Monday, September 16, 2019

Missed It Monday - Takane & Hana volume 2 (Manga Review)

Yuki Shiwasu
Missed It Monday is the ongoing series where I review anime and manga I missed when they first came out.

Takane & Hana vol. 2 - 7/10

Takane & Hana is not normally the type of series I would read (broad comedy about older guy and high school girl), and yet, it continues to be charming and endearing in its own way with Volume 2 (Viz/Shojo Beat).

In Volume 1, we meet Hana, a high-school girl, who "saves" her older sister by going to an arranged marriage meeting in her place only to meet Takane, the heir to the biggest conglomerate in Japan, where she makes a total fool of his arrogance. Like so many series before it, this sets up the dynamic of the down-to-earth girl and the rich, beautiful, clueless, but has-potential guy. The only real concern I had was that she was still in high-school.

Thankfully, this series is really not concerned with romance, at all! We are not meant to take Takane & Hana seriously. Instead, and unlike horrid series like "Happy Marriage" which seem stuck in another century when it comes to male/female dynamics, Takane & Hana is all about the silly comedy and Hana is as spunky and assertive as it gets. No door mat here!

Volume 2 picks up with Takane and Hana reaching a detente of sorts with their "relationship" (if one can call it that). They won't admit they might have feelings for each other, but they both keep seeing each other anyway, but they aren't going to be polite about it or make it easy on the other one either. In Volume 2, they go to a party for Takane's rich uncle who runs the conglomerate (and had arranged the marriage meeting), they go on another date of sorts, and a mysterious person from Takane's past shows up. (That's really it for plot, in a good way).

Through this all, Hana plays hard to get, Takane pretends like he doesn't care but swoops in to protect her, except, she never needs protecting at all. She's completely self sufficient and in no way dependent on him. But somewhere, in between all of this, there are a few revealing moments, where one or the other lets their guard down, and their real relationship moves a bit forward. But mostly, it's Takane yelling stuck-up things at her, and Hana dishing it right back at him, and everyone in the crowds marveling at the strange bickering between these two inevitable love birds.

It's a silly series and that makes the age difference somewhat less an issue (although it's still creepy). They shared one kiss (with her showing him how to do it right) in volume 1, but the closest to romance we get in Volume 2, is between Takane and a (hopefully willing) sea cucumber. Somehow, despite everything, these two people  are very likable in a broad comedy sort of way and I can't help but root for them to eventually get together (which of course they will). This isn't a deep series, and even when a mysterious person shows up, it doesn't signal high drama, but instead serves as a useful tool in moving the two stars closer together.

So if you like very broad, very loud comedy between two very different people who will ultimately become a couple, then this is for you. It might be most similar in tone to something like Love Com (Lovely Complex) although that featured two high-schoolers and probably a bit more introspection ultimately. But it's not a bad match. As for a comparable that is more recent, it's somewhat similar in tone to Kaguya-sama: Love is War, but without that series overarching narrative device.

The art also continues to be simple but pleasant, and in a style reminiscent of slightly older shoujo manga (which is a good thing for me). The only shaky thing is that it keeps up with the old trope of the older rich guy and the middle-class high-school girl. But other than that, I really do like it (even though broad comedy isn't usually my thing). Volume 2 gets a nice and simple 7/10.


Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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