Review: When Hikaru Was On the Earth… (Vol 2)

(art by Miho Takeoka)
(art by Miho Takeoka)
  • ヒカルが地球にいたころ…… -- Hikaru ga Chikyuu ni Itakoro…… -- “When Hikaru Was On the Earth……”
  • The novel: -- Books Kinokuniya -- YesAsia
  • The fan translation (by Teh_Ping): Baka Tsuki
  • MAL Entry -- Forum

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Volume 2
Volume 2

The second volume of Hikaru works with the same setup established in the first book: the ghost of recently-deceased prince-figure Hikaru is tied to the hot-blooded pseudo-delinquent Koremitsu, and this ghost won’t leave until he fulfills the various promises he made to the many high school girls he shared his affections with before dying. Judging by how the first two volumes have played out, it appears each entry focuses on a different girl–and each one of them is loosely based on a character from The Tale of Genji. The author, Mizuki Nomura, seems to enjoy tying classic literature to modern-day tropes of light novels, etc. (In this case, the premise feels very reminiscent of a visual novel.)

This volume deals with a timid girl named Yuu (or YÅ«, but I don’t like figuring out how to add that line above the u), who has become a shut-in hikikomori after a case of bullying at her school and difficult family issues. Hikaru gets Koremitsu to try helping her out, but chooses to remain silent in regard to what his promise specifically entailed. This gives Koremitsu a few mysteries to work out over the course of the story, and though it takes a while for the plot to pick up I did enjoy seeing how everything ultimately tied together. I would probably say this second volume is quite a bit slower than the first one, but the ending had enough interesting developments that I still found the experience worthwhile. That said, certain aspects of the plot did come off as rather melodramatic this time around, to the point where it was a bit difficult to take some characters seriously.

When Hikaru Was On the Earth...
When Hikaru Was On the Earth…

One thing the author pulls off very well is her portrayal of Koremitsu, and how he struggles to identify his emotions as he gradually forms a bond with Yuu. Though inexperienced in matters concerning love, Koremitsu is always earnest in his attempts at interacting with girls. As such, his brash behavior and rough words actually lend him a sort of adorable quality, albeit in a clumsy fashion (or rather, it is that clumsiness which helps make him endearing). It is easy to root for Koremitsu, but I have to wonder where the overarching story will go in regard to all the girls Hikaru is having him assist.

Overall, the quality of the second volume is comparable to the first–and that goes for not only the story, but for the artwork (which is lovely) and for the translation (which works, but has some issues [e.g. the ALL CAPS yelling, which I still don’t like]). And as before, I still see potential for all the characters and the tangled web of relationships they are continually weaving. If you enjoyed the first entry in the Hikaru series, be sure to read on!

Cho’s Rating: Recommended

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