This book has the nice combination of being very eye-catching, and containing the artwork of AIKAWA Saki. It was really a no-brainer for me to pick this one up. I have really enjoyed Aikawa-sensei’s works in the past. I like her clean, confident art style. It is not perfect — she has fallen into that unfortunate habit of making her characters look alike from book to book — but even so, it is pretty. If she can manage to make the heroes of her various books somehow look different from each other, I will like her even more 🙂 I’m also really attracted to direct, straight-on staring covers like this. It makes it feel as if the manga is begging me to buy it. Or, in this case, daring me to buy it! This cover has some lovely warm colors, and it is nice to have the solo picture of the hero as the focus instead of the heroine. This is the first volume of a continuing series. It is not smutty. The main story takes up most of the volume, but there is a tiny extra chapter at the end that contains a related flashback story.
Ok, here we go! It is the beginning of April, and KANZAKI Hotaru-chan is excited about starting high school. It seems like it has taken forever, but she is finally here, the place where Haruna-sensei is! Two years ago, when he was still a college student, Haruna-sensei helped Hotaru when she was ill on a train. Hotaru-chan has had a crush on him ever since. She studied hard and thought only of Haruna-sensei. It will be wonderful to see him every day at school!
Hotaru is so overcome by her excitement and joy at starting high school, that she stops in front of the entrance gate on the opening ceremony day and just stares at the welcome sign. She gets close to it, and she is soon leaning her forehead against it. She looks really funny doing this, so it is only natural that a really hot guy would walk up and notice her strange behavior. He asks her what she’s doing there, and when Hotaru whirls around, she is shocked to see… Haruno-sensei? But wait, why is he in a school uniform? Hey, that’s not Haruno-sensei! But this guy looks so much like him!
The guy is handsome, but of course, this being shoujo manga, he manages to be rude to poor Hotaru, so already she is not liking this guy. But all that is forgotten when she finally sees Haruna-sensei. He is so wnderful! Even better, he actually remembers her! Being the hottie that he is, Haruna-sensei is popular at the school, so of course it spawns some retaliation against Hotaru for even thinking of speaking to a guy who has been ‘claimed’ by the 3rd year girls. The Haruna-sensei fan club s annoying, but Hotaru is still happy.
The only cloud in her blue skies appears in the form of that obnoxious guy she met before the opening ceremony. This guy happens to be Haruna-sensei’s younger brother, Kousuke! No wonder they look so alike! But unlike the gentle, mature, Haruna-sensei, Kousuke is rude and a bit surly. He realizes quickly that Hotaru has a crush on his older brother, and this does NOT please him. Why? well, you see, in spite of his off-putting behavior, Kousuke always seems to have his eye on Hotaru. Hotaru doesn’t always notice, but Kousuke is very aware of her, and in typical male fashion, does stuff to try and impress her. Could he like Hotaru?
For her part, Hotaru starts getting really confused. She loves sensei, but her heart pounds when she is around Kousuke. Why? Her opinion of him at first was really bad. But he keeps doing all these conflicting things. Sometimes he’s rude, but then he will unexpectedly help her out. Why is he like that? Does Hotaru’s heart pound due to Kousuke’s resemblance to her beloved Haruna-sensei, or is there something more? After all, when her good friend starts to notice Kousuke, why does Hotaru feel a tightening in her chest?
Yes, I know, the plot of this series is completly obvious and by-the-number so far. Everything that is going to happen is telegraphed fairly obviously. However, this series still manages to be very enjoyable. Hotaru’s silly predicaments she ends up in (which Kousuke always manages to catch her in) are funny, and their interaction with each other is adorable.
Again,I have to mention that I really like the artwork here. The body proportions are skinny and manga-fied, however they aren’t horrible. In fact, Kousuke is really gorgeous 🙂 The art is not wispy at all. There are also some amazing rough sketches of Kousuke, Haruna-sensei, and Hotaru on the pages between the chapters. They are so pretty! I wish I could draw like that!
Another thing I REALLY like about this series is how we don’t get the story only from Hotaru’s point of view. For most scenes, we also get what Kousuke is thinking, too. It is funny to see how Hotaru interprets things differently than Kousuke, and how Kousuke’s actions don’t always match what he is thinking. I also like how Kousuke is very expressive, and it is pretty obvious to see how he feels.
There is a bonus side story at the end of the book that shows an important event in Kousuke’s life back in middle school. It explains a lot about how he feels and what his motivations are. Aw, he was cute back then, too!
Volume 1 is out in Japanese now, and volume 2 will be released at the end of May. I can’t wait 😀