REVIEW: ‘Look into My Eyes’

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Look into My Eyes

Indie manga publisher Star Fruit Books is back with another unique title. This time, it is the 33-page one-shot: Look into My Eyes (Because Life is Still Longby Miyako Yoko. It centers on the disbandment of a girl idol group. Idols are a relatively popular sub-genre in the manga, and there are a decent amount of idol themed titles in the English market. Not many take a serious look at idol-culture, however. There is Not Your Idol, which explores sexual assault and harassment. Look into My Eyes takes a different route: it is grounded in growing up and made for a bittersweet reading experience. It is translated into English by Dan Luffey and features retouch and lettering by Danielle Chen.

The Indent Girls are a hugely popular idol group, and the story opens at their final concert. The girls take turns thanking their fans, saying how much fun they’ve had and that they are sad to go. When it is Mami’s turn, she exclaims that she isn’t happy and doesn’t want this. Look into My Eyes then flashes back to when Mami finds out her co-members (Yui, Marina, and Sachi) all announce they want to quit. Each girl has different reasons for needing this, and I won’t reveal much so as not to spoil. Each personal reason lies in the fact that they are growing up, and what they wanted as young girls might not be what they want now.

The best part about Look into My Eyes is the fact that this short, 33-page story is incredibly relatable. The insecurities Mami has about being left in the dust, and questioning if she is happy with where she is in life are painfully real. A character even heartbreakingly describes her depression as a result of being in the spotlight. It is sad, but the manga also remains hopeful throughout. The girls (eventually young women) are looking forward to the future. Even Mami has to look forward, although she is scared of change.

It was equally impressive how the manga illustrated Mami’s social insecurities in such a short amount of time. It is clear when she lashes out that it is in part at herself. Were her three friends in pain and she didn’t notice? Did they resent the time the four spent together? Once again, these are elevated due to the pressure of being an idol, but Mami’s insecurities will still strike a chord with readers.

Yoko’s art focuses on faces, aside from the concert most backgrounds are white. The emotions of the ladies are put front and center. I also want to give a nod to the realistic proportions and lack of sexualization of the girls, even when they are in their idol outfits. Yoko ensures that the reader is going to focus on the internal in this series, rather than the external.

It is always exciting to see more indie manga releases. Look into My Eyes is a thoughtful, relatable story that ultimately uplifts readers even when it is bittersweet. If you are interested in exploring more indie manga titles, this one deserves your support.

Look into My Eyes is available now digitally from Star Fruit Books’ website.

Look into My Eyes
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TL;DR

It is always exciting to see more indie manga releases. Look into My Eyes is a thoughtful, relatable story that ultimately uplifts readers even when it is bittersweet. If you are interested in exploring more indie manga titles, this one deserves your support.