May Contain Spoilers
I’ve been on a manga kick lately, so when I saw ShojoBeat’s new series, Takane & Hana, I wanted to give it a go. I didn’t even bother with reading the synopsis (I seem to do that a lot). The cover was cute, I had some time to kill, so I picked it up and gobbled it up.
Hana is coerced to attend an arranged marriage meeting when her older sister refuses to go. Afraid of losing his job, Hana’s father begs her to pretend to be her sister. Hana argues that at 16, she can’t pass for a 23 year old, but goes any way. The meeting is with Takane Saibara, the heir to Takaba Group, a powerful conglomerate with immense sway over the economy. Hana’s dad doesn’t want to offend the Chairman, Takane’s grandfather.
The meeting is a disaster. Takane is blunt to the point of rudeness, and the fundamentals of polite small talk are beyond him. He makes Hana so angry that she throws her wig at him, hitting him in the face, then storms out of the room. For Takane, it’s a defining moment; finally someone has aroused his interest. Now the jaded man-child is going to get to know her better, at least until his usual boredom resurfaces and he moves on with his life.
I’ll admit that the age difference between Hana and Takane gave me the creeps. However, Hana’s bold, tell it like it is personality made me set my reservations aside. Unsettled by Takane’s interest in her, uncomfortable with the class differences between them, she rebuffs his attention. When he threatens to have her father fired, she agrees to humor him. She then gives him back every little bit of grief his high-handed I’m way better than you attitude deserves. He is a complete jerk at first, and it is easy to see why he has to have his grandfather help find him a spouse.
I enjoyed the opposites attract trope. Takane is spoiled, has way too much money, and puts value on nothing but himself. Hana is down to earth, has never had anything handed to her, and values everything around her, especially other people’s feelings. Considering how someone else feels isn’t exactly something that Takane excels at. In fact, he downright sucks at it. He’s used to getting his way, he’ll bully someone if he doesn’t get what he wants, and he is so jaded with how others treat him that he rarely considers the feelings of others. Hana isn’t impressed with him or his wealth, and that is such a novelty for him that he isn’t ready to just let it go.
As the heir to one of the wealthiest families in Japan, he never knows if someone likes him for himself or for his fortune. Hana, not accepting that he could actually be interested in her, speaks her mind and doesn’t let him get away with anything. How novel for Takane, to be called out on everything, from the flashy car he drives to the opulent meals he consumes. Hana is just as happy getting a hot dog from a street vendor or going to the movies, and she’s determined to show Takane that money isn’t everything.
I thought this was a cute read. I liked Hana and her outspokenness. Takane grew on me by the end of the volume. The art is lively, with attractive character designs and awesome shojo clothing. I’m looking forward to the next installment
Grade: 4.25 stars
Review copy provided by publisher
About the book:
The meeting between Takane and Hana ends in an explosive manner, and Hana is convinced that she’ll never have to see that awful Takane again. But Takane actually seems interested in Hana! Exasperated by Takane’s immature attitude, yet amused and intrigued despite herself, Hana wonders if her hilarious rivalry with Takane just might lead to love!