June is coming to a close. It’s been a whirlwind of events…and as the end of the month drew near, I decided to catch up on some reading.
I bought all of these books back in, I believe May of 2019, and hadn’t read them yet. I do this a lot sadly with manga. Normally only with new series. Series I’m currently invested in always get first priority.
Luckily I started reading these before work picked up and I got my edits sent to me.
The first of the set that I read was Hatsu Haru by Shizuki Fujisawa.
Hatsu Haru is one of the few shojo’s I’ve read with a male protagonist. The series follows Kai, a proud self-proclaimed playboy. When Kai breaks the heart of a friend of his long-time classmate Riko, Riko vows to make him pay.
The two have never gotten along, but then Kai sees Riko staring longingly at her secret one-sided crush. Now Kai can’t get Riko out of his head. Is it possible this playboy has fallen in love with his worst enemy?
Rating: 4.5 Stars!
I think that this first book in the series was a pretty good introduction to lead character Kai. We get a brief look into his school life and his relationship with his friends, right before Riko comes in to beat him up…in front of everyone! Yikes!
The dynamic between Kai and Riko is definitely an interesting one.
Riko acts very sweet towards her friends, and most of their other classmates think shes extremely thoughtful, however Kai doesn’t get to see that side of her. That is, until he finds out about her crush on their teacher.
I like Kai’s character. He grew on me. His friends however are definitely my favourites. They’re hilarious! I’m hoping to learn more about them later in the series.
I gave this book 4.5 stars because I enjoyed it, but it felt like something was missing. I think maybe I would have liked a little more build up to Kai’s realization that he’s in love with Riko? It’s more of a personal preference thing.
Overall, I’m going to continue reading this series.
Onto the next book!
Nino has loved singing her whole life. Her and her best friend Momo would sing together all of the time as kids. When Momo moves away, Nino is heartbroken. She feels like all she wants to do is scream.
She soon meets another boy named Yuzu, who likes to write his own songs. The two become friends and Nino finds that when she’s singing, she doesn’t feel like crying or screaming anymore. Then Yuzu suddenly disappears.
Both Momo and Yuzu told Nino that they would find her through her voice someday.
Flash forward, Nino, now in high school is reunited with Yuzu!
When Yuzu’s band is in trouble at the schools clubs and groups day, Nino is asked to sing with them. Yuzu falls in love with her voice all over again, wishing to only write songs for her…
But then he runs into a mysterious first year student.
Could it be Momo?
Rating: 4.5 Stars!
I really loved the art style of this manga. It was very fun and complimented the story. I gave it a 4.5 rating because I felt the character introductions were very lengthy. I get that Ryoko Fukuyama was trying to capture the strong bonds that Nino made with these two boys in her childhood, but I would have liked to see a little more of high school Nino near the middle of the book or even gotten the flashbacks in pockets here and there.
Yuzu is really funny, and clearly in love with Nino. I would have loved if there was actually conflict between the whole situation with Yuzu’s “girlfriend.” It kind of resolved itself in a weird way…that made the entire relationship feel insignificant.
Momo’s character was interesting to follow, since he is who Nino is fixated on throughout the story. He is her best friend and neighbour, who moves away suddenly without telling her after his parents divorce. When they’re very young, Momo mentions his parents arguing often. He and Nino sing each other to sleep (as loudly as possible) to drown out Nino’s parents fighting (and I assume his as well).
Having that as the introduction to these two characters shows how much they depended on one another at an early age.
I would have liked to see more into Nino’s home life. I feel like we learn much more about Momo and Yuzu than we do Nino in the first half of the book…other than the fact that she struggles to deal with her emotions, and finds singing helps her cope with difficult situations, we don’t know anything else about her.
That is my only reason for giving this book 4.5 stars. I love the characters and they threw in a little twist in the end, so I’ll definitely be looking for the next volume!
Mako’s leaves home to attend school with her life long friend, Kei, after he encourages her to join the schools photography club. Both Mako and Kei fell in love with photography when Mako’s grandfather began teaching them as children. After he passes away, Kei feels that it would help Mako to do the thing she loves most, and wants to look out for her.
When Mako arrives, she sees a boy and his dog, and decides that the pair would make for a wonderful picture. Without thinking, she instictively snaps a photo.
The boy, Amemura, is furious with her for taking his picture without his permission. To make matters worse, he’s one of her new roommates!
Rating: 5 Stars!
Out of the three manga I read, this one is my favourite. It gets a full 5 stars! I loved that we got to see a brief introduction to Mako, and that the flashbacks showing her grandfather and Kei were places strategically throughout, versus dumped on the reader at the very beginning.
All the characters are extremely likeable (even the minor ones!) in this first book. Mako’s roommates have their own distinct quirks, that make them standout, despite all of them sharing the same hobby.
I also liked the way Yoko Nogiri framed the relationship between Mako and Kei, and how Kei clearly looks out for Mako both at home and at school.
Kei surprised me near the end of the book, and so did Amemura. Which I think was a fantastic final scene. It made me want to go out and buy the next volume immediately…but it was 2 in the morning.
Mako is funny, and a bit impulsive but that’s what makes her such a great character already. I have very high hopes for this series.
I’m hoping I can get the next book soon…but I also have a lot more reading to catch up on.
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