Creator: Ana C. Sanchez
Publisher: TOKYOPOP (@TOKYOPOP)
Sirius: Twin Stars by Ana C. Sanchez
WHAT IS IT?
Two young women bond over the power of following your dreams in this one-shot girls’ love story.
Think Prince of Tennis with a sapphic, romantic twist.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
All Dani Torres wanted to be when she grew up was a top tennis player like her legendary mother. As the pressure continued to build and expectations rose, she began to question whether or not the dream was truly hers or her mother’s. When a serious medical condition causes Dani to give up the sport, her parents send her to a quiet costal town to recover.
On her first night there, she comes across a group of girls who demand she fork over some cash. After an altercation ensues, Dani winds up in the hospital and is told to take it easy. Never one to sit around mindlessly, she gets a job at a local shop and once again comes across the girl she fought with a few nights prior. Introducing herself as Blanca, the girl with stars in her hair begs for a fresh start between them. Blanca tells Dani about her passion for astronomy, sparking an unexpected relationship between the two based around dreams, understanding, and fresh starts.
Sanchez’s art style is simply charming. The character designs are soft and have a shimmery aura to them that perfectly matches the star-struck narrative. The characters are expressive and stylish, sporting a variety of outfits and hairstyles throughout, which shows the passage of time over the short summer the story takes place in.
The story really hits hard with the topics Sanchez chose to highlight. Themes of self-discovery, finding and losing dreams, guilt, self-doubt, young love, and the joy and fulfillment of following your passions make this title a moving read that allows both of the protagonists to shine both individually and together.
A lot of care was put into the backgrounds. The coastal town almost feels like a character itself with how much detail was added to the buildings and beaches. It feels like a living, breathing place.
The cast of minor characters really does a lot to help the narrative. From Blanca's sister to Dani's cousin to the snooty girls causing trouble, each of the additional cast members have strong personalities and are just as memorable as our stars.
The astronomy spin is a nice theme throughout the story that plausibly makes sense with Blanca's passion for it. It adds a poetic tone to the narrative, using the stars and constellations as a roadmap to their relationship, and it is woven into the plot in a believable manner that doesn't feel forced.
The prologue scene is entirely I color and it’s a nice choice to help start the story and pull readers into the dreamy, innocent world young Dani existed in. You can feel the love for the sport and childlike wonder shine through the soft colors, and it adds to the impact of what she loses with the switch to B&W art making the transition feel as heavy as her heart does.
This is one of the few titles in the LOVExLOVE collection that doesn’t have a random, out of left field sex scene and it was nice to see the character development, personal journeys, and romantic relationship blossom in an organic way without one. It’s uncommon and highly welcomed.
The last few pages include a fun “sketchbook” that shows some of Sanchez’ work while creating this one-shot, it’s a neat look into the creative process.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
CW: Bullying (including a scene of fairly shocking violence) and verbal child abuse, hints of underage alcohol consumption including spiked drinks, use of tobacco, conversations about mental struggles.
Being a typical slice-of-life, realism-based romance story, it’s not particularly original. If you’re wanting something gripping or unique, this probably isn’t the title for you. This is more of a laid-back, low-key read that doesn’t require a lot of focus and is great for a lazy afternoon.
Some of the fonts could have used a bit of touching up. Several bubbles have a lot of empty space and some the background text gets lost against the backgrounds and could have used thicker boarders to help them stand out.
The snap shift from Blanca being introduce with such a nasty personality, then violently attacking Dani, to feeling regretful, and finally wanting to be her friend in the span of about twenty pages is a bit jarring. This is a common problem with one-shot stories, a lot of character development get shortened and pacing issues are common, but it does feel forced.
Sirius: Twin Stars art and story by Ana C. Sanchez
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
International Women of Manga winner Ana C. Sanchez returns with this sporty, slice-of-life romance one-shot after the success of her debut title, Alter Ego. Sirius: Twin Stars mixes together several genres to create a down-to-earth and realistic story about growing up, following your dreams, and first loves. Though it suffers from many of the common issues that one-shots do, it is an absolutely charming and touching story that anyone who has ever dreamed big can relate to. The honest narrative of picking yourself back up after tragedy and failure cements Sirius: Twin Stars as a comfort title that many readers will cherish.
Currently available on digital platforms, Sirius: Twin Stars will be releasing in print late November of this year. A nice 150 or so pages, this easy to read will be great to grab when you're missing the warmth of summertime and want some feel-good vibes with substance. It’s nice to see a sports heavy story featuring a female cast, and the addition of the slice-of-life elements really makes this title stand out compared to others in the genre. GL titles aren’t as prevalent in TOKYOPOP’s LOVExLOVE collection (they do exist but not in as much abundance as BL), so this is a welcome addition that long-time readers of queer romance and newcomers looking for a starting place with will enjoy.
HOW DO I READ IT?
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