Beauty Pop 10 by Kiyoko Arai: B-

beautypop10Narumi’s father has goaded him into entering the Scissors Project into the All-Japan Beauty Tournament in order to prove he’s serious about forming his own salon with his schoolmates rather than inherit the family salon. In this final volume, the outcome of both the tournament and the love triangle between Narumi, his friend Ochiai, and protagonist Kiri, is revealed.

I was pretty disappointed in this conclusion. Kiri is sidelined for most of the first half for an incredibly contrived reason—she catches a cold by going out in the rain to forgive the rival hairstylist (I lost count, but I believe he’s the fifth or sixth to appear in the ten-volume series) who stole her special scissors but who we are supposed to care about because he is a sad orphan—and a lot of the romantic momentum built up in the previous volume is squandered. The outcome of the tournament is treated as an afterthought and while we do, courtesy of a comedic bonus story set ten years in the future, ultimately learn which boy Kiri ends up with, we never see her admit any feeling for either of them or witness any reaction from the boy not chosen.

Ultimately, Beauty Pop is a silly and cute tale that shows occasional glimmers of a more satisfying story but fails to deliver in the end. In some ways, I am reminded of the conclusion to Hana-Kimi, which had similar issues involving the unsatisfying resolution to a romantic triangle. How one felt about the final volume of that series would be a good indicator of what to expect from this one.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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