Saturday, November 3, 2018

Hatsu*Haru Volume 3 picks up the pace (Manga Review)

Hatsu Haru volume 3 Kai Riko
Hatsu*Haru volume 3 (published by Yen Press) continues the quality of the first two volumes. This is shaping up to be a really quality shoujo series. It's light, it's fun, it's sentimental, it's got two engaging leads. It's nothing revolutionary, it's not earth shattering, but it is one of those wonderful treats that we need in a world run amok.

Volume 3 picks up with Kai dreaming about Riko. He's too shy to actually ask her to the fireworks festival, so when she saddles him with helping her with student council work, he drags his feet so that they finish just in time for the festival, using it as a convenient excuse for them to check it out. It's one of the cutest moments in the series so far.

At the festival, Riko starts getting swallowed by the crowd, so Kai takes her by the hand and leads her around. This starts a chain of events that culminates in some conflict, some tears, and a confession.

The volume moves at a brisk pace which is consistent with the series as a whole so far. The series isn't dragging things out, it's not pissing and moaning, it's giving us the rewarding moments we like, but not endlessly moping about. I love that!

The art continues to be top notch. Great character designs all around, great use of screen tones and layouts. I love that it's more realistic and not moe like so much else right now.

I wish for the sake of the review I had something deep and profound to say, or some complaint, or concern, but truthfully, I'm loving this series. It's exactly what I want from a high-school shoujo romance. Granted, I also like the more complex and deep shoujo/josei series, but it's also nice to have a straight-forward romance with likable characters. That's exactly what Hatsu*Haru is and volume 3 is as strong as the preceding two.

If shoujo is your jam, you can't go wrong. Thank you to Yen Press for bringing this to to us! I'm giving this volume a strong 8/10. It's not higher only because it's not ground-breaking, but that isn't a knock, this is comfort food at its best.


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