Sunday, February 24, 2019

Hatsu Haru volume 5 might be one of the strongest so far (Manga Review)

Riko Takanashi Kai Ichinose
Hatsu Haru is becoming one of my favorite series. Volume 5 (Yen Press) continues the strong shoujo story of Kai (the former playboy) and Riko (his childhood frenemy).

Volume 5 picks up with Kai giving up on Riko due to her not understanding his confessions and his belief that she and his friend Taka are in love. Kai knows what a great guy Taka is and believes he can care for Riko. Their friend Ayumi hatches a plan to prove to Kai that Taka and Riko are not together.

During this same time, Riko is confronting her own strange feelings that Kai is going back to his playboy ways and giving up on the girl of his dreams (which she doesn't realize is her). When Taka questions why she's taking it so personally, it starts her spinning, leading to some wonderful comedic moments with her.

No matter Kai's seeming determination to give up on Riko, he just can't shake it, and in fact, when she falls ill due to exhaustion, he goes into hero mode in several ways. This is also evident when he checks up on her during the wedding of her long-time crush and pseudo-older-brother, Suwa. The intense emotions both of them are experiencing come to a head at the wedding...but I won't spoil it for you!

The pacing of the volume is fairly quick (injuries, weddings, beach, school, etc...), but the writing is clear. We still get most of the volume from Kai's perspective, but thankfully we do get some more time with Riko and her experiences. If there were any weakness in the series, it's that it is a bit focused on Kai's perspective. I'd love to see more of a 50/50 balance with Riko's perspective. Minor complaint though.

The art continues to be very strong, with clear character designs. I love the way Fujisawa-sensei does eyes, particularly Riko's. It's somewhat unique and I love it! The screentone use is wonderful, the backgrounds have tons of detail, and the art is overall crisp and inviting.

While in many ways the series is a by-the-numbers opposites attract/childhood friends get together story, it continues to be so well written, with such likable characters, and quality writing/art, that it is simply a joy to read. Sometimes you want a series that gives you exactly what you want, and this is it. A perfect, sweet, funny, high-school romance.

Volume 5 is one of the strongest in a very strong series. I'm giving it an 8/10 because it packs so many wonderful moments in throughout. I'm delighted with this series!



  1. Nice review! I like your reviews! Hatsuharu is totally my mindless shoujo guilt pleasure.

    1. Thanks so much! I agree, it's a perfect mindless pleasure that just puts you in a good mood and doesn't make you think too hard (like the real world at the moment).


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