High School Debut Volume 8
Now that sporty Haruna and popular boy Yoh are known to be a couple, she’s suddenly desirable to other boys, younger students who don’t have preconceptions about who she used to be. One is a silent, staring stalker; the second tries to be an outgoing player who fancies himself a rival for Yoh’s status as school stud; and the third a gloomy Yoh wannabe. The mix makes for good comedy, as the different ways boys react to a crush are extracted and exaggerated in High School Debut volume 8 by Kazune Kawahara.
That situation, being pursued, is all new to her, and Yoh has to warn her how to behave, since she’s naive about those kinds of emotions. (At the same time, he’s making sure she’s taking care of herself and staying fed, a wonderful, basic reminder of how he cares for her.) It’s a bit creepy, how he keeps telling her not to be alone with any of them. Just what kinds of behavior are accepted among Japanese schoolboys wooing a girl?
There’s an awesome sequence when one of them dares to kiss Haruna, black-drenched pages with gloom and smudges symbolizing Haruna’s horror. Now we see what Yoh was afraid of, and Haruna’s overreactions keep the laughs coming at the same time their relationship overcomes another struggle. The eventual solution is hilarious and yet follows the kind of twisted logic that keeps the two together. The way both romance and comedy blend keeps this series immensely entertaining.
The second half of the book is all about Haruna’s upcoming 17th birthday. Yoh’s under immense pressure to do something special, and everyone’s — friends, parents, media — expectations don’t help. Her attempts to help just make things worse. The differences in their personalities are highlighted, but they’re in no danger. They complement each other well, and the story is a lovely demonstration of how it really is the thought that counts.
I also reviewed the previous volume. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)