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Maki Takano and his three best friends Ryo, Natsume and Mei are students at a private academy for highly gifted children. Like all the other students of this isolated and heavily guarded school, they have never seen the outside world since they were brought to the school at the young age of three. When a new female student named Kiriko Hinatsu arrives, Maki has the strange feeling that he has met her before. However, he seems to be the only person who can remember the girl. When he confronts her with his discovery, Kiriko reveals the unbelievable truth about their existence and the school they're attending. Maki now has to decide: will he continue his school life or will he help Kiriko escape even if that means putting himself and his mental health at risk?
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Out of 4 chapters, unyielding, inconsequential, unbelievable.
You can't judge a manga by its title.
Just read the first volume and chapters 9, 10, and 11: excellent. The plot is, as you can tell from the description, about children who have raised in a controlled environment by bad people. However, the story consists of far more than just the exploitation of an idea. It's exciting yet down-to-earth. The storyline and characters' reactions are all very realistic. There's no epic "one-liners", this isn't a story which is there to entertain, it's not action-packed either. It's just an extremely engaging plot, with well-paced introduction of plot elements. If you've read Battle Royale, then this comparison will be useful: just as in Battle Royale, in The Hour of the Mice you come to care deeply about the characters and their struggles, to the extent that once you finish all the chapters you'll be feeling anxious for the characters and want to read more.
With a lame title like "The Hour of the Mice" I didn't expect a lot, but I was happily surprised. For instance, I feared the pacing would be full of quick plot developments consisting mainly of the characters running around or having constant close calls, but it's not rushed at all, and every development flows naturally. Also, there are other plot threads starting to weave themselves in near the beginning of the third volume, so it seems like this story could have epic potential. It's starting to give me a little bit of the feel of Highschool of the Dead, by the way (in semblance--it's much better, unless "less fanservice" = "worse" for you).
My only complaint is that it's 25-page monthly chapters, with only 3 volumes since 2004. ;_; It's totally believable: there's no part of this story or behavior of an individual person or character which I couldn't possibly see happen IRL in fact, to my amazement. The pace isn't very quick yet they've revealed a surprising amount of information: we're presented with the general idea of events that occur in the story, although obviously we don't have a totally clear idea about the exact nature of situations, and the characters have developed a lot in just the first volume, so it's far from unyielding. And it's only inconsequential to the extent that you don't care about the characters (humans being experimented upon without their knowing isn't "new", obviously, but the plot is well-constructed). That's my personal opinion. By the way, the art grows on you.
... Last updated on November 7th, 2007, 7:14pm
Toume does it again.
Another of my all-time favorites. It combines Toume's unique narrative and artistic stylization with a bit of an Orwellian edge, creating a thought-provoking environment filled with intriguing characters and concepts. Naturally, Toume's skilled use of suspense is almost perfect, and there are few to no flaws in the pacing. I am extremely saddened at the fact that this has yet to be translated to completion, and I can only hope that Kotonoha will eventually take mercy upon me and finish.
I haven't read such an interesting, suspenseful manga in quite a long time. The story is tight, it progresses fast, the art is very expressive. Recommended to everyone who likes a good conspiracy theory.
Oh and Ladyholyman, you've no idea what you're talking about, sorry.
So no one is going to continue scanlating this series? First volume was fantastic, I really want to read more. Got me hooked easily, hope someone might start scanlating this series.
The story plus the mystery aspect of this just gives you a brain orgasm. It's that good.
More to come?
A departure from darkly psychological suspense that thrives on shocks and angst alone, Hatsukanezumi no Jikan offers a comparatively mellow, meditative approach to science fiction. The kids are easy to care about, and the facility’s enigmatic passive-aggression has potential, provided the last two volumes are more informative than the first. The ease with which Maki and his friends develop self-awareness through enlightenment surprised me, but I suspect Toume is more interested in the pitfalls of freedom and free will, a theme I hope to see developed in the final volumes.
I would respectfully disagree with with Monkry said. The characters in LoTL were too hung up with their emotions and there was a weird disconnect with story and suspension of disbelief we can hold. But enough about that.
The Hour of the Mice shows just how much Toume Kei's storytelling has evolved and is now much more organic and settling. The story is entirely about the dynamic of the characters and how they react to the situations they have been placed in. The best part is that its quite believable and it helps that the wonderfully melancholic art just sucks you into the world.
As for the ending.... well if you've read a Toume Kei manga you know what to expect but this has got to be the most optimistic (for her) ending I've seen her write in ages. Plus the end has such a clever inversion of a trope for the main character and even then you will be content with reading this.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
The school has closed down but Maki ended up with no one. Wow, first time I've read a manga where the main guy was alone in the end!
... Last updated on October 31st, 2011, 4:46am
I don't know, but I read Hitsuji no Uta (Lament of The Lamb) first, then I read it. After finishing this series, I just felt "just like that?" The idea is good, but after felt great emotions in Hitsuji no Uta, I couldn't find it here. Though the ending was good, not sucks like Hitsuji no Uta.
Congratulations to Toume-sensei for keeping me glued. I had doubts about her work after reading Momonchi, but this one turned my opinion around. Very engaging read. Now that I've finished it, I feel really bad that I kept it in the backburner for so long.
Probably my only complaint would be the untapped potential for romance. But then again, this isn't a romance manga.