Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat Manga)
Author: Kazune Kawahara
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shojo)
MSRP: $8.99 US
Release Date: Now Available
Stop me if you heard this one before …
I liked the first volume in Kazune Kawahara’s High School Debut. It was charming, often times very funny and just try not to find the main protagonist, Haruna, extremely likeable. Still, we couldn’t help be feel that we’ve read manga like this before. Thankfully, Kawahara is a good writer and artist and her continuing tale of a tomboy trying to find love with the help of a moody-yet-hot male coach is good even though it is heading towards the inevitable.
In the end of the first volume, Haruna reveals to her love coach, Yoh, that she thinks she might be in love. Her target of affection is Yoh’s closest friend named Fumiya who she had a great time hanging out with one evening in the batting cages. Cute, friendly and totally clueless, Fumiya is a good choice and Yoh immediately dials him up and puts Haruna in a rough spot. How do you ask out a guy when you never asked out a guy before in your entire life? You can imagine the hilarity that ensues out of the awkward phone conversation.
Unfortunately for Haruna, however, Yoh’s attractive sister, Asami, is consumed with jealousy. Who Haruna thought was a good friend that wanted to see her happy becomes a bitter girl who despises the fact that her brother no longer pays attention to her now that he’s too busy coaching Haruna. After Haruna and Fumiya enjoy a pleasant visit to the city zoo, it is Asami that does the unthinkable … she betrays Haruna by making out with Fumiya! And to top things off, clueless Fumi didn’t even see his outing with Haruna as a date and reveals that he likes Asami instead!
Ah, Haruna, how Asami’s betrayal hurt her but the trooper that she is sees this as a first in her life. Strangely enough, it is Yoh who consoles her and becomes impressed with the girl’s ability to see a bright light in dark times. In fact, Yoh sees that she recovers from heartbreak by wishing his sister and Fumiya all the best. This little scene makes Yoh realize that even in heartbreak all anyone can do is pick up the pieces and start anew. Suddenly, the guy who hated girls begins to let his guard down a little. When Yoh’s friends suggest that maybe Yoh can find romance … Haruna realizes that the real object of her affection remains to be Yoh even though she promised not to fall for him.
Unlike the first volume, Volume 2 seems to have slightly lost its sense of humor. This is not to say that there aren’t any funny moments in the story. Rather, there are lighthearted moments that are centered around Yoh and Haruna’s changing feeling for him. It’s nice to see Yoh letting down his guard and actually learning from Haruna for a change. Now this once isolated boy becomes socially active in sports again and takes up basketball once again. He learned from Haruna how to forgive (she accepts Asami’s apology for stealing Fumi) and forget (forgets Fumi to pursue a new guy).
By the end of the manga, we already get a sense of what is to be in store for the next volume. With Yoh finally putting behind him that “beads incident” that had turned him off on relationships, it’s up to Haruna to finally let him know that she interested in him. Where does that leave this manga, though, is the selling point is the likeable and unlikely pair searching for love? Hopefully, Kawahara will have some interesting developments in store for the readers.
There is still a lot to like about this series even though things are starting to look quite obvious for these two. High School Debut is still charming despite this fact and Haruna continues to be the reason readers should still be following it. Volume 2 does lose some of its comical steam and replaces it with lighthearted scenes that will still make you root for this rough tomboy that is slowly blossoming into somebody predictable yet still very likeable.
The story changes the pace a bit in this one but there are still some funny moments that make Haruna such a favorite character. Yoh’s change of heart will make you smile but also make you realize that both are headed for the inevitable hookup.
Kawahara’s art is still top notch and she has a real talent for making her characters really stand out nicely. Haruna’s facial expressions still manage to put a smile on my face.
If you loved the first volume you will just like High School Debut, Volume 2. The manga’s main attraction is still the characters but we can’t help but think that some of the things that made it charming just doesn’t shine through like the first one. Still, if you’re a fan like me, this one is still a fun read.