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- mangaka : Kaname Monica
- Publisher : yen press
- Style : Comedy, Romance, School Life, Shonen, Slice of Life
- published : March 2023
We have one obvious problem with Go-Toubun no Hanayome (The Quintessential Quintuplets) — the idea that supposedly identical twins can often swap identities without being detected via elaborate wigs and getups. Sora ni Hidamari (Sunbeams in the Sky) feels like it was written in direct response to the quintessential quintuplets — essentially, “twin drama” done right. A sweet romance with lots of cookie-baking and twin-swaps on the surface, the dark trauma running beneath the surface of the story is a surprising, but welcome, surprise. Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we review Sora ni Hidamari (Sunbeams in the Sky), Volume 1!
Identical sisters Mio and Himari Akeno have done everything together their entire lives – but upon graduating middle school, they’re headed in different directions. The strapless Himari attends a hardcore school to focus on her studies, while the bubbly and windy Mio is content as long as she’s having a good time. Himari’s high school life takes a turn for the worse when she rejects a boy’s confession and is cornered in an alley by her peers. Although she pulls through physically, Himari is mentally scarred and sequesters herself at home, refusing to go to school and being extremely cautious around men. Desperate to get her twin sister back to school, Mio hatches a diabolical plan – feigning illness, she begs Himari to go to school dressed like her! Reluctantly, Himari moves into Mio’s place – and meets Makoto, the kind and studious “class prince”. But Himari needs to make appearances and poke fun at Mio’s crush, the cold and aloof basketball player, Asaka – while navigating her own psychological trauma arising from being around these boys. Kaname Monica’s artwork is beautifully neat and sometimes borders on shoujo fluffiness – we’d recommend it to shoujo readers as well, despite the manga’s origins in the Gfantasy shonen magazine. With the entire series in Japanese in three volumes, we have a feeling the romantic and dramatic elements will be resolved nicely without dragging on for too long—sometimes it’s better to leave the audience wanting more!
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1. Twins hijinks done right
As we’ve mentioned before, Sunbeams in the Sky feels like a direct response to some nonsensical twin-swapping of the quintessential quintuplets (or at least, we thought so). Himari quickly learns that, aside from looks, she is a very different person from her sister; But in taking on that alternate personality, she allows herself to feel and say things she would never otherwise. The dramatic element of Himari also makes one want to believe that her budding romance with classmate Makoto is directed towards him, not the “Mio” she is impersonating. Despite the whole situation being temporary, Himari finds herself living vicariously through her sister’s life—but she also fears that no one likes her “for what she is”.
Sunbeams in the Sky promises a romantic comedy with twin-swapping hijinks and a dramatic layer, and it delivers in spades. Himari’s traumatic experience rears its ugly head at the worst possible times, while frequent gags (often at air-headed Mio’s expense) keep the mood relatively light. In particular, we love how the mangaka has done the twin-swaps in an emotionally and physically realistic way. We’re excited to see where the series will go and hope our twins get a happy ending! Are you going to read Sunbeams in the Sky? Tell us in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!
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