Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Kazune Kawahara
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shojo Beat Manga)
MSRP: $8.99 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Now Available
Haruna the love coach?
Haruna and Yoh’s relationship had run across a number of speed bumps on a road that’s long and winding but even with their hardships this relationship remains on its course. In Volume 5, a girl named Leona threatened to ruins Haruna’s happiness but only ended up strengthening it. The kind-hearted Asaoka makes a confession that was brushed off as another one of his lessons but was there a hidden meaning behind his declaration?
Never mind all that for now, Volume 6 of High School Debut has just shot up to the top of my favorite volumes of this series. Since the first volume, we know Kazune Kawahara is able to balance drama, comedy and romance all in one volume and she does it considerably well. What we didn’t know was that she’s also capable of surprising us and that’s exactly what she does in this sixth volume.
You see, Haruna feels like she’s on top of the world and nothing – not even Asa’s usual negative remarks – can take her off that cloud. Feeling like their relationship couldn’t be stronger, she even takes it upon herself to jump to the aid of a pretty girl that was about to get goosed on the subway by a creepy guy. While the guy claimed he was trying to muster up the courage to talk to said girl, Haruna sticks around (mainly because the girl hangs on to her coat) and listens as the girl shoots the creep down because she still has a guy she can’t stop thinking about.
Meanwhile, a phone call out of the blue bothers Yoh to the point that he becomes way too distracted to even notice Haruna. It’s clear that hearing this person’s voice has opened up old wounds that had been healed by being with Haruna. In a tender moment, it is Haruna that Yoh turns to after feeling conflicted about the call. It also becomes apparent to our girl that something is bothering her boyfriend and – as usual – she jumps to a number of conclusions.
Yet even despite her crazy/funny paranoid delusions, she accepts to offer her phone number and advice to the girl she helped out on the subway. Imagine that, the girl that is so clueless that she abnormally and frequently asks for advice is the one giving it. We find out that this girl named Makoto Kurihara is unable to forget about her ex-boyfriend and wants to talk and meet with him again. Her story touches Haruna to the point that she offers her advice and her full support. If you like somebody enough that you can’t forget them then there’s a chance the other person can’t forget you either, Haruna thinks.
Oh, but things certainly go sour when Haruna accompanies Makoto to her ex’s house only to find out that Makoto’s ex-boyfriend was none other than Yoh! Ok, that sounded like I gave something away but it’s clear from the start of the story that Makoto’s phone call is what worried Yoh enough that he blindly slams his head against a hard surface. The surprising part comes when Haruna and Yoh are out on a date on the day Makoto wanted to meet with Yoh.
I won’t go into the details of said surprise but know that it shows us that Haruna has grown much since she and Yoh started dating. We know Yoh has changed because of her but seeing Haruna as a decisive and confident person is rare. In the end, it is Yoh that does the most surprising thing we don’t expect from him either. If the last volume reassured the couple that their relationship has become stronger, it is this volume that proves it.
Volume 6 of High School Debut is, by far, one of my favorite volumes of the series and for a good reason. It’s a surprising entry that shows us how these two characters that started off one way have grown up a lot in the course of their interesting and downright amusing romance. I know I say this all the time but if you haven’t picked this one up then drop what you’re doing and buy it right away.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
A coincidental chance meeting takes place that doesn’t have the affect we would expect but rather strengthens a relationship we’ve been seriously rooting for since Volume 1. Interestingly enough, it is Haruna who steps up and offers the best advice.
I take back what I said in my review of Volume 5. Kawahara’s art isn’t getting sloppy, it’s branching out into its own individual style that is starting to shape up nicely in this volume.
This is, quite possibly, one of my favorite volumes of High School Debut and it certainly reveals a lot about Yoh to the point that he will surprise you in the very end. While Haruna experiences a mixture of feelings in this one, she suddenly becomes the true voice of reason showing us that our girl has really come a long way.