40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Vol 1- great start,
This review is from: Hana-Kimi: Volume 1 (Paperback)
I really enjoy Hana-Kimi, in more than one way. There's the loveable characters, the silliness, the cuteness, and the way the story manages to rise above the somewhat generic plotline of 'girl-dresses-as-boy-to-meet-boy-of-dreams'.
In the first volume, Ashiya enrolls in the all-boys' school her high-jump hero, Sano, goes to. While Sano figures out his new roommate's secret pretty quickly, he pretty much defies the generic reaction- instead of falling in love with her or confronting her with it, he just goes on treating her as if she's a guy, feeling too uncomfortable around her whenever he thinks of her as a girl.
Meanwhile, Nakatsu, one of Sano's friends and not the most perceptive person ever, finds himself growing attracted to Ashiya and freaks out, denying to himself constantly that he's gay as he glares at any and every other person who goes anywhere near Ashiya. His jealousy is really cute, and his reactions often make me laugh out loud.
You do get some of the typical storylines- the possessive ex; the over-enthusiasm to make everything perfect so everyone can be happy; the inevitable hints at future feelings that are, in the end, the reason we all keep reading series like this. But a pretty solid supporting cast, and a hero who manages to keep things on the ground without falling into the 'serious-without-a-cause' cliche, as well as the generous smatterings of humour, make this a really fun, enjoyable manga that never feels too ridiculous, or has situations that are too contrived.
The artwork is pretty and cute, if not quite to the standards of CLAMP or Angel Sanctuary, and the characters, to the manga-ka's credit, do grow as the series progresses. There's also the major bonus that this is really re-readable- I must've read the first volume at least five times by now.
If you like the cross-dressing, humourous, cute kind of manga- if you've read Girl Got Game and need something new or better in the same vein (which I think this definitely is), give Hana-Kimi a shot. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.