Swan Volume One is a manga by Ariyoshi Kyoko, and it was published in North America by CMX in 2005. It should be noted that Swan was originally serialized in Japan back in the 1970s, but only came over to America after CMX acquired the license for the series. There were 21 volumes of this series released in Japan, but CMX only managed to release 15 of them before the imprint was closed down. When CMX published Swan in North America, it was given a rating of “E for Everyone”; after reading this volume, I agree with this rating.
The main character of Swan is a young woman named Masumi Hijiri, who lives in Japan. The series starts with her sneaking backstage at a ballet performance to express her admiration for the lead dancers, Alexei Sergeiev and Maria Prisetskaya. When Masumi meets them, she gets very tongue-tied, and instead shows her appreciation by trying to do a dance that Prisetskaya performed on stage during the show. The two ballet dancers excuse her, saying they appreciated the physical expression of her admiration.
This is followed by Masumi unexpectedly receiving an invitation to enter a nation-wide ballet competition. When she goes to the competition, she meets and becomes friends with Sayoko Kyogoku, Hisho Kusakabe, and Aoi Yanagisawa; these three are some of the best junior ballet dancers in Japan. It is learned during the competition that it is being held in order to find the best ballet students in Japan and to invite them to an exclusive ballet school that has been designed to improve the quality and standing of Japanese ballet. The series follows Masumi as she starts working her way through the world of ballet.
Since this series was originally from the 1970s, the art is reflective of the shojo titles of that era. As I read this volume, the art really made me think of the art style in the Candy Candy manga series. This older art style could potentially be a turnoff to modern manga readers, who have become accustomed to the art styles being used in current manga series.