SHY, vol. 1 | Review
Shy, vol. 1
Story and Art by Bumiki Miki
Published 12/13/22, Yen Press
Age rating: Teen
Imagine being one of the world’s greatest superheroes while batting a debilitating weakness. In Shy, Teru Momijiyama (aka Shy) has severe shyness and fears that she’s not good enough to be a superhero.
I know some of us have been there.
That fear and anxiety of not being “good enough.”
As your typical high schooler, Teru really has no worries. She goes to school, hangs out with her friends, and does fun things teenagers would do. But as the superhero Shy, she has a tremendous responsibility on her shoulders. Shy is a member of a league of international superheroes, led by the entity, Unilord. Other heroes include Century (representing America), Spirit (representing Russia in, sadly, a stereotypical fashion by being drunk), and Stardust (a British rockstar who is obviously an homage the legendary musician, David Bowie, but harbors a bit of a psychotic, narcissistic streak). Shy is the representative of Japan, and Japan (and the world) is watching her every move. Aiding her is a robot sidekick N. Vilio, aka Shrimpy, because well it looks like a shrimp.
While Shy is doing her best to be the representative and hero Japan deserves, her self-doubt and shyness hinder her ability to do so at times. When speaking in front of an audience at a fairground, Shy is very timid and meek, throwing up after the appearance as the anxiety takes over. When a harrowing rollercoaster accident takes place, Shy manages to save everyone except one teenaged girl. While the girl survives with severe injuries, the general public mostly criticizes and casts blame on Shy. This causes Teru to doubt her ability to be a real hero. While she battles this crisis of faith, Spirit and Unilord remind Teru that it’s not the power but the heart that makes the hero. They have faith in her, but they need Teru to see that all she needs is faith in herself. When the injured girl, Iko Koishikawa, becomes Teru’s classmate and finds herself in another harrowing situation, Teru rises to save her as Shy, exposing her identity to Iko. However, Iko keeps Teru’s superhero identity a secret, and in return she becomes Teru’s friend and confidant when Teru’s doubt arises.
Shy has great action with illustrations displayed in a wonderfully chaotic fashion. The violence is not intense and graphic, but there are minor scary moments. But the real story is not the action nor how to be the best superhero. It’s overcoming doubt and having faith in yourself, as Teru learns throughout this story. It’s very inspiring, as most superhero stories are, and especially for those with severe anxiety, it’s not a condescending story. It’s very relatable and authentic, and it shows that having a good heart and soul is what it takes to be a hero. To get the job done despite the odds, which Shy shows that she does have the ability to do. I look forward to seeing what challenges Shy faces next, and how she overcomes them despite her shyness.
In the words of David Bowie, “we can be heroes, just for one day.” (Sorry, I just had to)
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.
SLJ Blog Network