Tamaki Nozomu‘s Hakodate Youjin Buraichou Himegami (which I shall henceforth refer to as Himegami) is a fun and well-illustrated action manga with plenty of notable moments, especially during fights. The mark of a great action manga isn’t just good-looking fights, but fights that can’t easily be found elsewhere, and Himegami has both of those qualities.
It wouldn’t do much good to go into detail about fight scenes for obvious reasons, so instead, I’ll be highlighting another great aspect of Himegami: the facial expressions of the lead-character, Hyou-chan (particularly in the first chapter).
From her first appearance up through the first combat scene, Hyou-chan remains almost completely silent. She displays a whole range of personality through facial expressions instead, most of which are the same ones she wears throughout the manga.
1. The standard Hyou-chan face; a result of taking herself way too seriously. There’s a certain cuteness and naiveté to it.
2. It seems like Hyou-chan tried to be annoyed by their request, but ended up embarrassed by the gigantic breasts in her face.
3. I love this – Hyou-chan literally raises an eyebrow in consideration of the offer, then accepts, looking totally appeased.
4. Hyou-chan crunches down on her candy, gritting her teeth, ready to fight!
5. Badass-in-combat face.
6. “Get the fuck out of town,” face.
7. Looking down on a weakling face; also, her first dialog, epitomizing the pride of a warrior which drives her.
8. Ass, which is shown as much as her face.
9. “Holding strong to her principles” face.
10. “Huh?” face.
11. Panicked “dude I swear she’s lying” face.
12. “Eeeeh?! De mo!” face.
13. Defeated and full of rage face (my younger brother’s permanent expression).
Besides making the reader pay more attention to her facial expressions, Hyou-chan’s lack of dialog in this scene provides an important groundwork for her character. She has sort of an animal nature – she’s easily led on by offerings of food, likes to fight, is always on guard, has that sort of shaggy look to her, and is full of pride. I half-expected her to be like Mikoto from Mai-HiME, but Hyou-chan actually talks a lot throughout the manga, which leads me to believe that Tamaki purposefully drew attention to her facial expressions in this chapter.
Another great thing about showcasing all of these facial expressions early on is that when a new face appears, it’s significance is very clear. One that particularly struck me was this moment from the second volume wherein Hyou-chan finds a possible way to learn about her father and makes a more serious face than any before:
Another that caught my eye was from chapter eight; Hyou-chan is mid-conversation and seems to be thinking hard about the situation while quite angry over recent events. The crazy guy’s face behind her is great as well, and I love how it’s all juxtaposed against a peaceful flower.
I’ll have more to say about Himegami once I’m finished reading it, and I’ll try to collect any more interesting facial deviations from Hyou-chan.
(Images taken from solelo (Wings of Yuri)‘s scanslation)