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: Available Now
Haruna’s super sweet and sour seventeen
It didn’t seem like too long ago that a cute but clueless girl waited and hoped for a boy to notice her only to fail misreably. Now, Haruna has a boyfriend who had seen her through the good and bad moments of a relationship that’s as unique as the girl and boy that make up the main characters of High School Debut. In Volume 8 of the series, Haruna Nagashima turns 17 but darn if that girl doesn’t change.
Then again, this is what we love about Haruna. The girl is still clueless, loopy and – most importantly – strong-willed and these are the very qualities that Yoh has seen and liked about her. In the new school semester, others have seen her come the one that stole the heart of the hottest guy in school. This was enough to have caught the eye of three young male freshmen students that she helped welcome to the school in the last volume and now who now play a role in Volume 8.
Athletic to an almost freakish degree, Haruna manages to stay in the top of her class physically (to Leona’s dismay) and this, of course, continues to catch the interest of the very same freshmen that keep bumping into her in the hallways of the school. One of them, a boy named Shinji Ota, makes it clear to Haruna that he has admired Yoh since Junior High and wishes to be just like him. Thinking the three boys are harmless, it is Yoh who warns her to be careful around them. In fact, he tries to drive his advice into her brain but, knowing Haruna, it is advice that will fall on deaf ears.
As expected, Haruna totally doesn’t listen to Yoh and Shinji manages to find Haruna and strike up another conversation with her. He hopes to find out what exactly does Yoh see in her when there are gorgeous girls just dying to go out with him. It isn’t until he gets really close to her that he realizes that Haruna is actually quite attractive and this compels him to do the most unexpected thing … he plans a kiss on her lips!
Haruna is not only angry to the point of chasing the frightened boy down in one of the many comical moments in this volume but she’s devastated that her wish to only kiss and be kissed by Yoh is ruined. While Yoh says that he’s OK with what happened, Haruna – as always – overreacts and attempts to avoid him. Yoh and Haruna’s friends try to find out what happened but both of them never tell them until Yoh finds a way to resolve the problem. What he does not only stuns everyone around him but it leads to a truly hilarious revelation in Shinji’s part right in front of everyone.
Yoh also comes to discover that one of the three freshmen is out to become Yoh’s rival when it comes to wooing the ladies. This doesn’t faze Yoh who hates the fact that he’s been labeled as a “stud” by most of the male students in the school but because the student seems to be genuinely interested in Haruna. The other student doesn’t even talk, which makes Yoh feel as if he were more of a ghost than a person.
In the next chapters of the volume, Haruna’s seventeenth birthday is coming up and she wishes to spend it with Yoh and only him. Thinking that most of the big dates she had with him were spoiled by a number of things that included Yoh’s ex-girlfriend who had come to town, she hopes that her birthday could tunr into a fabulous date instead. She even leaves the planning to Yoh, which isn’t really a good idea seeing as he never had to do these kinds of things. Yoh even turns to a magazine with a birthday theme. It practically stresses ou tthe poor guy even more when Haruna offers some ideas.
Seeing that Yoh loves baseball just as much as she does, Haruna has an idea to spend it going to a night game with him. Surprisingly enough, the date does off with no problem at all. In fact, of all the dates they attempted to enjoy, this one tunrs out to be one of the more successful ones. How it ends I won’t tell but its’ the perfect end to one of Haruna’s best days ever.
Haruna has had many a crazy moment and Volume 8 certainly has a few that just won’t fail to put a smile on your face. It’s great to see our girl overreact and misunderstand things that end up with her realizing that Yoh DOES love her. Still, it’s even better to see Haruna have a moment that isn’t spoiled by something crazy. High School Debut still doesn’t fail to surprise and this volume is definitive proof.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The freshmen Haruna painfully wlecomed to the school are interested in her and – despite Yoh’s advice not to be alone with them – Haruna gets the shock of her life by a boy named Shinji. Unable to even face her boyfriend, Haruna is a mess. In another chapter, her birthday is come up and Yoh is tortured by it for a good reason.
Kawahara’s art is still just as good as it was since Volume 1 of the series. I still get a kick out of Yoh’s reactions to the things Haruna says and does.
Haruna turns 17 in Volume 8 of High School Debut and things get really interesting in this one. The series never runs out of funny moments but this volume is, by far, one of the more humorous ones yet. This might be Volume 8 but the series still feels as fresh as it did since the first volume.