Saturday, April 4, 2015

Manga Review: High School Debut 3-in-1 Vol. 5 (13-14-15) by Kazune Kawahara

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Volumes: 15 Volumes/5 Omnibus
Spoilers?: Not really.
Volume: Omn. 1. Omn. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A bargain omnibus edition of the bestselling romantic comedy—final omnibus volume includes all-new material (previously unpublished Volumes 14 and 15 of the series)! Hapless Haruna needs help finding a boyfriend! After failing to win the eye of any guy in high school, Haruna enlists the help of cute upperclassman Yoh to coach her on how to make herself more appealing to the male spec ies. Yoh agrees, with one catch: Haruna had better not fall for him!

Yoh faces a difficult choice—should he go to university all the way in Tokyo or stay near Haruna? Haruna wants to support Yoh’s decision no matter what, but will her high school romance end with his graduation? Don’t miss the series finale, plus previously unpublished stories from volumes 14 and 15 of the High School Debut series!


There was no doubt that I would be picking this book up, since it had two volumes not previously released. But it had been so long since I read the series (I read it originally back when it was first released), that I had to reread the series. And the series is pretty much as adorable as I remembered, but I might even have liked it more this time.
This series is about Haruna and Yoh’s relationship. Haruna is oblivious to everything, but also very straightforward about her feelings and what’s going on. She can’t lie even a little bit, and Yoh reads her extremely well. Yoh is very quiet and conserved and hates talking about feelings, but I find it adorable when he does, and he gets all red in the face. He’s a sweetheart in hiding. I might have liked some more intimate happenings in their relationship, but what happened worked for them.
One thing that really stood out to me was their loyalty to each other. Even when other people were trying to get in the way, and then when they were long-distance, they stuck with each other. They talked and made sure to be honest and there for each other. Neither of them even thought of someone else—that’s how much they love each other. And that happens so little, that I really appreciated it.
I would also like to point out that Haruna decides where to go to college based on where Yoh goes. And that bothers me not even a little. First of all, Haruna pushes Yoh to go there even if they’ll be apart, because she knows it’s best for him. That takes maturity. And then Haruna tries super hard to get in there as well because she wants to be with Yoh, but she’s also going to school with a career in mind. It’s not all based on Yoh. And I was more than happy about that. I think this is one of the few times I’ve seen this done well. And given that they are still so strong together after time apart, shows that they're in it together.
Now, as to the two extra volumes. Volume thirteen, as far as I can tell, is exactly the same as the single volume. But then there are two volumes with completely new content. Most of them show the time when Haruna and Yoh are separated, showing the times they get to see each other, and showing Haruna trying extra hard to get into the same school. There are some hardships, but I love the way they’re handled. At the end, there are a couple spin-offs, including one about Asami and Fumi. Originally, I wasn’t a huge fan of Asami (because she’s a bit of jerk), but I think she redeemed herself at the end, at least regarding her relationship with Fumi.
I would have liked to see more of the side characters, like Mami and Asaoka getting a romance or a story of some kind, but that’s okay. This is Haruna’s story, so it makes sense. 
If you enjoyed this series, I would definitely recommend picking up this book. It has more than enough content to make it worth it.

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