An Early Look at High School Debut Vol 1 by Kazune Kawahara Manga Review

Title:  High School Debut Vol 1

Author:  Kazune Kawahara

Publisher:  VIZ

ISBN:  9781421514819

May Contain Spoilers

Haruna Nagashima used to be interested in only two things: softball and manga.  Now that she’s in high school, she wants to branch out a little.  Now she wants a boyfriend, so she can fall in love and experience true happiness.  Using the same dedication that she once reserved for softball, she throws herself into the art of making herself more attractive to boys, only to fail at every aspect.  Realizing that it was her coach who was partly responsible for her success at softball, she decides to find herself a coach to help her make herself more appealing to guys.  Setting her sights on Yoh Komiyama, she knows he’d be the perfect coach, but can she convince him to help her?

This was a cute story, as sporty Haruna tries to bumble her way through love.  Researching how to catch a guy by reading magazines and studying manga, she thinks she’s hit on the perfect look.  After standing in a hot pick up spot and being totally ignored, she starts to wonder what’s wrong.  Maybe her method of finding true love needs a make over itself.  Then she meets Yoh by accident, overhearing that he knows what guys want in a girl.  Remembering that the key to her success in softball was the attention and advice of a good coach, she begs him to coach her in the art of attracting guys.  He reluctantly agrees, but there’s a catch: Haruna can’t fall for him, or their partnership is over!

Haruna is intense, fiercely chasing after her goals.  She works hard, isn’t afraid to take risks, and tirelessly pursues her dream of snagging a boyfriend.  Yoh, on the other hand, is blunt, gruff, and not so easy to get along with.  His only redeeming quality at first is that he knows how to make a girl look cute.  Brutally telling Haruna that her make up and clothes don’t work for her, he sets about creating the perfect look for the muscular, tomboyish girl.  This isn’t easy when she looks best in boys clothes! 

There’s a chemistry between Haruna and Yoh, but since he’s insisting that he’s not interested in a relationship, Haruna quells whatever feelings she might have developed for him.  I like this push and pull between them, as Haruna gradually warms up to her new “coach.” As she gets to know him, she sees that he’s not really a bad guy, and she begins to wonder why he’s so bitter about love.

What I liked best about this story is that the two leads aren’t gooey eyed in love with each other.  Instead, with Yoh off-limits, Haruna doesn’t even give him a romantic thought in this volume.  She doesn’t care who she falls in love with, she just wants to be in love, and the sooner the better.  I’m really curious to see how this plays out as their friendship develops.

High School Debut Vol 1 hits bookstores in January

Grade:  B

Rated for Teen

Review copy provided by VIZ

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