Saturday, August 31, 2013

Manga Review: Haru Hana: The Complete Collection by Yuana Kazumi

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Tokyopop
Volumes: 3 Volumes/1 Omnibus
Spoilers?: No.
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. RightStuf! (Mostly Out-of-Print)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Hana Yamada just moved from Osaka and has finally overcome a rather unfortunate condition: she's allergic to cute boys! But on the very first day of school, things quickly escalate into disaster as she walks in on a boy and girl acting rather sketchy - only to find out later that she will have to work with this boy. Hana's guaranteed to elapse now!
The complete three-volume series is collected here in one gorgeous volume!

Something Specific:

  • "'Each and every photo looked at is like digging up buried treasure.’” (Volume 1)
  • "Why are pure things so embarrassing to write? I mean, I guess I know why… It’s because I’ve lost my purity.” (From an author panel at end of Volume 2)
  • "'We all embrace one another gently… And when we’re embraced, it makes us want to embrace others. […] I’m sure that “love” is passed from one person to another that way…'” (Volume 3)


I got this rather randomly at the bookstore. I’d seen it when it was still in print, and thought about getting it but never did. I found it for a good price recently, though, and thought, “Why not?” And I thought it would take me a while, that it would be a slow read, but I ended up reading it really quickly, and even found it more enjoyable than I thought I would.
This series stars Hana, who’s just recently moved to Japan to live with her older sister, and who gets hives any time a boy touches her. Her sister, though, to pay back some of her debt, signs her on to work for this masseuse who works in the apartment below her. The place only has two employees, one being a late twenties male, and the other being a boy from her school. She dreads it at first, but quickly grows close to the two males, and their friends.
I’m not going to get too into the story, because this holds all three volumes, there’s so much, and I don’t want to give too much away.
I rather enjoyed this. Hana was fun, nice, a pretty standardly nice and shy heroine. The boy her age who she works with (and the masseuse), Haru, is fun. He and Hana have a very love-hate relationship, and it was really sweet and funny. Haru has a hard time opening up to people, and he’s lost some of his memory, but he slowly opens up to Hana, and I liked their relationship, and the pace it progressed at.
The other characters were fun. The shop owner, Shinnosuke, who takes care of Haru, and just about everyone else, and who is just fun and sweet. There’s Nakajima, a girl who likes Haru, but also forms a friendship with Hana. Fujinari, a relative of Shinnosuke, and a violinist who Hana looks up to, and who seems to enjoy pushing Haru and Hana together (although, most of the others do, too). And Oki, a photographer friend from their school, who has a small presence, but is entertaining.
The series was funny, the storylines were fun, the pacing was very well done. The more serious plot line took a turn near the third volume that I wasn’t expecting, but that I liked quite a bit. Everything seemed to turn out a little too well, but I can overlook that, seeing as how often that usually happens. And the romance was done well—the relationship developed in a nice way, at a good pace, and I liked where it was by the end of the book. The art was pretty good, too. It had some weak moments, but it mostly had a sketch-like look to it, and I liked it for the most part. 
Overall, this series gets a light 4 stars—it was surprisingly good, and I’m glad I picked it up.

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