High School Debut Volume 9
It’s time for that staple of shojo high school manga, the sports festival. Since Haruna and Yoh are in different grades, this will be the only time they get to share a school activity. In addition to the sports competitions, they’ll also be part of a cheerleading group, a behavior that’s uncomfortable for the reserved Yoh.
Haruna, on the other hand, is full of enthusiasm, and friends speculate that her energy might break Yoh out of his shell a bit. The two have fun together practicing and planning, until Yoh gets nominated for grade captain, a school-wide election to pick group leaders. His increased duties mean more time and work away from her, as well as the kind of outgoing display uncharacteristic of him. There are also increased possibilities for jealousy, as the couple is thrown in with different people.
I didn’t enjoy this volume by Kazune Kawahara quite as much as I did previous ones because of the increased emphasis on school activities and the mechanics of such. It’s all very plausible, and the events are used to shed more light on the couple’s personalities and interactions, but … it didn’t seem quite as special to me. Plus, this book is all setup, with the festival presumably happening in the next installment.
I did appreciate the way it showed Haruna helping Yoh out, instead of the other way around, but it didn’t have the emotional punch I was hoping for. Maybe my expectations are just too high after so many excellent volumes so far; a merely good one suffers by comparison. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)