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Never Give Up, Volume 1


Never Give Up, Volume 1

Everyone wants to be beautiful, right? If you had a slender body, graceful walk, and a face that makes people stop and stare, life would be a piece of cake. Going through life gorgeous softens the way --- unless you're Kiri. Kiri is undoubtedly stunning --- except that she's a girl and has inherited not the lush beauty of a woman but the lanky, chiseled hotness of her father's male model looks. On top of that, she's long been in love with her best friend and only ally, Tohya, who himself is often the victim of taunts and snide remarks because he's far too feminine for most guys.

Kiri stubbornly believes that the only way she can be with Tohya is to become a wilting cute girl that everyone idolizes, never mind that it goes against everything she is. When Tohya lands a job as a male model, Kiri is determined to protect him from the world she knows only too well as cruel and surface. We all know where this is going: to infiltrate the ranks of the modeling industry, Kiri passes as a guy and poses as a male model to stay near Tohya, frustrated and bitter at appearing even more masculine when all she wants is to be the only girl for Tohya. Swapping gender is never easy, and as classmates and models alike start falling for Kiri's alter ego, it seems like she'll never get back to a place where she can confess to Tohya.

The art is clear and dashing, like Kiri herself, and while the plot is not the most original in the world, you'll be rooting for Kiri and Tohya both to figure out what's obvious: they're perfect for each other. The struggle between internal attitude and outward appearance is treated well, even if occasionally you want to smack both protagonists for trying so hard to be things they're obviously not --- future volumes give hope that they will grow spines and remember that who loves you is more important than how you appear to everyone else.

Reviewed by Robin Brenner on October 18, 2011

Never Give Up, Volume 1
by Hiromu Mutou

  • Publication Date: March 7, 2006
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop
  • ISBN-10: 1598161652
  • ISBN-13: 9781598161656