Manga Village

The School sports festival is coming up, so everyone’s gearing up for some fierce competition!  Even affairs of the heart become a competitive event when Yoh suspects his friend Asaoka may truly have feelings for Haruna…

By Kazune Kawahara
Publisher: Viz Media/Shojo Beat
Age Rating: Teen (13+)
Genre: Romance
Price: $8.99

It’s been three volumes since the last time I read this series and…not much seems to have changed.  Haruna is still clueless about Asaoka’s feelings, but seems to have at least stopped by clueless about Yoh.  Asaoka finally steps up and declares he has feelings for Haruna, something that was obvious from at least volume 5, though only to Yoh. I can’t really blame Yoh for giving his long time friend the benefit of the doubt until Asaoka challenges him.

This whole volume is dedicated to the school sports festival, which seems to be a big deal.  Yoh, not only has to deal with cheering and dancing, but as a 3rd year, gets elected School Captain, putting him in a difficult spot.  He has to stand up in front of the school and speak, something, he’s not comfortable with.  Because Yoh doesn’t do anything half-hearted, he puts in a lot of time after school to improve his public speaking and cheering.  This also means less time for him and Haruna to be together.  This wouldn’t be a problem, except for Asaoka, who always seems to conveniently be around when Haruna needs help, has decided to get serious about his feeling for Haruna.

I’ve got a problem with this whole competition between Yoh and Asaoka for Haruna.  Asaoka, after watching Yoh and Haruna together for 8 volumes has only just decided now to go after Haruna?  Why wait so long and let their relationship cement as it seems to have?  He had plenty of opportunities to win Haruna away from Yoh during all their rough times earlier, and probably could have during volume 5.  This isn’t something a friend would do, seemingly out of the blue.  Just because Yoh is busy doesn’t mean a friend can move it.  It almost doesn’t feel real, especially with Asaoka’s personality, but I can’t believe he’d go to such lengths to help Haruna and Yoh right now either.  There’s no reason.

I did enjoy all the preparations for the sports festival in this volume.  Usually, a manga will just say a sports festival is coming up and then got straight to the competition.  Here, we see how much is put into a festival beyond just the sporting events.  The students are not just divided into two teams, but they create elaborate banners and choreograph cheers to support the teams.  They even sew their own t-shirts!  That’s not something you’d see a US school doing!  The team and school captains have the most work, as they lead their teams in the cheers.  Yoh’s coolness really comes out here as he takes on the challenge and gains the respect of his fellow captains.  And he just looks hot in the old school uniform.  It is once again Yoh that saves this volume for me.  His cool attitude and hot looks make him fun to read, despite the unrealistic situation he is put into.

High School Debut once again charts lukewarm for me.  The unrealistic challenge to Yoh and Haruna’s relationship waters down the otherwise enjoyable school sports festival preparations.  Keep the romantic challenges between Yoh and Haruna, leave out the external challenges and this title would be more readable.

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