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Hatsu*Haru Vol. #08 Manga Review

3 min read
It's the fake-relationship-turns-to-actual-feelings trope!

Ayumi asks Taka to end their fake relationship!

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

What They Say
Taka always thought he’d be the last person thrown off by high school romances. But when his seemingly perfect partner in crime, Shimura, has a sudden request-“Let’s break up!”-he totally loses his balance. Even though this all started as an elaborate scheme to help Kai, now Taka is the one needing Kai’s relationship advice! The tides sure have turned!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
It’s Volume 8, and Kagura’s turn to grace the cover. But the illustration’s somewhat misleading because she doesn’t appear in this volume at all. Rather, the focus goes to two other girls.

First is Ayumi, who asks Taka to end their pretend relationship. Her reasons are twofold. One, Riko and Kai, for whom they started the ruse, are doing just fine now. Two, Ayumi is short on material for the school newspaper and wants to use their breakup as a story.

This is a shojo romance, and predictably, Taka’s thrown into unexpected turmoil at Ayumi’s pragmatic request. But even if it’s predictable, seeing the ever-stoic Taka display an unusual level of emotion draws you in. On the Ayumi front, while she’s clearly fascinated by relationships (the school paper seems more a gossip column than a channel for actual news), we haven’t seen her touched by Cupid’s arrow herself. This arc gives more insight into her views on romance. Whereas Kai’s perspective on love involved parallels with Einstein’s theories and black holes, Ayumi’s involves snails, which isn’t appealing visually, but manages to get the message through.

At any rate, the arc doesn’t come to a complete resolution, but there’s enough heart-thumping illustrations of the pair to keep it satisfying.

Then the spotlight shifts back to Riko and her relationship with Kai. The couple is on solid ground, and there are no rivals ruining their vibe, so Fujisawa-sensei continues the path of ruining the former playboy’s plans for the perfect date. This time, unexpected babysitting duty messes things up.

If you like cute kids, you’ll enjoy Kai’s niece and nephew hijacking their Sunday together. If kids make you uncomfortable, you can commiserate with Riko, who has zero experience with children. In the midst of the usual pants wetting incidents that come with little kids, Fujisawa-sensei interjects Riko’s memories of her dad. It’s a different change of pace than her typical reminisces of Suwa-sensei and provides a new way for Riko and Kai to grow closer.

Extras include story-thus-far, mini-manga about Fujisawa-sensei and her assistants visiting Germany, afterword, and translation notes.

In Summary
It’s the fake-relationship-turns-to-actual-feelings trope! However, Taka and Ayumi pull it off in an engaging way, plus we get a glimpse of how Ayumi’s mind and heart tick. Then Kai’s latest attempt at a perfect date gets ruined, this time by his niece and nephew. It’s good for laughs, but I’m not certain where the primary arc is headed without any real challenges in front of our main couple.

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

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: August 27th, 2019
MSRP: $13.00

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