by Kazune Kawahara; adapted by Gemma Collinge
published by Viz; $8.99 US
This series keeps growing on me. (I’ve previously recommended Book 1 and Book 2.) I like that the twists move quickly, but not too much so. Concepts are explored thoroughly, but nothing is left to run so long it gets stale, and changes make sense based on what the cast is learning about themselves and each other. As a result, each book feels new and fresh while bringing back characters I’m growing to care about.
In Book 3, Haruna is still being coached on how to find a boyfriend by jaded Yoh. He’s gotten to know her well, giving him the ability to predict what she’s thinking… only he has no idea about her biggest secret, that in contradiction of their explicit agreement, she’s falling for him. Well, why not? He pays attention to her, he cares about her, and he’s trying to give her what she wants.
Yoh knows enough to know something’s going on, though. And he’s frustrated that she’s hiding something from her coach. The way she does it is hilariously drawn, over-reacting in shock, staring glassy-eyed, and running away from him. Watching the two misunderstand each other is addictive, and the way they so much want to say what they’re scared to admit is realistic and charming.
Don’t forget, Haruna’s a manga fan herself — only she’s learning that life isn’t as simple as the things she reads about, although some of the elements (like misunderstandings and bullying) can be all too true. But when she and Yoh chart their own path as individuals, reacting based on what they think and feel instead of what they’re supposed to be, they’re so cute together!
When they can get past Haruna not understanding herself and just talk, they’re the kind of couple you wish everyone could be (regardless of how you define their relationship). Ah, young love — this is my favorite shojo running, because it’s entertaining and involving and funny and cute. Very well-done and always satisfying.