Monday, December 17, 2018

Hatsu Haru vol. 4 balances implausibility with endearingness (Manga Review)

Kai and Riko
Hatsu Haru vol. 4 (Yen Press) continues the story of two very likable high-schoolers destined to fall in love. Kai is the hot, smart, lady's man who used to tease Riko when they were growing up. But instead of being the victim, Riko was tough and always put Kai back in his place, more than able to hold her own. Now, in high-school, Kai has found himself uninterested in any of the girls and helplessly in love with Riko, who continues to balance her kindness with toughness and resiliancy.

Volume 4 starts with a confession, a confession that fails to register with Riko. This is where the volume is slightly (very) implausible. No matter how clear Kai is, Riko just does not believe he is actually confessing, and instead assumes that he's just trying to lift her spirits about her unrequited love with a long-time family friend.

Again, and again, Kai tries to make things clear, and Riko just isn't getting it. I find it hard to believe that when someone like Kai does all the kind things he does and then flat out says he likes you, that the girl wouldn't get it. BUT, even thought it's implausible, it's still executed well for the sake of comedy and keeping the series going. I'll excuse this lack of believability due to the nature of a comedy romance shoujo manga. Not fine writing, but it's a fairly common trope, so it's serving it's purpose. Other than that, the overall writing is well done with clear pacing and structure.

There is also a big reveal in this volume that furthers Riko's grieving over her unrequited love as well as a glimmer that maybe she could move on, and maybe even see Kai differently. So while the volume is mostly focused on the humor of Kai's failed attempts to get through to Riko, there is also some movement on her end.

Basically, if you like comedy/romance shoujo, this volume gives exactly what you would expect. It's also consistent with the prior volumes' tone and approach. The art is excellent! I love the style and quality. I love the way she does eyes.

This series is not about big thoughts, and it's not going to reveal any deep emotional epiphanies, instead, it's cute and predictable, but because the characters are likable and the art is great, it's a pleasure to read.

Volume 4 is a strong 7/10. It's not higher only because there isn't anything really original or novel and the thick-headedness/obliviousness of Riko goes a little beyond the believable. But if you liked the prior volumes, you'll like this one! It's a really fun series, even if we know where things will end, it's the journey that counts.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Remember: please talk about the work, and offer counter points to others' analyses but DO NOT ATTACK THE PERSON whose analysis you are countering. (no ad hominem comments) Thanks! <3