Boyfriend, by YAMADA Daisy

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  • Title: Boyfriend
  • Author: YAMADA Daisy
  • Publisher (JP): Kodansha
  • Imprint: Kodansha Comics
  • Year: 2009
  • ISBN (JP): 978-4-06-364229-2
  • Licensed in North America?: No
  • Also Known As:
  • Publisher (US):
  • ISBN (US):
  • Anime Version? No
  • Live Action? No

I have discussed another series by this author, YAMADA Daisy, on this site before. And, like GiriKoi this book features a cover with a girl who looks kind of sad. Or, at least, she looks a bit uncertain. When I first saw this book on the shelf, for some reason I thought the girl had an apple on her head. I have no idea why, but it took me a while to realize it was a red bow. I mean seriously, why would she have an apple on her head? I am a dork. Anyway, this is an interesting series that at first seems like a fluffy high school romance, but it does have a little bit of mystery, and deal with some more serious issues. The art style is extremely cute, with simple lines and really large eyes. This series ran in Nakayoshi magazine, which is aimed at younger readers, so the cutesy style fits in well. It also means that this series focuses mainly on cute romance, and does not get smutty. (sorry, folks!). I only have volume 1 so far, but it looks like volume 2 just came out, so I will need to get it when I can. I think this series may only have the two volumes total.

As with many shoujo manga series, this story begins on the first day of school. And, like in many shoujo manga series, it features someone who is transferring into a new school. In this case, it’s our heroine, TACHIBANA Hijiki. Hijiki is small and cute, with short hair, and an cheerful personality. She is excited about starting a new school, and hopes she will make new friends there. Because shoujo manga heroines can never manage to get to school at time (at least, at the beginning of their series) Hijiki, of course, gets lost on the way to school. Well, actually, she made it to school, but when a new first year student greeted her and offered to be friends, Hijiki ran away! She feels a bit awkward, because she is actually a new second-year student, not a first year, But why would she run away like that?

Unfortunately, she didn’t actually look where she was going as she ran, and before Hijiki knows it, she is far from school, all the way at the bottom of the large hill that it sits on. Looks like if she wants to make it on time, she will have to take a short cut and hike up the hill instead of wait for the bus.

It’s a good thing she does this, because if she didn’t, she would have missed out on finding a spot on the hill with a fantastic view of the surrounding city and countryside, and an amazing view of the blue sky. She thinks she is alone, and is surprised when a boy appears from the trees and watches the view with her. He is in a uniform from her school. The boy doesn’t say anything, but he catches a drifting sakura flower bud and gives it to Hijiki. Who is he? Before she can thank him, the boy disappears!

Ahh, but of course the mystery boy’s identity can’t stay a mystery very long. When Hijiki is introduced to her new class, she spots him immediately! Turns out the boy is a student in her grade. His name is Hourai-kun and apparently he is known for his sullen, quiet personality. Hourai is very cute, but his attitude is too quiet and serious. Most of the girls in class are more attracted to the class clown, Yuu-kun.

Even though she always acts cheerful and is quickly embraced as a sort of mascot by Yuu-kun her new classmates, there are signs that everything is not as simple as it seems on the surface. Hijiki’s smille occasionally looks forced, and there are moments when she needs to escape class and take some medication. What is going on? No one in class seems to notice Hijiki’s charade, no one, that is, except for Hourai-kun. He may not say much, but he observes a lot, and he can tell that Hijiki’s smile is fake, and that her cheerfulness is just an act.

What is behind Hijiki’s act? Why did she transfer schools? She seems to fit right in at this new school. While her confidence is not always the greatest, everyone in class accepts her. Yuu likes to hang all over her, and Hijiki soon has a large circle of friends. Why can Hourai-kun see the real Hijiki?

Hijiki is an interesting heroine because she is not dumb, helpless, or ditsy. She may act cute sometimes, but she has serious moments and self-doubts. Yet in spite of whatever issue she is dealing with, Hijiki works hard to try and overcome it.

I like Hourai-kun a lot because he is that quiet, surly type of manga hero, but he isn’t mean or abusive. He occasionally acts a little high-handed, but it’s not in a mean way, he is helping Hijiki get through some tough moments. He is the strong, silent type she can rely on. Hijiki quickly recognizes this, and starts to fall for him. But how does he feel about her? He has shown some concern for her, but does that equal romantic interest? Hijiki desperately wants to make a fresh start at her new school, but why? Can she keep what happened before from happening again? How will things be different this time?

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