A little while ago, there was something of a mini Yuri goldrush. A lot of new Yuri manga were being released in a short period of time and it really got me excited about reading some girls’ love again. I ordered a bunch of titles at the time and Hello Melancholic was part of the bunch.
This little series was a bit of a surprise to me.
Why I Picked up Hello Melancholic
To be honest, I’m not sure why I ended up ordering Hello Melancholic. It’s not like there was anything particularly special to grab my attention. I guess I liked the setting. A school band. In my head, it was More K-On than Given or Sound! Euphonium for some reason. You know, light and comedic. I guess the cover is ok (more on this later).
If I’m really honest with myself, I think I was on a high of ordering manga (it’s a real problem) and I just grabbed anything I thought might have some sort of potential but I don’t really remember what it was.
Hello, Melancholic! Manga Volume 1 features story and art by Yayoi Ohsawa.
Asano Minato is a tall but stooping first-year in high school. Though she’s a killer trombone player, she does everything she can to fade into the background. Despite her best efforts, Minato catches the attention of her bubbly and charismatic senpai Hibiki, who wants Minato to join the mysterious band she’s forming at school. And she won’t take no for an answer! Will Minato be able to let go of the past and play in a school band again? Can polar opposites harmonize through music? Slow jam your way into this dulcet yuri series!
My First Impression
Oh, they are kinda hot…
What I liked
I should clear up my first impression a bit. I mentioned the cover in my why I picked it up section. But I didn’t really notice the characters. The cover is fine, Hibiki is cute enough but for some reason, that was all it was. But inside the manga, especially on the first splash page, I thought the girls were just really attractive. I know for a fact this is not going to be a universal experience. I think the art style and character designs are not the types that would appeal to the bulk of my readers. But what can I say, it worked for me… I really liked both the style and the design and I thought they were, well, hot. And that certainly affected my appreciation of Hello Melancholic as a whole.
But I think it would be unfair to just say that I liked the series because the girls are pretty
There is a lot of good stuff here.
The entire series is only three volumes so that comes with the usual pitfalls. Characters are a bit shallow and stay underdeveloped for instance. And the love story is very simple, there isn’t time for a lot of twists and turns. But the pacing is exceptional.
I read most of the first volume one evening and I really got into it. I was exhausted and that’s the only reason I didn’t finish it right away. I did the next day and immediately ordered the other two. Then I saw that volume two was coming out in a few months and volume three wasn’t announced yet so I just read the rest of the series digitally that night. I did preorder volume two and I will be getting volume 3. I also bookmarked the author’s other works to read later. Because despite the flaws I saw in the series it was just so easy to get through and pleasant that I couldn’t stop myself from wanting more.
Hello Melancholic is also a very lighthearted title and skips all the angst and well… melancholy… you often see in Yuri. That is a plus in my book.
The series actually follows two couples which was a great way of exploring relationships at different stages. Asano and Hibiki just met and through the volumes, we see them essentially falling in love. It’s those early stages where you’re not entirely sure of your feelings. Whether it’s admiration, friendship or something else. The relationship is mostly sweet and innocent. We don’t even see them kiss in the series. It’s very cute.
But there’s also Sakiko and Chika. To my surprise and delight, they are given just as much time and attention as the couple that is on the cover. Sakiko and Chika have known each other since middle school, they have had a physical relationship for years, which is explicit, but they are not officially dating for several reasons. There is a bit of bitterness in their couple. They have gone through a lot together and they’re not in the honeymoon stage anymore. Their relationship is a bit more mature and complicated.
By following both couples, we get a slightly more complete picture of a relationship than we usually do. Keep in mind that at only three volumes, it’s still mostly surface level but there are more angles.
This is neither good nor bad but I just thought I should mention, Hello Melancholic takes place in a universe without boys (the characters do have fathers but it’s the only men we see in the series), so there’s no real consideration about how same-sex relationships are viewed in society or anything like that.
Aside from the few things I mentioned already brought on by the limitation of a short story, I do feel that Hello Melancholic is likely to be a niche Yuri. What I mean is that I feel like it doesn’t have universal appeal. Generally speaking, the story is a bit flighty and light. There isn’t much drama or conflict. It’s a calm little story about girls falling in love and it might be boring to some.
It doesn’t have that sort of weaponized charm that some other titles do. Sometimes I come across a Yuri that I think everyone should love regardless of whether they actually will love it or not. But Hello Melancholic isn’t that type of manga. It’s pleasant but ultimately a little hollow and I can understand if it’s not your cup of tea.
For me, Hello Melancholic was a wonderful surprise. I expected nothing and got a sweet little story that I really looked forward to getting into for a few evenings. I will lend it to my Yuri-loving friends once I get all the volumes!