High School Debut 3-in-1 Edition Volume 5
High School Debut 3-in-1 Edition volume 5 is the final volume of the series, and it contains the equivalent of volumes 13, 14, and 15 of the single-volume run. Only volume 13 was previously published here, back in 2010.
Having the volume start with a book I already read was a big help in catching up with the story of Haruna, goofy but warm-hearted tomboy, and Yoh, her “life coach” who falls in love with her. I enjoyed reading the series by Kazune Kawahara because I wound up caring about the characters, who avoided the usual shojo cliches to seem more three-dimensional to me. Haruna’s optimism, in particular, is inspiring and refreshing.
Since Yoh is a year ahead of his girlfriend, he’s about to go to college. He has the chance to go to a good school in Tokyo to follow his dreams, but first, Haruna has to come to terms with her feelings. She wants the best for him, so she wants him to go, but she loves him, so she wants him there with her.
If I tell you that the two new volumes are subtitled “High School Debut: Long-Distance Love”, you can guess what happens. But first, there’s a hilarious chapter where Haruna meets Yoh’s mother, and a touching one where the seniors graduate.
The stories in the first new volume deal with the two coping with the distance between them — complicated by Haruna’s boss at her part-time job, who’s negative about everything — and the few times they get to visit. Early on, Haruna demonstrates a rare moment of self-awareness, when she thinks to herself “I’m good at being physical… but I’m not so good at talking. I guess a long-distance relationship doesn’t exactly play to my strengths.” She’s determined to make it work, though.
It’s funny to see Haruna and Yoh coping when Haruna gets tired out going to all the tourist spots in Tokyo or freaks herself out about being close to Yoh or nearly misses her school interview. It’s always amusing to see others react to their relationship, as Yoh’s friends think she’s too goofy for him and those who know Haruna can’t figure out how she got such a cool guy.
The notes from the author talk about how these volumes are coming out because there was a High School Debut movie at the time. For that reason, the bonus items in volume 14 are a few tribute manga from other artists.
The final volume contains one concluding chapter about Yoh and Haruna, with the remainder being spin-off stories about other members of the cast. There’s one about how Yoh made his first friend in Tokyo, one with Yoh’s sister Asami facing a rival for her boyfriend, a comedy piece about Haruna hallucinating while trying to study for college, and a flashback where the gang goes to karaoke. A final bonus story features unrelated characters, in a story about childhood neighbors finding love.
This omnibus volume was a lovely way to remember how much I enjoyed reading High School Debut while it was coming out and spending a bit more time with a cute couple. (The publisher provided a review copy.)