Happy Hustle High Book 1

I expected to enjoy this book much more than I did. The ingredients sounded very promising — tomboy falls in love with aloof boy when their previously same-sex schools are integrated — but the recipe didn’t come together. I don’t have any enthusiasm to read further, because the characters are often flattened into stereotypical roles.

The lead, Hanabi, is an active girl who’s happy to stand up to perverts and bullies. When all the other girls in her school are busy falling in love with Yoshitomo, the new student body president, or Yasuaki, the vice-president, Hanabi’s the only one who can talk back to the boys. This is significant, because the guys want to keep a “no dating” rule in place, and the girls don’t. (The question of why a previously boys-only school has a rule against dating isn’t raised.)

Happy Hustle High Book 1 cover
Happy Hustle High
Book 1
Buy this book

The student council guys agree to waive the rule if Hanabi can get their three signatures. The president signs, because he’s not much of a personality, and another can easily be bribed with food. That leaves Yasuaki. Since the school is apparently right next door to a beach, he goes surfing before classes. He agrees to sign if Hanabi can ride a wave.

This sequence oddly reminds me of Frankie-and-Annette movies. Hanabi’s not a bad surfer, although she’s never done it before. Her wipeouts provide comic relief, and when a huge wave takes her under, Yasuaki gets to be a hero, reasserting his strength and superiority in saving her. His mouth-to-mouth resuscitation becomes her first kiss.

She’s infatuated, but he’s secretly afraid of girls, so the second half of the book follows her pursuit of him. There’s also a tennis competition and the risk of video game addiction. At times, it feels like the chapters come from different series, but perhaps that’s just because they’re so familiar in setup. Little is done with the more interesting situation of the blending of the schools, and the cast is quickly reduced to the three student council guys and Hanabi.

The boys are drawn in typically elongated style, with long, lanky bodies and narrow eyes and faces. They’re distinguishable primarily by hairstyle. Hanabi, in contrast, has a compact body and an almost clownish, round face with huge eyes that look like marbles. Manga readers may know the author from the Wild Act series, about a girl who stalks a movie star.

33 Comments

  1. I like this. I like that the pair are relatively open with eachother, and that misunderstandings tend to get resolved within an episode or two instead of dragging on and on. Mostly, though, the expressiveness of the cartooning, particularly of Hanabi, makes me smile.

  2. THIS BOOK IS SOO COOOOll !! I fell in love with it!! haha my sister looks at me weird when i laff by myself ahah this book cheers me up on my days that i am depressed… where’s vol. 6!!?? :-D

  3. 2 comments no way. I love this book! I love Hanabi’s tough girl attitude, it makes me wanna kick some butt ^^ It’s really good, I’d recommend it to anyone.

  4. I have to agree with you. I picked up the first volume and the story seemed to lose its momentum later on. The first kiss scene didn’t do much for me, and Hanabi isn’t really my type of female character. Although different from a weak heroine, she certainly does feel like flat character. I may get the second volume to see how the story continues, but I’m not so sure.

  5. too good! book three is my ultimate fave!

  6. Sakura Sagara

    I bought HHH on a shopping spree with my cousin and quickly fell in love with the series, because of its romanticism. Hanabi is my type of girl, a tomboy, which is kind of straying from the usual girly-girl manga that I usually find, and the love story really got to me, and it kind of feels magical, even when I read it over and over. The series continued to draw me in through volumes 2 and 3, and I couldn’t buy 4, though I have 5. Throughout, there is one thing to be said about Yasuaki, the perfect boyfriend. I cannot speak for others, but Yasuaki is the guy I wish I could meet and fall in love with, because he is the best thing that could ever happen to a tomboy!

  7. I loved this book, It kinda remined me of when I was going to school. Just like Hanabi I was a though girl who stood up to bullies and perverted boy’s ^_^;. Ah yes and thuss is why I love this book.

  8. This book is so awsome and Hanabi is so hot I’d tap her hard

  9. I love this series. It is my all time favorite. I find some of the comments very amusing (aka vol 1. “She’s not a girl, she’s an evil alien who looks like a girl”) and it always seems to cheer me up no matter how many times I read it!

  10. Good interlect of pharaphrasing, but wish I could read all Manga books.

  11. OMG once i read the 1st book i fell in love and was hooked to the series immediatly. I love how yasu(super hot) and hanabi are paired together. I wish there were more books in the series than just 5!

  12. This is one of my absolute favorite series and I am sad that it ended at 5. But what a great 5! I have read it several times and each time it makes me smile.

  13. This is totally my favorite manga ever. I’ve read so many and this is by far the best. I totally id with Hanabi. The thing was that I accidentally read the 2nd book before I read the 1st book, so it was kinda confusing. After I read the 1st book I appreciated it even more than I had already. I’ve got the first 4 books and I’ve been searching for the last one. I’ve heard some things about it and read some reviews, thus I’m really inclined to read it!!!

  14. Anyone who doesn’t like this series is evil!!! It rocks out loud!! booya!!

  15. dis series is soo gdd! i ned 2 get volume 3 since its not out yet!! xx

  16. Omg i jus LOVEEEEEE dis manga book!!
    Such a gr8 storYy_
    Da sroryz Rely fantastic & da drawingz r vewii imaginative_xx

    JUS Love Diss BooK_x
    WaiitiN fo vOlume 3

    <33

  17. AGREED. This book is absolutely amazing! So teenagers! And the story is so smooth! I love it! :) I love the drawing, Yasuaki’s and Hanabi’s face is soooo cute! I really like Tokihisha Aido! :)

  18. OMG i absouloutely love these series of book’s my friend lent me the first one and i was absouloutely hooked so i asked her for the rest of them

  19. O M G I’m pretty much addicted now .
    its so awsome ! ! ! !

  20. this book is like no other book i’v ever read. it rocks hard they should make like alot of seasons of it.

  21. this book is so cool i want book six boo hoo lol

  22. hey can anyone tell me what the next title of this series is and where i can find it because im obsested with the first one and havent been able to find the next one. i fell in love with this book when i chanced upon it at our local library and just keep checking it out to make sure i know the story.

  23. hanabi is the girl i have always wanted to be and i so wish that i was her and i just wish i could be her and meet a guy like that

  24. i love this!!! i wish i was strong like Hanabi! she is sooo funny and lucky to be that pretty!!!! my favorite part is when they put on masks to catch those perverts!!! i just couldn’t stop laughing!!LOL!

  25. ummm, i think i was talking about book 3 or 4….(about masks)um not sure.

  26. [...] it’s a fun read, one I enjoyed even on the second time through. Rie Takada previously created Happy Hustle High and Punch! [...]

  27. Really good! I can read it again and again and I laugh every time! I like in book one in a conversation between Yoshitomo and Yasuaki, Yas says he likes Hanabi, Yoshi says he does too (as a joke) and Yas gets annoyed. I just love how the whole book is layed out.

  28. I luv this book because it cheers me up and gives me giggles* I really did wish the writer would keep going with this serious. It’s the only book I connect with the most. Please!Please!Please continue with this serious…..its not 2 late.

  29. hanabi is a girl that every girl wish that could show on the outside instead of just inside.

  30. thank you for telling me the name of the next book im hoping ill find it soon so i can start reading on in the series

  31. *looks at the previous comments*
    Hahahahahahhahahahaha – what.

    This series – for an honest lack of a better and more succinct word – SUCKED. The “ingredients” were lame to begin with, I know that all shoujos are essentially the same but god, the characters were just the dumbest people. Hanabi was like the little middle school girl who was more interested in her newly-found hormones than anything else. The art didn’t even do anything to make her at least LOOK older so she wasn’t completely enshrouded in her own childishness. And it was like she got everything ever, after the whole “oh yeah it’s super easy to get the three guys to sign, look less than a volume in and the problem’s solved!” thing I was thinking, “Then where the hell is the plot going to go from here?” I couldn’t even bring myself to read more to find out, it was just so incredibly bad.

    I mean, I did gave it one more chance and took a glance at the last volume to see if it would be worth it if I endured any more of the manga. But near the end of the last volume, the plot went something like

    Yasuaki: hayy girl let’s go to my bedroom tonight cuz your daddy said it was a-okay
    Hanabi: OMG IS HE THINKING ABOUT SEX?? OMG
    Dad: I’m okay with this. (My little girl’s growing up!)

    What even.

    It’s even worse when you just look at it and realize that Yasuaki looks like he’s twenty and Hanabi looks like she’s twelve.

    In conclusion chocolate is cool. No just kidding. In conclusion, this series is basically some bubble-brained middle schooler’s ideal dream.

  32. Well I’m sorry you think that way, Mei, and I would like it if you didn’t put down the fact that some people like this series alot and look to Hanabi’s character as a role model. Your opinion of this book is still yours but when you put it on a website like this, expect to be confronted by the series’s lovers. By putting your opinion on this page that Happy Hustle High lovers post on, you are opening up your view to those of us who happen to like series like this one and I fear that those who are just starting the series, will read your comment and choose not to read on and form their own opinions. Though I do agree that some of the scenes are a little straight forward and can seem dumb, to me it seems as if you obviously did not think to read the entire series instead of forming a opinion off of first glance like any immature human would do to a person who is still wearing 80’s styled glasses and has frizzy hair.

    Having characters that are easy to figure out is a break from trying to figure out real people and their simplicity is what adds the laugh to the whole comic. Please do not feel as though i dislike you, I just feel that you have judged this comic quickly and unfairly and would like you to go back and give this comic another chance at drawing the laughs from you as it has from so many other readers.

    In conclusion, Mei, please go back and read the whole series with an open mind and then come back and tell me that you didn’t like it one bit. In conclusion, my dear non-believer, some people need to put down their dreams for the world, for this world lacks the dreamer’s view nowadays and needs people to break up our scientific view of life. In conclusion, I believe that you need to know that not everybody looks their age and not every character in a book needs to be as complicated as the real thing.

  33. Why has no one mentioned that in the beginning that the guys refused to move there dating rule?!

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.