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High School Debut Volume 2

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High School Debut Volume 2 by Kazune Kawahara, published by Shojo Beat / VIZ Media

High School Debut Volume 2

© 2003 by Kazune Kawahara / SHUEISHA Inc.

The Bottom Line

In the second volume of High School Debut, the comedy is dialed down a notch, but things do get more interesting as new insights are revealed about Haruna, Yoh, his sister Asami, and his friend Fumiya to give this story new depth and a touch of drama.

Haruna falls in love with Fumiya, and Fumi seems to like her too. Just when it seems like Haruna has turned her luck in love around, she discovers that the game of love has rules that she never expected, and that she's playing against an opponent that she didn't know she had.

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Pros

  • Great character development; new facets of the supporting characters are revealed
  • Interesting plot twists that never feels superficial or overly convenient
  • Fabulously funny facial expressions and spot-on comic dialog make this a fun read
  • Sweetly romantic and genuinely touching without being saccharine
  • Nice artwork – Expertly composed panels that never gets in the way of the story

Cons

  • While there are still funny moments, the comedy is dialed down a notch compared to Volume 1

Description

Guide Review - High School Debut Volume 2

Reading a first volume of new manga is like a blind date: You pick it up because someone recommended it, or you liked how it looked. If the first date went well, you go out again and hope for the best. High School Debut Volume 2 is like a great second date: It's just as fun as the first time, but as we spend more time with the characters, it just gets more interesting. It definitely hooks you in to commit to a longer relationship (or at least long enough to buy Volume 3).

Compared to the light-hearted fun of High School Debut Volume 1, Kawahara dials down the comedy a notch. But with this slightly more serious storyline, new, intriguing dimensions to her characters are revealed. Some developments are unexpected and some are subtle, but they feel "right" for each character. The plot twists never feel contrived and the story flows smoothly from beginning to end.

When we left our romantically challenged heroine Haruna in Volume 1, she got her first few dating lessons from her "coach," Yoh. After a few false starts, Haruna falls in love with Fumi, Yoh's good-natured, slightly dense friend. It seems perfect: Fumi is a genuinely nice guy who enjoys Haruna's company and he seems to appreciate her just the way she is.

But the road to romance isn't an easy one, as Haruna learns a few painful lessons about love. Unlike softball, love is a game where the players don’t' always play by the rules, if there are any rules to begin with. Still, Haruna proves to be a shojo manga heroine who is truly heroic. Despite being dealt a betrayal that would leave a lesser person angry and bitter, Haruna doesn't stoop to playing mind games or wallowing in self-pity. She is always willing to learn from her mistakes.

All in all, an excellent second installment that's as consistently good as the first. I wish all shojo manga was this well-crafted and lovable.

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