What They Say
When Mugi’s strapped for cash, good ol’ Tetsu-san comes to the rescue. Tetsu sends Mugi to help out at a friend’s restaurant for a week, but Mugi’s new boss isn’t what he expected. Hana Hanayama is a super-cute high school girl who runs the restaurant with her father. She’s a demanding boss, but Mugi is completely captivated. After all, Hana is the spitting image of Mugi’s ex-girlfriend Hinako. Though Mugi has sworn that he “only has eyes for Yuu,” can he fight off the temptation that is Hana Hanayama?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The concept of a high school guy living with the girl he loves sounds a lot like the story line for an ero-manga. But with Pastel, this concept stays on the clean romantic comedy side of things. Mugi finally got his wish and Yuu has moved back in with him. The first portion of this volume is rather slow as the young pair go about daily life with bathhouse fanservice and otherwise not a care in the world. Luckily, the introduction of a new female brings back some of the conflict lost when Yuu’s little sister moved in with their mom.
Since Mugi’s water heater broke, he has been working extra days for his cooking mentor Tetsu. Because Mugi doesn’t want Yuu to worry about the money, for about a week he has been hiding the fact that he’s working more than usual. Seems like the gentleman’s thing to do, until he starts working for another restaurant run by a girl, Hana, from his school. Things quickly go down hill for Mugi when Yuu finds out he has been lying to her. Then matters go from bad to worse when Hana buys the line that Mugi and Yuu live together because they’re related. This seems to be a green light for Hana, so she cranks up the flirting with Mugi, usually right in front of Yuu. Yuu seems genuinely annoyed and jealous over the whole situation, but neither Mugi nor Yuu can just come out with how they feel about each other. Then again, if they did it would either diminish the story’s conflict or send it skyrocketing.
Seven volumes into this series and I’m enjoying the art, fanservice (no nipples), and the easy-going pace. Mugi is not super nerdy and there is not the slapstick comedy of other series. The story is not so much hilarious as it is comfortable. The author really impresses me with various poetic descriptions of everyday life, exemplified by the art. Many of the situations remind me of my own youth, especially the idea of knowing that the girls you like as friends want to be more, and the girls you really like seem oblivious. Now Mugi just needs his best friend to steal Yuu from him to send things spiraling into self-destructive antics. Oh, sorry, reflecting back on my own youth too much. Anyways, if you’re looking for an enjoyable read that may remind you of your youth then I recommend this series. However, if you need each volume to slap you in the face with WTF!?! moments (try Gacha Gacha) or so much conflict you want to ring the protagonist’s neck (can anyone say Peach Girl?), then you might want to look somewhere else.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Del Rey Manga
Release Date: June 30th, 2007