Star Light Woman Complete Manga Review
Star Light Woman:
Reviewed by: Linny
Synopsis: Yumako Hoshi just wants a normal life as a normal woman but that may be a pipe dream. In reality, she is #214, the most powerful and successful result of an alien species abducting humans and activating their latent abilities. They want her to help them start and win a revolution against their oppressors but all Yumako wants is to become ordinary again as her new abilities leave her constantly on the run, avoiding the accidental consequences of her new powers, and her bumbling ex captors.
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Star Light Woman is a short series consisting of only 15 chapters. Right off the bat, that makes it a great reading option for someone who wants a quick read. The art style of Star Light Woman has some vintage sci-fi notes and may even remind some readers of older western graphic novels through the design of its characters and panel layout on some pages. And for those who were immediately curious/concerned by the somewhat fan service-y preview images, the series is mostly tame though some panels do seem to flaunt Hoshi’s figure a bit. There is also an attempted kidnapping of a high school aged female character with the insinuation that it would had led to molestation if it hadn’t been stopped. And finally, for a few chapters, Hoshi works in a seedy hostess bar that’s revealed to be engaging in some human trafficking secretly. So yes, there is subject matter and some panel art that might upset sensitive readers but nothing outright loathsome.
Moving on to the tone of the series, it’s a little all over the place, and I mean that as more of a compliment than a criticism. The constant comedic interruptions help to stop the story from feeling too serious though in all honesty, a lot of the dramatic reveals about people’s backgrounds are a bit cliche and hammed up. The action battles help to kick up the excitement levels while the dramatic scenes help to warm you up to the characters. There are a few moments where the series does stumble as it moves at a breakneck speed in an effort to push its story forward resulting in an unsatisfying and forced progression such as when everybody seems to recover from an attempted stabbing overnight and treat it like it wasn’t a big deal that someone’s jealous girlfriend tried to kill a coworker out of sheer jealousy and based solely on personal suspicion and not facts.
Our first chapter is basically our big reveal and introduction to Hoshi and her powers, ultimately ending with a big showdown with the aliens that leaves her once again on the run. It quickly lets you know that Hoshi is a likeable enough lead, someone who is struggling with a power she does not want and whose personality is a nice mix of dorky and kind. The story then starts to quickly introduce new characters. First up, we have an ‘ally’ in the form of Kousuke Sakurai, a fellow ex-abductee who now has the ability to read and hear people’s thoughts thanks to the aliens. He teams up with Hoshi mainly because he discovers that being close to her stops him from being forced to hear people’s thoughts and can finally get some rest without being kept awake by all the voices. He comes off as an okay guy, no knight in shining armour but he does give Hoshi someone who understands and shares her unfortunate situation. Unfortunately, he does get easily overwhelmed when he realizes that sticking to her would mean being relentlessly pursued and attacked by the aliens and Hoshi is forced to leave him for his own good.
The other ‘main’ character of the story is introduced immediately after we leave Kousuke, and her name is Madowa, an arrogant and attractive high school girl who’s rude behaviour is ‘explained’ by the fact that she never knew her mother and has a playboy father whom she loathes and blames for her mother leaving them. She’s the exact opposite of Hoshi, constantly prattling on about how she wants an exciting life and wants to be anything but average and normal. You can tell she is meant to be a bit of an antagonist from all of that alone and so it isn’t to surprising once the series reveals her to be exactly that. She’s ultimately painted as a tragic victim of her circumstances and it’s unfortunate that though the story seems to insinuate that she might have been enlightened by her interactions with Hoshi, there is no sign that she regrets her toxic behaviour towards others from before. Madowa is most likely a villain for those who like their antagonist characters to be shades of grey rather than outright evil and unforgivable.
Being a short series, Star Light Woman is unsurprisingly guilty of leaving some things up in the air or not properly establishing and exploring certain characters. For example, we’re introduced to a group of three modified humans who agree to hunt Hoshi down in exchange for being able to return to normal. While two of them quickly show their powers and personalities, the third remains completely mysterious throughout. We never get to see her powers or even learn her name. She seems to exist solely for the sake of being the catalyst to another uprising but that role could have easily been done by anyone else. I have to avoid discussing the other similar issues as they could potentially be huge spoilers so I’ll wrap this section up by saying don’t read Star Light Woman expecting all your questions to be answered. That doesn’t mean none of the questions get answered, there’s just a very likely chance that SOME of the questions won’t.
Let’s get to the meat of what’s GOOD about Star Light Woman. First off, it’s humour is pretty fun if you’re a fan of the sillier kinds of jokes and they’re regularly interspersed throughout the series so the more serious and heavy parts of the series often get broken up by mood lightening comedy. Secondly, Star Light Woman also does action and drama well as Hoshi meets and rescues all sorts of people while on the run. These stories of Hoshi on the run are some of the best parts of the story. None of the people she meets and rescues are blameless or innocent but it only serves to make them feel human and make Hoshi come off as the noble heroine, someone willing and able to look past someone’s flaws and appreciate them for the good that’s hidden behind all that. And finally, the dynamic art lends itself well to the action scenes and should please action fans.
Should you read Star Light Woman? If you’ve got the time to spare and/or are on the lookout for a short completed action/sci-fi comedy series, then the answer is a resounding yes. Star Light Woman is funny and fun, offering up tons of action and comedy and perfect for anyone looking for a goofy story that still takes itself seriously overall. The protagonist is extremely likeable and the perfect mix of dorky and sexy that exists in fiction. The jokes will have you laughing, the action will have you cheering and as long as you don’t mind a cliche popping up ever so often, Star Light Woman is a great way to kill time and enjoy a manga without having to worry about the long wait for the next chapter.
Star Light Woman is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.