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Hatsu*Haru Vol. #06 Manga Review

3 min read
Ayumi gets invited to dinner with Takaya's family!

Ayumi gets invited to dinner with Takaya’s family!

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Shizuki Fujisawa
Translation/Adaptation: Alethea and Athena Nibley

What They Say
Summer break has been full of endings and new beginnings for Kai and Riko both. Suwa’s wedding saw the conclusion of Riko’s long-held first love, but only time will tell if its departure leaves room in her heart for another. Can Kai safely navigate dating when love is involved, or will his uncalculated swing in the dark throw everything off course?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This volume has been a long time coming. After so many attempts by various people to help Riko get a clue, Kai confronts her with a confession that cannot be interpreted as anything but. It is a momentous, heart-pounding moment for our pair, but this being a romantic comedy, Fujisawa-sensei still finds a way to pull out the rug from under our besotted protagonist. Thus, the official formation of Riko/Kai is sweet and funny although I have to wonder about Kai’s health with him constantly winding up bedridden.

Considering it’s taken six (!) volumes for the heroine to realize the male lead wants to date her, I thought the series might put in a “happily ever after” there and end. However, the story continues, and I sense it won’t stop until all eight friends get paired up. What this means for our main couple is that they move on to dating and the excitement and awkwardness that comes with it. Riko’s never dated (I guess Hatano doesn’t count), and Kai’s never dated anyone like Riko. While it is strange the Kai’s Romantic Endeavors Group feels the need to continue monitoring the two, the comedy of errors that is Kai’s carefully planned first date with Riko brings a desperately needed fresh flavor of misunderstandings to their relationship.

Meanwhile, the things progress on the Takaya/Ayumi front. It’s not that they draw closer romantically; their relationship is still “fake boyfriend/girlfriend.” Rather, Ayumi gets a deeper understanding of Takaya. The narrative’s hinted strongly that the reason Takaya never paired up with anyone because he’s in love with his NOT BLOOD RELATED step-sister. Surprisingly, it turns out the attraction was once mutual. While the scenario’s not unknown in shoujo manga, Fujitani-sensei makes Takaya’s reflections on his step-sister both tragic and heartrending. As for Ayumi, our energetic school reporter gets to reveal her compassionate side. She’s a bit awkward in offering sympathy, but her earnest effort to help Takaya achieve closure makes her even more likable. Their relationship remains “fake,” but after this volume, I’m rooting for it switch to “real” soon.

Extras include story-thus-far, embedded author’s notes, and translation notes.

In Summary
Riko finally realizes Kai’s in love with her. The joke about our ultra-dense lead lady has gone on way too long, so it’s a relief for Kai’s efforts to finally pay off. Thus the next phase of their relationship begins. Granted, it’s still plagued with misunderstandings, but at least they’re on the same page about their desire to be together.

Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B-
Text/Translation Grade: B

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: April 30th, 2019
MSRP: $13.00

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