Thursday, June 4, 2009

High School Debut

“…since I don’t think I will be able to go out with anyone but you.Not now, not ever. So I don’t really want this to end.”

This is my first time to try and review a manga so I don’t really know how to go about it. But anyway, I guess I’ll try.

Alternative Title: Koukou Debut

Mangaka (Author): Kawahara Kazune

The Plot:

When Haruna Nagashima was in junior high her life consisted of playing softball and reading comics. But now that she’s going to high school, Haruna decides to put all of her energy towards getting a boyfriend and having the high school romance of a lifetime. To help in her quest, she enlists cute upperclassman Yoh Komiyama to coach her as she eschews her jock tendencies and turns herself into the kind of girl who can catch a guy. Yoh agrees, with one catch: Haruna had better not fall for him!

From Viz (Baka-Updates Manga)


Ever since we had this amazing, amazing Internet connection, manga reading has become unbelievably fast.  I’m following 5-6 mangas that were still ongoing and in between that, I’ve already read a crapload of one-shots already. I’m so close to finishing all the works of two authors, one with about 34 works and the other around 14. All that in a span of just three weeks! Well, it’s not like I spent all my time reading (my mom’s gonna kill me for the bill) the Internet connection is just amazing!

So anyway, I was lurking around my favorite forums and looking for a new shoujo manga to pick up. This title just came up a lot (Yoh and Haruna were even posted a lot of times as the best shoujo couple) so I decided to check it out on Mangafox. It only has 13 volumes and 52 chapters so it’s not really that long. I also read the comments on the Mangafox forum and it seemed like everyone who read it loved it. 

Actually, the title is not so new to me. I’ve read its plot already in Onemanga and NCIS (the one scanlating Nodame Cantabile) was the one who also scanlated it. 

Mangas with school life genres are just so fun and easy to read. Although, school life in Japan is different, it is somewhat closer to heart than anything else. And besides, I know quite a lot about it, having read and watched a lot Japanese stuff already.

Okay, I’m dividing this review in three parts. One for the art (although, I’m not really artsy so don’t expect me to be so critical about it.) Another one for the story. The other is for the characters, mainly the two characters but I’ll pitch in something for the supporting characters.

Here goes nothing.

ART: Out of 5, it’ll be 3.

It’s in the middle. The characters were not drawn uber beautifully like Fushigi Yuugi or even Special A. The mangaka wasn’t like Yuu Watase. However, it wasn’t bad. In fact, I kinda like the way he draws the guys, though they were not so drop dead gorgeous but they have a certain charm in them. The girls were fine but I don’t like the way she draws the “cute girls”. She puts something on the cheeks. I don’t know if it was supposed to be a blush but I don’t think so because Asami had them all the time. Even Yoh’s ex-girlfriend. I think they were already cute without that. 

The scenes were drawn okay. Sometimes, there were dark spots. I don’t know if you really get what I mean here but if you read Nodame, I’ll guess you’ll understand. Nodame has few dark spots, it’s very easy to read.

STORY: Out of 5, it’s a 4.

Well, I want to say 5 but it’s a shoujo manga and a lot of stuff that happens in a shoujo manga isn’t very realistic. This manga wasn’t an exemption too. But I like that it was fast-paced and not boring at all. I read the summary in Wikipedia and I really thought that it’ll take a long time before Yoh and Haruna get together but I was surprised that it only took a few chapters. When they became a couple, I thought it’s gonna go downhill after that but it didn’t. It just kept on climbing up till it reached an awesome and a bit tear-jerky climax. I also like it that the story arcs don’t take too long. They were usually done in a chapter or two. 


Komiyama Yoh: Out of 5, it’s a 5.

It’s amazing that his character is unlike most lead guys. Okay, yes he’s supposed to be gorgeous and popular and gets a lot of girls – we can’t help this part, it’s a formula for shoujo mangas. But what I find different is that I really didn’t expect him to develop so much. Since Koukou Debut is a love story, I was just giddy every time because of him. I love the way he changed while he is going out with Haruna. I love the fact that while Haruna obviously loves him A LOT, he ALSO loves her a lot. At first, he wasn’t showing anybody his feelings but then it shows in his actions and then he became vocal about it. During the last few chapters, Yoh was just so lovable. I felt like melting every time he can’t help but tell it straight to Haruna what he feels.  (She just can’t get it because she’s dense.) It was just too cute, too endearing. Actually, it is so damn hard to explain it here. I so want a boyfriend like him!

It’s nice because even though the story aims to center on Haruna’s change (after all it’s her high school debut), we see Yoh changing because of her. Haruna’s change is more like physical (though we’re not gonna notice that a lot), while Yoh is a lot deeper. His change is inside. That’s why in chapter 52, I think it’s very fitting how the classmates of Yoh in Tokyo described Haruna. It ran something like. 

“I hear his girlfriend is in town today. The one we’ve heard so much about.” “You mean, the girl who changed Yoh’s high school life?” “More like, the girl who changed Yoh’s ENTIRE life.” “Yoh’s dearest and most beloved girlfriend, right?”

Yeah, she changed him indeed.

Nagashima Haruna: Out of 5, it’s a 4.

Her character also contains the formula for female leads in shoujo mangas. Hard working, clueless and definitely good hearted. There’s not much new about her. I’ve seen a lot like her, most notably is Hikaru of SA. However, even if it is like that, you will just learn to love Haruna, just like how Yoh fell for her. She’s not perfect but she’s got a charm of her own. You will cheer for her and feel for her during her trying times.

Other characters: Out of 5, it’s a 4.

They are a good mix of different personalities. I loved Mami-chan because she is just so nice and all. But I have to say that my favorite is Asaoka-san! My God, I have a hard time deciphering his intentions at all, although I felt like he really has developed feelings for Haruna. Fumi-kun is okay, though he didn’t stand out very much but he was a good supporting character. I would like to say I hate Asami because she’s just too complicated and a bit twisted. I didn’t like very much the story arcs involving her but the mangaka is just a pure genius. We see a lot of YohxHaruna stuff in story arcs involving Asami.

OVERALL: Out of 5, Koukou Debut for me is 4.

I just love it. I love it a lot. It’s romantic. It’s fun. It makes you want to fall in love. Yoh is just love. Actually, the Yoh and Haruna pairing is just love. Plus it’s clean. Ha! No surprise stuff here and there. Thank goodness. ^,^.

Now, what should I read next? 

Where’s my Yoh???????

*pic from Google

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