October 25, 2015

Manga Review: High School Debut by Kazune Kawahara


Title: High School Debut

Author: Kazune Kawahara

Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

Date of Publication: 2008

Number of Volumes: 13

Number of Pages: 192 (each volume)

Find it at: Book Depository (Vol. 1-3)

Summary

When Haruna Nagashima was in junior high her life consisted of playing softball and reading comics. But now that she's going to high school, Haruna decides to put all of her energy towards getting a boyfriend and having the high school romance of a lifetime. To help in her quest, she enlists cute upperclassman Yoh Komiyama to coach her as she eschews her jock tendencies and turns herself into the kind of girl who can catch a guy. Yoh agrees, with one catch: Haruna had better not fall for him!

Review

Before I start writing my review of this manga I have a confession to make: I watched the live action version of it first. And, if I might add, luckily I watched it first. If it were the other way around I would be utterly disappointed. Having explained that, I can now say that High School Debut was completely different from what I was expecting.

As I had watched the film, the summary of the manga was known to me. So, when I started reading it I knew what was going to happen more or less, and some part of me was afraid that it would be just like so many other romantic manga out there. But then the fun part begun! The story I knew concluded in the third volume! Now, if you've read manga with many volumes, like this one, you know that it can take a really long time for the feelings of the protagonists to finally get to one another. And here in this one, not only they confess to each other, they also decide to go out! In the third volume. And there are still ten more volumes to go. This fact alone picked my interest.

As it turns out, if someone asked me about the story of High School Debut I would probably give a different answer from the given summary. Ok, this is the starting point, but this manga has so much more! Haruna and Yoh do go out, but we watch them struggle to make this relationship work. There is jealousy, there is fighting, there are expectations to be met. One of my favourite parts is when Haruna tries to plan the perfect date for Christmas and it all goes wrong. It's not romantic at all, although they do have fun.

Like most of the manga of this genre, the protagonists face the problem of choosing a future for themselves. They are high school students after all. But are they ready to possibly go the distance? Is their love strong enough to last? I've yet to read a manga showing so perfectly these feelings and worries than Lovely Complex, but High School Debut is decent enough. Yoh is a year older than Haruna, so he graduates earlier. I loved the fact that he asks Haruna what he should do and she pushes him to follow his dream, even though she is hurt.

Both of the protagonists in High School Debut are likeable enough. I mean Haruna is always trying her best, sometimes maybe too hard, and she always tries to meet every obstacle with a smile, but she is also hopeless. She believes everything she reads in women's magazines, even though the bits of advice they give don't suit her. She could just be herself, maybe with a different wardrobe. She should embrace the fact that she is athletic and very good at softball. Yoh, on the other hand, plays it cool most of the time. He pretends that he doesn't care but he's actually very shy and gets embarrassed pretty easily. Although sometimes I feel like he could show his affection to Haruna more, there are times when he makes up for it. But my favourite character is Yoh's friend, Yui. You never really understand his deal. His thoughts are a mystery and his actions are often confused as jokes. He's not even sincere to himself about his own feelings. But he does help the story to move forward and I would surely miss him if he weren't there.           

All in all, High School Debut was a fun read. It made me laugh more than once, it pleasantly surprised me and I didn't realise when I finished thirteen volumes. But I wouldn't say that it didn't have its flaws. Sometimes it got a little cliche, other times the characters were frustrating but my biggest problem was that the art style was somewhat generic. I felt like I had seen the same design many times before, so the characters weren't memorable to me. I would recommend it to those who want to read a pleasant and quite funny romantic manga.

So, my advice is...

Make your high school debut!

2 comments:

  1. I haven't heard of this manga before, but I'm definitely going to check it out now! It sounds like a nice light series to read :)
    ~Erika @ Books, Stars, Writing. And Everything In Between.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I learnt of its existence by its live action version of it and I'm glad that I decided to read it as well! :)

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