High School Debut 10Posted: May 26, 2009
I was a little lost at the beginning of this volume, but only because I didn’t realize I missed a volume since the last time I read the series. The story picks up in the middle of some kind of bet between Yoh and an admirer of Haruna, and apparently they were settling the score at the school festival.
Now, I tend not to notice these types of plot devices (ie the sports festival) when I read a story from the beginning and get caught up in the characters, but for these series I’m spot-reading, I’m always a little bummed when a school festival or play happens. It wasn’t such a big deal in this series, since there’s not a lot of hoopla surrounding the setup of the festival and the events and stuff, and most of the focus is just on Yoh’s competitions. There’s also an ouendan segment, and that made me smile, so I can’t be too mad.
Haruna still strikes me as kind of shallow, since most of what she does in this book is cheer Yoh up by being happy and not much else. I like her a little since she is such a positive person, and again, I like this series a lot because of the strong, non-dramatic bond between Yoh and Haruna, something you don’t often see. I got to see a lot of them in this volume, and I was pretty happy with the book as a result.
In addition to the sports festival where Haruna cheers for Yoh, there’s also a short segment where Yoh winds up visiting Haruna’s house and spending the day with her family. The one thing about Yoh is that he always seems mildly uncomfortable no matter where he is or what he does (this might have something to do with the fact the characters in this series are drawn in a way that makes it look like they have bags under their eyes). During the scenes with Haruna’s parents, it’s hard to tell how he’s reacting and whether he’s enjoying the family normalcy or whether he is being made extremely uncomfortable. He mentions later that he was nervous the entire time, which does explain it, but it’s almost painful to watch him looking so uptight the entire time. The creepy scene where Haruna’s dad comes to talk to him while he’s bathing also doesn’t help much.
Later, there’s more creepiness when a girl at Yoh’s prep school latches on to him because of his good looks in order to tell him off whenever she sees him. The girl is sort of unpleasant to everyone, including Haruna and her own brother, but as she starts to see how Yoh deals with other people, I… think she becomes attracted? There’s a weird point of contention late in the book, and it’s possible the girl is in love with Yoh, but that’s a cliffhanger for next time.
It’s not a fantastic-must-read just yet, but it is better than average, and quite fun without laboring over cliches. I’ve read less of it than some others, but it’s probably still my favorite among the shoujo series I’ve been trying out from Viz lately (well, I liked Baby & Me better, but I don’t think that one counts since it’s not really a contemporary of things like High School Debut and Monkey High, they’re different stories and it’s difficult to compare the details).
This was a review copy provided by Viz.