I love discovering new manga and there is a variety of series for all types of readers. When seeking out manga I decided to check out Volume One of Phantom of the Idol by Hijiki Isoflavone. Here are my thoughts on the first installment of this new musical comedy series from Kodansha!
Yuya, one half of the boy pop duo ZINGS, may be the laziest performer in the Japanese music industry. His partner is out there giving 110% every night, but Yuya’s sloppy dancing and his frankly hostile attitude toward the audience have the fans hating him and his agent looking for any excuse to cut him loose. The career of a pop idol just isn’t the path of easy leisure Yuya expected…
After a particularly lifeless concert appearance, Yuya meets a girl backstage. All she wants from life is to perform. There’s just one problem: She’s been dead for a year.
If you are a fan of series such as My Dress-Up Darling, Kiss Him, Not Me!, and Horimiya then you may want to delve into Phantom of the Idol. This musical comedy series follows an upcoming idol singer, Yuya Niyodo, and his anything but “idol” persona. He originally joined the idol career scene because he thought it was easy money and in reality, it turns out that he actually has to put in the hard work. On the brink of giving up due to the stress of the job, Yuya meets the ghost of Asahi Mogami. Asahi died early in her career before she could reach the heights of stardom and spends her ghostly days hoping for a second chance at the stage. Could this new partnership between Asahi and Yuya actually work out?
This series instantly reminded me of reading other idol-themed stories such as Full Moon Wo Sagashite and Ossan Idol. I love a good musical-themed story and that’s the aspect that drew me to try out this new series. The first volume is light and entertaining, with many comical moments. Yuya and Asahi are complete opposites as idols and personality-wise which leads to a lot of laughs. Asahi’s bubbly nature and passion for the stage prompt Yuya to try harder as an idol while he would rather sleep in order to not practice. His dry humor and the duo’s personality differences made it fun to read, especially the parts where she borrows his body and performs in his place. The story has a lot of wacky antics making it a fun read, and I felt there was never a dull moment.
At the core of the story when you put the glitz and glamor aside, this story has a lot of heart. It’s a series about fulfilling dreams and finding your path. When Asahi meets Yuya, it makes him question just what kind of idol (and person) he wants to be not only for the fans but more importantly himself. The first installment has a good blend of comedy and true sincerity that will capture the reader’s attention. Additionally, the artwork and bits of the story poke fun at idol culture with stereotypical fans and shojo-esque tropes.
I enjoyed the first volume of Phantom of the Idol thoroughly and I can’t wait to read more. The illustrations combined with an overall exciting story made it a great reading experience. I was delighted to also find out this manga also has a brand new anime adaptation which will truly make the musical moments of this manga come to life. If you like musical-themed manga, this is one to add to your reading list.
*I received this review copy from Kodansha in exchange for a fair and honest review.