Forbidden Dance Volume 2 by Hinako Ashihara

So…. what to do with a plot when your heroine triumphs and wins the big event to make her guy notice her? Add in a rival, of course! And a perfect one as well – the elusive European who speaks perfect Japanese and travels all the way to Japan RIGHT at the moment when our heroine gains her beloved Akira’s attention. JUST so she can drape herself all over him in front of our Aya. Yep, it’s shoujo manga, folks.


Plot: Aya needs to win the Ballet competition but someone has placed glass in her slippers to cut her feet and sabotage her! She knows it could only be the highly competitive Yoshino but she won’t be daunted! When she finds the real culprit, however, she will be devastated! Meanwhile, the best ballet dancer in the world, the beautiful Diana, shows up in Japan and is all over Akira. What is their past relationship? And are they a couple now? Aya is so jealous she can barely dance but even as she idolizes Diana, does the other woman have a secret only Aya can fix?

Yep, we hit all the cliche tree branches in a freefall to the bottom of mundane land. More jealousy, more catfights, more unpleasant female behavior. This is one of those series where I have to wonder if our mangaka is either inspiration free or misogynistic. Probably the former since the story was ludicrous, the plot twists and characterizations preposterous, and the whole thing an exercise in silly. What might have been a respectful and serious romance set in the ballet world has instead morphed into a light and fluffy filler with little substance or charm.

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