to speak with her and be her friend! Pokota is not exactly the most reliable talking pet to ever appear in a magical girl series. He tries really hard, and he loves Hime-chan a lot, but sometimes his childish enthusiasm ends up encouraging Hime-chan to get into some more trouble, lol. Pokota is so cute!
This series follows Himeko’s adventures as she tries using the power of the ribbon, often with hilarious results. She gets into all kinds of scrapes. Sometimes the ribbon is what gets her into the scrape, sometimes it is what helps her get out of them. Throughout all of this, Himeko also has a romantic dilemma. She has been in love with her sempai from drama club forever. But now that he has graduated on to middle school, Himeko never gets to see him much anymore, and she never got to confess to him back when they has club together. Will Himeko ever get up the courage to confess her feelings? Further complicating matters is Daichi, a boy at her school who is always causing trouble for both Himeko and the school staff. He is rowdy, reckless, skips class, and does not respect authority. Hime-chan finds herself running into him more often than she’d like. She can’t let him find out her secret!
Hime-chan’s Ribbon is an adorable manga. I am somewhat curious to see what the new remake version will be like. he small bit of artwork from it that I’ve seen worries me a litte. The new Hime-chan is rearing her ribbon on the front of her head, and the art style looks kind of messy. But I will still give it a try. However, the original series is excellent, and definitely worth checking out! Someday I will get that Pokota plushie I have always wanted….