Minami Nanami Wants to Shine, vol. 1 | Review
Minami Nanami Wants to Shine
By Yuki Yaki
Age range: Older Teen
In this spin-off of the popular light novel, Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki, Minami Nanami gets her chance to be front and center when she is asked by her mother to become a model for a local ad to promote her make-up line.
Always feeling like she is second best to her friend, Aoi Hinami, Minami (or Mimimi to her friends) is eager to have her chance in the spotlight. While she excels in track club and her studies, Minami always seems to be outshined by Aoi, no matter what she does. This fuels her insecurities and her drive to be better than she was before. This is illustrated when Aoi outdoes Minami in track-and-field, something Minami specializes in. The reader can see how much of a blow it is to Minami’s ego. So once she receives the modeling offer from her mother, Minami sees an opportunity to shine in a light of her own.
Anyone who has felt they were second best to their friend/colleague/family member will feel very connected to this story. While Minami is characterized as a very cheerful person, and is even considered to be the class clown (see Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki), to see her friend surpass her and receive accolades she once had can take a toll, or even destroy a friendship. While it does hurt Minami, she continues to be Aoi’s friend, and Aoi doesn’t make Minami feel bad about herself. This shows that while they are sort-of rivals, they still maintain a secure friendship. As Minami sees the first proofs of her photo shoot, she sees a new side of herself that she wants to explore. Even Aoi shows a slight case of envy, which Minami immediately notices.
One scene that must be mentioned is Minami thinking about her insecurities after her bath. She is nude in the scene, though it is not graphic. I personally thought this was well done as it showcases her vulnerability to share her insecurities. We tend to feel that way sometimes, as some of us are conditioned to view vulnerability as a sign of weakness, however acknowledging is really the exact opposite. It can be viewed as a sign of acceptance, bravery, and the motivation to improve ourselves, which is what our main character is trying to do.
I look forward to seeing how Minami’s character evolves in volume two. Will she find herself in her new light, or will it take her some place where she doesn’t want to be?
About Renee Scott
Renee Scott is a young adult librarian based in NYC, as well as a dedicated otaku and gamer. She is a lifelong fan of comics, anime, and manga. She can be found on Twitter at @libraryladynyc, and on her review blog, The Library Lady of NYC Reviews.
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