The Stellar Six of Gingacho (Kirameki Gingacho Shotengai) Volume 1

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Six merchant’s kids—Mike, Kuro, Iba, Q, Sato, and Mamoru—grew up as best friends in the Gingacho Shopping District but have begun to grow apart now that they are in middle school. When the neighborhood needs them, though, they begin to come back together. Fujimoto’s story features a sweet group of kids whose friendship is refreshingly angst-free, even when problems arise. Though her tale will be too earnest for more jaded readers, innocent kids who enjoy stories of silly adventure, growing up, and light romance will be captivated by the Stellar Six. The characters have distinct personalities, though this first volume focuses mostly on Mike and her best friend and probable love interest, Kuro. The art is lightly lined and slightly chaotic, fitting for the mostly humorous plot, and shows variety in the friends’ body types, including the chubby Iba. A few visual jokes are made about her weight, but otherwise it remains a non-issue, so far. Libraries looking to expand their shojo offerings shouldn’t miss this touching story of adolescence.