February 19, 2010

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My Heavenly Hockey Club Volume 1

Written by Ai Morinaga
Illustrated by Ai Morinaga
Del Rey

I'm a little odd when it comes to humor comics. While I love great comedians and a wry joke, I often miss the punchline when a book is played only for laughs, rather than letting the humor come naturally. That means a funny book has to be really funny to hook me, and it meant that My Heavenly Hockey Club would have to work hard to get over my issue with the genre. Unfortunately, at least for me, it wasn't able to do so.

Hana likes to eat and sleep, and would probably do both together if it was possible. She studied like mad to get the school closest to her house, but when she sleepwalks into a rich student's car, she's conned into joining their field hockey club, to help keep it from being dismissed.

The rest of the story shows Hana trying to sleep and eat wherever possible, fighting with the club's leader, and even dealing with a few rather humanoid animals. As Hanna vacillates about playing in the club, the club itself can't seem to get a game together. Just as Hanna thinks it might not be so bad, will a new set of school leaders shut them down?

This is meant to be a comedy manga, with absurd premise piled on top of absurd premise (at one point we have a bear as a goalie). Unfortunately, I just didn't find the jokes all that funny. The whole "Hanna is lazy" idea is fine as far as it goes, but I just didn't think it was all that cute. I guess having her sleep 64 hours or with a bear or while she's playing is supposed to be full of laughs, but I didn't get it.

The other problem is the fact that Hanna is our main protagonist. A girl who eats and sleeps might work as a side character for me, but as a focal character, I found her lacking. The other members of the club are just too stiff to prop up what I thought was a weak main character.

I read manga for the people who inhabit it, regardless of the style of comic. Not being able to get interested in Hanna and her friends, combined with my finding the jokes rather flat, is enough for me to give this one a pass as a candidate to keep reading. This one's not bad, but it's nothing special, either. If you are more into humor comics than I am, it's probably worth a try.

I mean, there is a field hockey playing bear, after all. That's gotta count for something!