My Heavenly Hockey Club Vol. 5 (Del Rey)

mhhc5-header.jpgHana and her gorgeous teammates are up in the mountains visiting her childhood friend, but between abominable snowmen attacks and lurking peeping toms, the hockey team will have its hands full protecting her!

 

 

174 pgs., b/w; $10.95

(W / A: Ai Morinaga)

 

Hot springs visit are practically a prerequisite for any manga, and My Heavenly Hockey Club is no exception. This is how volume five starts out, with the irascible Hana going to a spring on Mt. Iwate to visit her old friend Daisuke, with her hockey team following close behind. Even though Daisuke seems like an innocent and friendly country-boy, heartthrob team captain Izumi suspects an ulterior motive. Next, Hana has to deal with Mei-chan, her extremely over-developed young cousin, when she develops a massive crush on Takashi, the team’s straight-man. Finally, nice-guy Natsuki gets kidnapped by a pirate-who also happens to be his father! To keep their friend, the team challenges the entire pirate crew to a hockey match, and exposes a side of Natsuki they thought they’d never see. Unless they can pull off a miracle, Hana’s snack manager might be whisked off to the high seas forever.

The cover to MHHC vol. 5. Click for a larger image.For new readers of the series, here’s the series’ overall premise in a nutshell: writer and artist Ai Morinaga has decided to shake up the shoujo (manga aimed primarily at female readers) world with an offbeat sports-themed manga using and abusing every archetype and stereotype in the book. Hana, the lead female, is a sleep-and-food-loving student. She has been lured into playing on the all-male field hockey team at her school by Izumi, the brash team captain who has an unrequited crush on her. Also on the team are Takashi, the cool and collected co-captain; Natsuki, the effeminate "snack guy"; and the Twins, Kinta and Ginta. The team has yet to play an actual match, with actual rules, against another school team. (I’m not counting the pirate match, because they play dirty.)

While volume five of My Heavenly Hockey Club was entertaining, I wasn’t nearly as impressed with it as I was the previous volume. In theory I should have been far more amused by a marauding abominable snowman and a flashy pirate, but I was instead left feeling indifferent. Mei-chan’s double-D cleavage and faked fainting scenes to woo Takashi were more annoying than anything, and I wondered why Hana wasn’t more exasperated. True, Mei-chan is Hana’s cousin, but for someone who loves sleep as much as Hana does, I would think that having a chatty elementary-schooler drilling for information on the hockey club late into the night would be enough to kick Mei-chan out. Morinaga’s penchant for the silly and irreverent is still evident in this issue, but the execution isn’t nearly as funny. Her art, of course, is still admirable and well-drawn.

If you are interested in any of the characters’ backgrounds or familial relationships, then Hockey Club‘s fifth volume would be a welcome addition to your manga library. If, however, you are seeking something as cheerfully amusing as previous volumes, I’d suggest waiting for the next one. | Elizabeth Schweitzer

           

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