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Hirano and Kagiura Vol. #01 Manga Review

4 min read
Copyright Yen Press

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Shou Harusono
Translation/Adaptation: Leighann Harvey
Lettering: DK

What They Say
Akira Kagiura has decided. He will marry him. Taiga Hirano, roommate—and the most perfect man who has ever existed! After all, Hirano’s bad boy vibe doesn’t really matter when he acts so sweet. Like when he wakes Kagi up every morning or cheers him on when he’s feeling down…So now there’s only one thing left to do: enact his grand plan and overcome the first hurdle—confessing his feelings!

From the creator of Sasaki and Miyano— the story of Miyano’s bad boy senpai and his BL life with his roommate!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Based on the novel of the same name, “Hirano and Kagiura Vol. 1” is a story between two roommates who may just become something more if either of them can muster up the courage to tell the other one how they feel. Akira is the younger of the two. Smart and athletic, he plays on the basketball team for his school and is as friendly as can be. His roommate is Taiga, who gives off a ‘bad boy’ persona who acts tough and bleaches his hair…yet underneath all that, he is a nice boy who takes the time to wake Akira up every morning and see him play at most of his basketball games and practices.

In short, despite the fact that the two have different personalities, they get along so perfectly that their becoming a couple is a forgone conclusion. It is Akira who first decides that he will marry Taiga, no matter what that may take. The only problem is that Akira is rather shy in this regard, and so he reaches out to one of his friends for advice on what to do. This friend also has a crush on a boy he likes, and the two become personal cheerleaders for one another. Otherwise, there is no other cast member to speak of. I checked the back of the book and the ‘Character Bios’ section lists a total of four characters.

While more characters may be introduced at some point in the future, for the most part, the world presented in this volume feels rather empty, as if these four people are the only ones who inhabit it. When other people are in the scene they tend to be far in the background, blurry, and their facial features are never shown. In some ways, it gives the art a dreamlike quality, but there is no real sense that they live in a real-world of any kind. Everything feels like it plays out in a dream, in which there are no problems to consider other than the basketball game and who’s going to confess their feelings first.

In Summary:
Having not read a lot of BL manga before, I will admit that I like the premise of the story and the two main leads have good personalities, which makes it easy to root for them. At the moment my major problem is the fact that they don’t seem to live in the real world. I understand that this is a fantasy, but romances tend to work best when there is an element of the outside world being an obstacle. Whether that be a career, a school test, conflicting romantic interests, or even a parent who doesn’t want to accept that their kid is gay, these are the conflicts that transform cute romance stories into substantial ones.

So far, there is nothing to suggest the world will be very expansive (the book itself is roughly 70 pages shorter than the average manga I review), and for me, this doesn’t lend itself to an especially engaging story. I can understand that if you just want something easy to read (we all like a little pure sugar once in a while) then “Hirano and Kagiura” is a pleasant enough read on those terms. Those who are looking for a love story with more substance are unlikely to find any meat here though.

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

Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: November 22nd, 2022
MSRP: $13.00

This review was done with a review copy provided by the publisher. We are grateful for their continued support.

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