Review by: Ai Kano
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Kaneyoshi Izumi
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shojo Beat)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The most unlikely romances are always the most surprising.
I have to admit that the first volume of Seiho Boys’ High School! didn’t really impress me as it should have considering Kaneyoshi Izumi’s wicked sense of humor made the story acceptable but nowhere near as good as it should have been … until now. Volume 2 proves that there is more to this series than meets the eye as it tells a story that’s both touching and downright humorous as well.
In the first volume, we met the cute and very likeable Chikara Maki who is loved by both girls and boys. He’s the kind-hearted boy that seems to be the only one truly tormented and frustrated by the fact that there are no women in campus or the surrounding area but oh has he wishes for a girlfriend. However, there’s a hint of sadness to the boy and it becomes evident in Volume 2.
You see, on the day the school is open to students who are thinking of enrolling in Seiho High, Maki meets the somewhat cute sister of one such prospect. She is flabbergasted by all the hot guys but she zeroes in on Maki and has him take her on a tour. Maki likes the idea of spending the day with a girl but she immediately complains about everything. When he shows her his dorm room, though, she makes an attempt to become his girlfriend. You see, she knew Maki in Junior high and knows the girl who haunts the cute boy’s dreams. When the girl bad-mouths this girl that so deeply haunts Maki, the boy angrily tosses her out of the room.
The girl that tortures Maki’s soul is Erika Harushima who has captivated him since she transferred to his Junior high school. Despite being strikingly beautiful, though, Erika immediately shows the class that she’s easily irritated. How can somebody so beautiful be so vicious? She even calls Maki a “dog” and she doesn’t even seem to respond to his sweetness the way other girls do. On top of that, Maki’s teacher asks him to befriend the girl.
Even when she snaps at him or glares at him with total disgust, Maki can see right through the girl. He doesn’t see a bitter girl but a socially awkward one. She’s not cruel but rather unable to express tenderness. The more he hands out with Erika the more Maki falls in love with her and slowly his presence begins to reveal Erika’s softer side she rarely reveals to anyone. Even though she knew that the teacher asked him to befriend her, Erika becomes comfortable around Maki. She even invites him to go out and see a movie based on a book she happens to be reading.
While hanging around Maki seems to change the girl, the unfortunate side effect is that all the girls that like the class cutie are infuriated by the fact that she gets him all to herself. These girls confront Erika and Maki begins to notice the bruises and comes to her defense whether it’s other girls or boys who don’t like her. Finally, Maki and Erika share a very tender moment together that seems to secure their relationship. Unfortunately for Maki, Erika doesn’t express her feelings at all. She can’t even say his name.
However, Erika’s true feelings do come through as Maki finds out later back in Seiho when a phone call from a Junior high school friend brings him surprising news. Unfortunately, there’s no real happy ending to this story but it shows us the type of guy Maki is and his effect on a girl who never really learned how to express herself the way she wanted.
The final chapter in the volume revolves around a girl named Fuyuka Miyaji who has come home to boonies after a school break. While all her friends are off enjoying their break with their boyfriends, Fuyuka is alone and wishing she had a boyfriend of her own. Not expecting any boys to be in the general area, though, she encounters the Seiho High boys out and about and the first thing they do is ask for spare change for coffee.
Then Fuyuka gets a call from her friend Kako who says that she and her boyfriend are coming over to spend the day with her. The problem is that she told her that she has a boyfriend so Fuyuka asks the boys for a favor and, sure enough, the drop-dead gorgeous Kamiki shows up and plays the part perfectly. When Maki, Nogami and Hanai show up, however, the whole thing blows up in her face.
Volume 2 of Seiho Boys’ High School! makes a bigger and better impression over the first volume of the series to make room for a story that is both genuinely funny and sweet enough to make it a worthy read. Izumi’s delightful sense of humor is still intact but the story – specifically that of the main protagonist – is endearing enough to be delightfully different shoujo manga series.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Maki is the cute boy who everyone loves and, even though he would love to have a girlfriend, the memory of the girl he loved in junior high haunts him even in Seiho. We learn about his romance with the beautiful yet socially awkward and bitter, Erika, and what she means to him. In another story, a girl looking for a boyfriend finds a lot of them out in the boonies where the school is and when she discovers that a friend will be visiting she tries to convince one of the Seiho High boys to pretend to be her boyfriend for the day.
Izumi’s artwork is actually nicely detailed and works well for this story. The characters have their own distinct look and that’s a very good thing but she excels in sight gags and hilarious facial expressions.
A far more humorous and endearing second volume, this really should have been the first volume of Seiho Boys’ High School! Volume 2 of this series shows an even more promising manga series that doesn’t follow the usual shoujo formula. Sure, it may concentrate its attention more on the personal hell each of the cute but very likeable boys are going through but the stories are handled well to the point that we will be keeping an eye on this series.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media