Seiho Boys’ High School!, Volume 4 – Manga Review

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

Love is complex and awkward … even more so for boys.

You have to hand it to Kaneyoshi Izumi, either she didn’t know quite how to turn a story with a largely male cast into a shoujo manga or maybe she thought of presenting a different kind of shoujo manga that strays from the usual shoujo blueprint. Whatever the reason, Seiho Boys’ High School! is refreshingly different series and, as we can see from Volume 4, one that makes the romantic moments feel genuine and absolutely entertaining.

Volume 3 introduced us to Erika Takano, an attractive surfer girl who has come to the Seiho area only to meet Maki – a boy who is far from letting go the memory of another Erika he once loved. Having asked her to be his temporary girlfriend, Maki finds that this Erika’s attitude is actually quite similar to the Erika he had fallen in love with but can now never be with since he heard of her passing. So, in Volume 4, Maki finds himself trying to get closer to the yaoi-loving Takano who suddenly becomes more accepting of the boy after she teaches him how to surf.

Sure, Takano is a bitter person but there’s a sweetness to her to and, after Maki waits out in the rain to see her off, Erika Takano finally confronts him about the girl he just can’t let go. The confrontation actually turns out quite unexpectedly sweet as Takano and Maki’s relationship changes for the better. Sure, he will not forget the Erika he loved but now he has room to love another Erika who has come to fall for him. I have to say, this was one of the sweetest relationships in the series so far.

Just as Maki finds love again, another person is losing the girl he once loved. We finally get to meet Genda, Kamiki’s tall and occasionally scary-looking roommate whose girlfriend he’s been with since junior high sends him a break-up text message. She tells him that she has fallen in love with somebody else who thinks she’s cute and who is genuinely interested in her. Genda doesn’t make much of an effort to reply despite the fact that he secretly does have feelings for her. You see, she is the only girl who didn’t seem afraid of him and her charming smile had always lit up his world.

Depressed about the breakup anyway, Genda finds out that the girl he liked was going out with a boy who always came off as something of a player. He warns her, of course, but she hits him back with the hard facts. He hardly ever called her, nor did he even make a single text message and he absolutely never gave her a comforting word. As fate would have it, though, Maki and the others manage to set up a mixer outside of Seiho with girls that go to the same school as Genda’s ex.

Oh yeah, and they run into each another at said mixer as Genda and his ex confront each another. It is then that Genda makes a discovery about the guy she’s currently going out with as Genda stands up to defend the cute girl he still likes. The truth comes out and it’s painful for Genda but darn it if it isn’t so cute for us. Here’s hoping we get to see more of Genda.

The best chapters are saved for last as we find Fuyuka Miyaji (who has now become a regular fixture in this series) still chasing after Kamiki. Fuyuka has come to her senses and realizes that maybe she’s not good enough to be even seen with a boy as hunky as Kamiki. Interestingly enough, the girly Hanai suddenly takes an active interest in helping her become more appealing to somebody like the school hunk. His training is actually very helpful and suddenly all the boys in Seiho High find her some irresistibly cute. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on Kamiki who sees right through her act.

Then the unexpected happens as Fuyuka meets an average-looking girl who turns out to be Mana – Kamiki’s step-sister who – in Volume 1 – rejected Kamiki’s plea to leave her fiance for him. Without much of a warning to her, Kamiki tells Mana that Fuyuka is his girlfriend now. Poor Fuyuka tries her best to fill the role of girlfriend and it seems to work as Mana finds it troubling that Kamiki is dating somebody. This leads to Mana making a very surprising confession to her step-brother. What’s even more shocking is Kamiki’s reaction.

Oh yeah, this is great stuff that will – hopefully – be addressed further in future volumes. In the end, it might even change things between Fuyuka and Kamiki.

Injecting a little more romance into this comedy series, Volume 4 of Seiho Boys’ High School! is quite possibly the best volume in this series so far. It’s not just the feminine touch that makes the chapters in this volume work but rather the emotions that continue to feel genuine in a place overrun by boys who are trying to not just understand girls but how to act around them. If the series continues down this path it will definitely end up being a new fan favorite.

MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN

STORY: A-
Maki’s relationship with the surfer girl named Erika takes an interesting as she is slowly coming to have feelings for him despite the fact that he still isn’t letting go the other Erika. Meanwhile, we get to meet Genda, Kamiki’s roommate whose girlfriend back home is dumping him. Finally, Fuyuka gets some pointers in how to be more cute by the girly Hanai and later she meets Maka … Kamiki’s sister who makes a surprising confession.

ART: A
Izumi’s artwork is really starting to grow on me and so are her character designs. More importantly, her visual gags won’t fail to make you laugh or put a smile on your face or both.

OVERALL: A-
Volume 4 of Seiho Boys’ High School! doesn’t lose its charming and downright hilarious sense of humor as this particular volume starts feeling like a shoujo manga. The romantic touches to each story don’t feel tacked on and yes I am loving the fact that Fuyuka is becoming a regular in this series. As far as the comedy is concerned, it’s very much still intact and that’s a very good thing, indeed. I can’t recommend this series enough to friends and so will you if you give it a chance.

Review copy provided by VIZ Media

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