Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes
Title: Hot Gimmick (3in1) Vol. 1
Author: Miki Aihara
Synopsis: (Taken from Amazon)
In company-owned rabbit-hutch apartments live tenants who can’t afford to live anywhere else, and the apartment complex in which high-school girl Hatsumi Narita lives is ruled over by the rumor mongering, self-righteous Mrs. Tachibana. Get on Tachibana’s bad side, and life becomes hell. When Hatsumi has to buy a pregnancy test because her popular sister Akane is late, Mrs. Tachibana’s son, Ryoki, who used to bully Hatsumi as a kid, promises not to tell the world about Hatsumi’s secret, only if she becomes his slave. Suddenly Azusa, Hatsumi’s protector in their youth, reappears to save her again! He’s moving back into the neighborhood! Despite the budding romance between Hatsumi and Azusa, Ryoki has control over her through the secret that could ruin the lives of everyone in Hatsumi’s family, and he hasn’t forgotten who his slave is!
Hatsumi is a sensible and mild-mannered young girl, but she suddenly finds herself in a swirl of drama that threatens to drive her totally crazy. Her younger sister is a shameless flirt and might be pregnant. [Oh no!] An old friend is back in town and is now a famous (and hot) fashion model.[Swoon…]Her neighbor is a bully and is blackmailing her to be his love slave. [Hate him!!]And this is just the beginning! Miki Aihara turned the manga world upside down with her salacious, outrageous, and funny hit series. If you think being a teenager in America is hard, wait until you read Hot Gimmick. These Tokyo boys and girls are really messed up!
I felt sorry for Hatsumi (the female protagonist) of this manga series. She is passionate, although she has the inability to fully stand up for herself. Enter Ryoki. Ryoki can easily be classified as a complete “A-hole” to the extreme, borderline violent. Living in the same housing complex, they have known each other since they were children where (even at an early age) he would call her “Stupid” and push her down. He’s a bully to the extreme. While Hatsumi’s underage middle-school little sister thinks she may be pregnant, she encourages Hatsumi to go get a pregnancy test for her. Ryoki stumbles into Hatsumi and discovers this little secret and dictates Hatsumi to be his “Slave” otherwise he would tell his mother, the “Queen of all landlords” which could possibly do major damage to her father’s job and their housing situation.
While reading “Hot Gimmick” I can honestly say I hated this Ryoki character. He was savagely mean to her, tearing her down, and calling her names. He even insisted on taking her “Cherry” as practice for him. Along comes old childhood friend, turned fashion super model Azusa. Like he did during their younger years together – he comes to her rescue and makes all the girls jealous of Hatsumi by calling her his girlfriend. But – can this man be as genuine as he seems or does he have other tricks in store?
I found Hot Gimmick to be incredibly dramatic with deep subjects including first crushes, love, teen pregnancy, blackmail, and even rape. Like most Japanese manga, there is a definite sense of perversion – but I have found Hot Gimmick to be a tad different as there is a sense of realism as well. As this is the first three books in the series (put together into a volume), I have no idea what is in store for Hatsumi and her disastrous relationships all around. I sure do hope that she gathers up the courage and finds true romance and happiness for herself.