A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow Vol. 2 by Makoto Hagino {Manga Review}

A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow by Matoko Hagino (Tropical Fish #2)

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: February 11, 2020

Pages: 192

Available Through The Book Depository: A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow Vol. 2

Summary: From the moment they met at the Aquarium Club’s open house, Konatsu has admired Koyuki and treated her like she wasn’t a distant figure on a pedestal. In turn, Koyuki has been open and welcoming to the new girl who stirs her heart.

When the time comes to pick a club, Konatsu chooses the Aquarium Club with Koyuki. And even though it’s just the two of them, they manage to host a successful open house. What’s next for Koyuki and Konatsu, now that the shared experience has deepened the bond between them?

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow Vol. 2 follows Konatsu and Koyuki as the story builds on their wholesome friendship and navigates their introspective feelings as they continue to deepen their bond! This character-driven, page-turning story is propelled by the girls start to summer vacation with much on their minds. A quiet, slice-of-life manga sure to captivate!

Without a doubt after falling completely in love with Tropical Fish Vol. 1 I had to continue this series! There’s a poetic beauty to it as new girl in town Konatsu and aquarium club leader Koyuki find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other, like a wave upon a shore. They both are navigating this underlying loneliness, their feelings for one another and in this volume, keep each other in their thoughts.

As the aquarium open house comes to a close, Konatsu worries about her well-being as Koyuki, in reality, is trying to keep her feelings hidden. Konatsu, in her pursuit to help during the open house, is told from Koyuki’s father that the best she can do is just be there for her (the frog/salamander bread scene was too wholesome).

Unsure of how to communicate her complex feelings about Konatsu, Koyuki seems to struggle to further strengthen their friendship in the beginning, which leads to some moments of miscommunication between them. However, Koyuki takes the chance to invite Konatsu during their summer break to Aoshima (aka Nekojima / Cat Island) for a club trip, with much anxiety about asking for her number too! That led to this very funny line that I just have to share from Konatsu: “I’d call her anytime…but I don’t actually know her number!!!” (52).

During the trip, they go fishing, get caught in the rain, have some longing glances, and run into lots of cats! It was a very sweet chapter seeing them together and it just warmed my heart. I was very much just along for the ride in this volume and loved how every moment they have together (or apart), carries so much depth to each scene.

As the Summer Festival approaches, Koyuki struggles with the guilt of trying to ask Konatsu while not wanting to be unfair to those she turned down before. This leads to her assuming that because Konatsu and Kaede hung out, she’s no longer available. Although this volume leaned towards some miscommunication, this series adds more to it by navigating their girls reflections or inner dialogue as their feelings drive a particular scene.

Kaede is another character who gets a little more development too which I loved! In fact, I adore this main girl squad and can’t wait to see their friendship continue to grow. She’s very bubbly, outgoing, a bit blunt at times, however she’s always there to lend an ear. When Konatsu can’t stop thinking about Koyuki during their afternoon together, Kaede steps in to offer advice as Konatsu expresses she feels like she’s annoying Koyuki with her texts. Kaede is incredibly supportive, taking her right to Koykui’s house to solve it.

Once everything is cleared up, Koykui and Konatsu agree to go together (with both their dads joining too). But one scene that further presented the loneliness the girls are navigating throughout the series was when Koyuki shares that she admires Konatsu’s strength. However, Konatsu begins to sink back into that quiet, empty space thinking their isn’t anything particularly special about herself. As the two of them get split up because of an upcoming fireworks display, Konatsu can’t get a certain question off her mind: Why did Koyuki speak to Konatsu randomly at the open house the day they met? [More context is given early on in this volume, but seeing that come full circle finally in the end was nice and I’m hoping Koyuki will finally say (or even hint) at how she feels].

Hagino’s quiet, slice of life atmosphere really gives a calm, simplicity to the series that’s also very thought-provoking too. It’s seen especially in the personal moments that Koyuki or Konatsu reflect on their feelings or internal loneliness.

As with the first volume, I just love the artwork and how it really allows those quiet moments to stay with the reader through every page. The frog/salamander symbolism makes a return, but it’s definitely a little more in the background as the metaphorical elements are more hinted at throughout this volume. Honestly, every close scene they have together is very emotional, moving, and I just can’t wait to see their relationship develop throughout the series (though I’ve seen that it is *very slowburn).

There’s nothing I didn’t like about this volume honestly, it’s more about the plot and it just feels like a 4.5 rating! Although, this series has truly captured my heart and made a mess of my life only two volumes in, Koyuki and Konatsu are just very much in need of some hugs!! ❤

A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow is a fantastic, but also underrated manga series with lots of depth, two very complex protagonists, and a slow-burn romance that will keep you reading! As Koyuki and Konatsu spend more time together, they continue to navigate their feelings for each other! An absolute gem of a manga series!

A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow Vol. 1 by Makoto Hagino {Manga Review}

A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow Vol. 1 by Makoto Hagino

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: November 12, 2019

Pages: 192

Available Through The Book Depository: A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow Volume 1

Summary: When her dad gets a job overseas, Konatsu Amano has to leave the Tokyo life she’s always known and relocate to a small seaside town to stay with her aunt. The move also means starting a new school surrounded by complete strangers, and it’s a lot to handle for a girl who has trouble with change. But on her first day in her new town, Konatsu is instantly drawn to Koyuki, an older girl who is the sole member of the Aquarium Club. Konatsu’s introverted tendencies are hard for her to overcome, but maybe she’s found something worth coming out of her shell for?

Konatsu is doing her best to adapt to her new school, but being required to join a club has introduced additional pressures. Her friendly classmate Kaede invites her to join the Home Ec Club, but Konatsu hasn’t even had time to consider which club she’s interested in. Meanwhile, Koyuki is like a ray of sunshine in Konatsu’s cloudy world. Will Konatsu join the Aquarium Club?

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow is a charming, slice-of-life manga debut that follows the bond between two girls who go to the same school in a seaside town! Their instant connection makes for a wholesome, sweet story as the relationship grows with each page! Featuring much SLOWBURN and YEARNING, this is a fantastic start to a new series!

A quiet, seaside town, a chance encounter at a school aquarium, and two girls who are in their own ways…lonely. This is the beginning of A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow, easily one of my new favorite manga series!!

Konatsu Amano moves to Nagahama to live with her aunt after her father gets a job overseas. However, Konatsu can’t let go of this loneliness that’s buried within her. But, when she sees her new high school with an open house for its aquarium, she finds herself instantly drawn to Koyuki Honatsu, the club’s leader and only member.

There’s a comforting, almost delicate, gentle bond that forms between these two girls and that exact feeling unfurls throughout the various layers of this story from its art style, character dynamics, themes, and underlying romance. It’s beautiful & although it seems like a very simple story, Hagino’s masterful execution is anything but that.

As Konatsu tries to drift among the current of her new life at school, she can’t help but feel those tides shift whenever she sees or hears about Koyuki! There’s such intense emotion that’s woven throughout the entirety of this first volume and it’s in a way, poetic?

The reader is left with a sense of melancholy, but also bountiful feeling of joy seeing these two girls continue to bond and navigate the emotions they feel for each other.

As each student is required to join a club, Konatsu wonders whether joining Koyuki’s Aquarium Club is a good idea (with her feelings for Koyuki only continuing to build) as her other classmate Hirose, recommends the Home Ec. club. The author brilliantly delves into the inner complexities of our heroines, the complicated emotions they have for one another, and the underlying sense of loneliness.

Konatsu instantly finds a friend in Hirose, the bubbly, extroverted classmate who gets her to see the aquarium in the first place! She’s just a really fun character and seeing Konatsu’s inner conflict with wondering whether to accept or decline her offer to join Hirose in the Home Ec club turned out to be very funny. I can’t wait to see all 3 of these girls bond even more over the next volumes!

Hagino builds such a fascinating, unique slice-of-life school atmosphere through Nanahama High School, not only through its minimal details, but also by emphasizing the importance of clubs! The inclusion of having club involvement be mandatory for students just added to the distinct atmosphere of Nanahama.

Now the ROMANCE is very slowburn, but also achingly soft and sweet. The tiniest moments really capture an entire scene whether its small hand holds, sharing food, or just the longing gazes. This SAPPHIC romance has really gone under the radar and hopefully my review inspires you to pick up this series!

There’s such wonderful imagery and metaphors woven throughout Vol. 1, especially when it comes to salamanders, which becomes the foundation for the girls’ dynamic! Masuji Ibuse’s “Salamander” to a salamander in the aquarium club from the very first pages, even to Konatsu calling it by Koyuki’s name, represents the desire for these two to escape the cold, loneliness they feel.

At its heart, its such a beautiful message about the two allowing each other to escape when they feel trapped and isolated. Though Koyuki feels more of a weight from expectations from those around her and in turn, she never really feels understood. All the details about marine life are beautifully woven in as well, very much looking forward to see how the author develops it!

One of my favorite moments between them was on page 36 when the aquatic background takes over the scene as they hold hands at the beach! We see how much Konatsu and Koyuki mean to each other with every moment their on page together (or even just thinking about one another), its very cute!! ❤

The budding relationship between Konatsu and Koyuki is not only delicate and gentle, but also brilliantly captivating in how it navigates emotion, yearning, just…all those layered feelings!

Story-wise although its definitely slower-paced, its very character-driven, which in turn draws you into all these other captivating elements of the story because of how wonderfully developed they are. The writing is also very good and I can count many beautiful lines that show the deep, inner feelings the girls had for each other.

The artwork is wonderful, allowing for a slow, introspective view of the story. Its in the detail of the characters, expressions, alongside the backgrounds, that bring so much to each scene. The inclusion of the aquatic elements like the ocean, marine animals, etc., all add to that special world that these two have carved for themselves and its really beautiful. I’d even say through moments where the animals around them seem more animated or a salamander appears on their shoulders/near by, uses an element of magical realism/fabulism to convey the importance of their inner voices.

If you take anything away from this review, its that you should definitely pick up this series and get carried away by its remarkable story! Tropical Fish has easily become one of my new favorite manga series, Konatsu and Koyuki have captured my heart!!

Despite the 4.5 star rating, this is a 5-star series ABSOLUTELY!! I think its just wanting a bit more to our characters in this first volume, but despite that I adored it so much!

A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow is a fantastic yuri manga series filled with a slow-burn, heartwarming romance, wonderful main heroines, unique school setting, gorgeous symbolism, and an immersive story you won’t be able to put down!

Spy X Family Vol. 2 by Tatsuya Endo {Manga Review}

Spy X Family Vol. 2 by Tatsuya Endo (Spy X Family #2)

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Available Through The Book Depository: Spy X Family Volume 2

Summary: Master spy Twilight is unparalleled when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions for the betterment of the world. But when he receives the ultimate assignment—to get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head!

Twilight must infiltrate the prestigious Eden Academy to get close to his target Donovan Desmond, but has he ruined his daughter Anya’s chances with his outburst during the admissions interview? Perhaps the truly impossible mission this time is making sure Anya both becomes an exemplary student and befriends Donovan’s arrogant son Damian! 

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Spy X Family is one of the most brilliant manga debuts of 2020! This dark, comedic, entertaining series follows a FAKE FAMILY consisting of a spy, telepath, and assassin that each have their own secrets! The mission continues as the Forger family gets a coveted spot in a prestigious academy! This dynamic, action-packed series is propelled by clever humor, phenomenal storytelling, and a stellar cast of characters!

Twilight has been tasked with creating a fake family as part of an elaborate mission to keep the unsteady truce between neighboring countries Westalis and Ostania! Now, his family includes himself (a master spy), but also a telepath daughter and assassin wife! However, each has continued to keep their identities a secret from each other.

This volume follows Anya’s entrance into Eden Academy as the Forgers continue to adjust in their roles as a found family. However, as Loid (Twilight) does his best to carry on the mission in the background he quickly realizes his next step to get closer to his target means Anya will have to befriend his spoiled son Damian!

The plot allows for introductions to some new characters (Damian, Handler, + Yuri) and hilarious hijinks for the Forger family! The comedy brilliantly woven throughout this series makes for so many unexpected plot points you never see coming. There’s mystery, action, high stakes and tons of humor, you won’t be able to put this book down.

While Anya tries adjust to school, she not only wants to do her best for her family, but also continues to use her telepathy (and fighting skills she learned from Yor) to survive the first few days. Its so wonderful seeing Anya make a new friend, Becky and one of the funniest side plots was seeing Loid go undercover to get Anya to apologize to Damian once it was clear they didn’t get along in the beginning, for the sake of the mission. Very interested in seeing the Anya, Becky and Damian dynamic in future volumes too!

While Yor wasn’t given as much page-time this volume, I utterly adored every moment she was in. Seeing her unwavering support to Anya and Loid was so beautiful to read, in fact here was one of my favorite lines between them in Volume 2: “You’re being a wonderful father to that girl…But again, what do I know? It’s not exactly my place”…(Loid): “No Yor. It’s exactly your place…I rely on you to be everything I am not…” (120-121).

Also, seeing Yor beat up a group of people trying to hurt Anya, then teaching her how to fight was a highlight of this volume tbh, especially since early on in the volume Yor talks about wanting to continue being a good mother to mind-reader Anya.

The stakes heighten in different ways, which mixed together with the perfectly-timed comedic moments, make this manga not only entertaining but leave you on the edge of your seat as you continue to immerse yourself in the Forger’s chaotic lives!

Twilight, Anya, and Yor have captured my heart just 2 volumes in, I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! 💕

As with the first volume, the espionage motifs and references continue to build such a distinct atmosphere and world throughout this series. From the telephone booth transport, Twilight’s disguises, and a hilarious moment about overspending the operations budget, its so easy to immerse yourself in this intriguing, captivating world!

The artwork continues to be detailed, making each character and their motives distinct. From the action to the setting, characters, etc., it really builds on the exaggeration, humor, and tone perfectly crafted to match each panel.

There’s just something that’s keeping this series at a 4 for me, but rating aside this series is utterly BRILLIANT and you should read it while it still only has a couple volumes. As I’m sure many other Spy X Family readers can predict, this series will continue to get better and better, I just know it!

Spy X Family Vol. 2 is a stellar sequel that reunites readers with the hilarious hijinks of the Forger family! The dynamic cast of characters, fantastic artwork, witty humor, and page-turning story are just some of the many reasons you should hop on the bandwagon while its still in its first volumes! This series succeeds in so many ways and you don’t want to miss it!

I’m also planning some manga recommendation lists, so keep an eye out for those during the next few months! 😌💞

Spy X Family Vol. 1 by Tatsuya Endo {Manga Review}

Spy X Family Vol. 1 by Tatsuya EndoSpy X Family Vol. 1 by Tatsuya Endo (Spy X Family #1)

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Pages: 220

Available Through The Book Depository: Spy X Family Volume 1

Summary: Master spy Twilight is the best at what he does when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions in the name of a better world. But when he receives the ultimate impossible assignment—get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head!

Not one to depend on others, Twilight has his work cut out for him procuring both a wife and a child for his mission to infiltrate an elite private school. What he doesn’t know is that the wife he’s chosen is an assassin and the child he’s adopted is a telepath!

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Spy X Family is a debut spy-comedy manga series that’s action-packed and has top tier tropes! Dark, entertaining, and thrilling start to finish! Endo’s manga delivers humor, espionage, and a bit of sci-fi layered in a dynamic story that is the literal definition of FOUND FAMILY!

The neighboring countries of Westalis and Ostania are on the verge of war. In order to prevent any threat to the already unsteady truce between them, mastermind spy Twilight is put on the case!

He is tasked with gathering intel on a political figure named Donovan Desmond, so Twilight’ll need to infiltrate a prestigious academy where he’s usually seen but to do that he needs to create a family: which means he has to find a daughter and wife!

The atmosphere and presentation of the story is reminiscent of the 50’s/60’s spy and noir films. From the heightened stakes of the mission, to clever 007 references, ‘Spy Wars’ tv show, even the characters fashion choices.

Twilight heads to a local orphanage where he finds Anya and as it turns out, she’s a telepath. Even though both are keeping secrets from each other, their dynamic is still so fun and wholesome (especially in the endearing moments they have together 🥺).

As Anya gets entrenched in Twilight’s life as a spy, Yor is undercover as a city clerk by day and assassin by night. Soon due to beneficial circumstances, Yor joins Twilight and the “Forger” family is ready to become the perfect family.

If you love plot-heavy manga, this is a perfect series! There’s different plot threads, characters, and mysteries that make Spy X Family a debut filled to the brim with a page-turning story.

Twilight, Anya, and Yor each have their own unique backstories and I can’t wait to learn more about them! Twilight’s and Anya’s pasts were the more emotionally impactful ones as we get a brief glimpse into his childhood where he’s crying and surrounded by debris. While Anya is a former test subject who lost her family. Then with Yor, there’s a deep sense of melancholy due to the societal ideals that constantly pressure her (like finding a husband or being deemed ‘suspicious’ at her age) whether from co-workers or family, so I LOVED how that juxtaposes her independent role as a ruthless assassin.

What I love about this first volume as it sets up Twilight’s main mission is how they are essentially critiquing and challenging this idea of the “nuclear family.”  It makes sense given the era / aesthetics the series is laying out, even as it comments on gender roles and this society’s expectation for women (seen from Yor’s pov). The manga also comments on this idea of class as these misfits con their way into the prestigious Eden Academy.

So now a spy, a telepath, and assassin are living together! And each has their own secrets! Where can it go from here? What Spy X Family executes spectacularly is the central layer of humor that’s present throughout this entire volume and no doubt, the rest of the series! Anya with her mind reading abilities is rightfully confused about all the things she’s hearing from her new parents and those around her, making for great comedic timing! From the quick one-panel jokes to certain character personalities, its clear that the series has a brilliant approach to its comedy! The situations and reactions the characters have is entertaining and reminds me a lot of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun.

Now remember when I said this debut has top-tier tropes? Well here’s what you can expect: Found family (obviously), marriage of convenience, misfits working together!! Need I say more?!

The art-style joins perfectly with the panel design/layout! Its detailed in the characters, setting, and with each panel specific details are highlighted to bring more into each scene. Action scenes are accompanied by phenomenal linework and were some of my favorites that I’ve seen in contemporary manga. Its exaggerated to showcase the intensity of the particular scene or an emotion and overall there’s not a single page that feels underutilized. There’s blood, some violence, and the art balances it perfectly with the lighthearted and comforting family moments.

My only issue is that I still felt the world (while interesting), is something were kind of thrust into at the very beginning. While the espionage motifs are great for atmosphere, it still feels like Westalis is a country I’m still trying to fully immerse myself in.

Overall though, I can’t wait to continue with this series because I adore this misfit family a lot and I’m really interested in learning more about them and how their mission is going to continue playing out!

Spy X Family Vol. 1 is a phenomenal start to a spy, action, comedy manga series that you don’t want to miss! There’s a brilliant cast of characters, clever comedic timing, and a unique page-turning story you will not be able to put down!

I’m also shouting out a fellow book blogger review today! 🔎🎉

For a more in-depth look into the aesthetics, artwork and characters of this manga I recommend reading Yon Nyan’s review from Biblionyan. For a look into the great artwork, Yon’s review includes some panels. I have yet to read more of Yon’s posts, but its clear Yon has a lot of great knowledge of manga that makes it into the review and if you need anymore convincing to check out this debut, read this review! ✨

The Promised Neverland Vol. 1 by Kaiu Shirai & Posuka Demizu {Manga Review}

The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka DemizuThe Promised Neverland Vol. 1 by Kaiu Shirai (story) & Posuka Demizu (artist) (Promised Neverland #1) 

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: December 5, 2017

Pages: 192

Available Through The Book Depository: The Promised Neverland Vol. 1

Summary: Life at Grace Field House has been good for Emma and her fellow orphans. While the daily studying and exams they have to take are tough, their loving caretaker provides them with delicious foods and plenty of playtime. But perhaps not everything is as it seems…

Emma, Norman and Ray are the brightest kids at the Grace Field House orphanage. And under the care of the woman they refer to as “Mom,” all the kids have enjoyed a comfortable life. Good food, clean clothes and the perfect environment to learn—what more could an orphan ask for? One day, though, Emma and Norman uncover the dark truth of the outside world they are forbidden from seeing.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Promised Neverland Volume 1 is a promising start to an intriguing manga series! Following a unique cast of characters set in the Grace Field House Orphanage, things are not quite as they seem for Emma, Norman & Ray! With intrigue, mystery, & with both a great cast of characters & equally unique story, this first volume will have you turning the page, wondering what’ll happen next!

So after finishing The Promised Neverland, I was feeling so accomplished because this is the first book I’ve finished in a little over a week (which felt like so much longer, if I’m being honest 😭💔💔). I’m also happy that this delightful manga is getting me out of my reading slump!

I’ve also really been wanting to start this series because I’d heard so many positive and great things about it! After turning the last page of this first volume, I really can’t wait to see where the story is headed!

The Promised Neverland Volume 1 introduces the reader to the Grace Field House Orphanage where the main character Emma lives! She’s the oldest (11 years old) alongside Norman, Ray & a few others who are also her age! She lives a pretty normal and happy life with the other younger kids and “Mom”, their loving caretaker.

But, things take a surprising turn when a mystery begins unraveling after Conny, a girl at the orphanage who’s getting ready to see her new family, leaves her toy behind and Emma alongside Norman, try to get it to her. Though, leaving the orphanage at night is forbidden.

I don’t want to spoil too much about this volume because the way the story unravels, its best to go in without knowing too much! Though for me personally, that’s why I’m leaning more towards a 4-star rating! From my own personal expectations I was expecting a more quiet contemporary story (with light fantasy elements), but those were just my personal expectations & Promised Neverland really takes a different turn!

I will say that my favorite parts about this manga, aside from the phenomenal characters, intriguing story, & world-building, is the themes that are interwoven throughout this volume.

If you’ve read this series, I highly recommend checking out Jeannette Ng’s wonderful thread which delves into important themes & core elements of what makes Promised Neverland filled with “defiant hope.” Her thread also inspired a lot of the themes I found while reading it and want to further explain!

Intrigue and intellect are explored heavily throughout this first volume & mainly through the older orphans like Emma, Ray, & Norman. There’s moments where they find themselves tested and facing situations where you really see the depth of their character & to the point where its clear these characters are really thinking about what’s best for everyone instead of just themselves.

Their trying to formulate plans all while gathering intel, with the perfect amount of intrigue that keeps you guessing! I never knew where the story was headed and was worried for them when their plan became a little more complicated.

No matter what conflict Emma is faced with, even if it changes how she sees the world, there’s this thread of hope & positivity that is present throughout this first volume and its inspiring!

I loved the friendship between Emma and Norman! They complement each other really well and we see that through their conflicting personalities, where Emma is energetic and confident, Norman is strategic, quiet, & resourceful.

Alongside that, I just love seeing the dynamic between Emma, Ray & Norman when they all begin working together.

Each member of the trio is unique in their own way and you see that they each have their own abilities which seems to foreshadow a bit of what strength they’ll lend to the group as their plan continues to develop. Emma is not only energetic but incredibly athletic, Norman is brilliant & strategic, and Ray is quiet, very knowledgeable and observant.

Overall I found myself connecting to each character and found each one, no matter when they were introduced, to have quite a bit of depth and feel very well developed.

The setting itself was not what I was expecting: it mixes dystopia, a bit of sci-fi, but in a whimsical sort of way that I really enjoyed & was hoping for.

As for the art-style it was wonderfully detailed. The backgrounds, character designs, and pacing/development all flowed so well!

The Promised Neverland Vol. 1 is the start to a manga series both intriguing and mysterious! There’s a mix of sci-fi, dystopia, and mystery! The page-turning plot, dynamic cast of characters, and great artwork all come together in such a unique way! This manga series balances dark and hopeful, while also having intrigue, mystery, and so much more!

Takane & Hana Vol. 1 by Yuki Shiwasu {Manga Review}

Takane and Hana Volume 1 by Yuki ShiwasuTakane & Hana Vol. 1 by Yuki Shiwasu (Takane & Hana #1)

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Pages: 200

Available Through The Book Depository: Takane & Hana Volume 1

Summary: A strong-willed high school girl and a hot, young scion of a business empire can’t help trying to outwit each other every chance they get… But could these opposites be conning themselves out of the perfect match?!

After her older sister refuses to go to an arranged marriage meeting with Takane Saibara, the heir to a vast business fortune, high schooler Hana Nonomura agrees to be her stand-in to save face for the family. But what happens when Hana meets Takane is an unexpected pairing of utter opposites!

The meeting between Takane and Hana ends in an explosive manner, and Hana is convinced that she’ll never have to see that awful Takane again. But Takane actually seems interested in Hana! Exasperated by Takane’s immature attitude, yet amused and intrigued despite herself, Hana embarks on a hilarious journey with Takane that just might lead to love!

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Takane & Hana is an incredibly comedic manga series that follows high school student Hana Nonomura, who stands in for her sister as part of an arranged marriage to business heir to the Takaba Group, Takane Saibara and the comedic banter/ rivalry that develops between the two!

I originally learned about Takane & Hana through Goodreads as I was scrolling the new released manga and this one caught my eye! From the summary, it seemed like there’d be enemies to lovers and a lot of funny/comedic moments and I was not wrong!

If I was to sum up this manga in one word it would be: Entertaining!

Being on the verge of a reading slump isn’t fun, but this manga series was one I’m incredibly glad I picked up because its light, filled with humor, incredibly entertaining & absolutely hilarious!

Though I never know what to expect going into a new manga series, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have found yet another series that’s impressed me from page 1 and that I’m happy to say is a new favorite series!

With every page I was laughing at Takane & Hana’s non-stop enemies streak/rivalry they had going on and just seeing how these 2 dynamic main characters continuously interacted with each other!

The story starts with us learning that Hana’s older sister Yukari was originally going to be involved in the arranged marriage to Takane, but she had other plans (aka another date). So, in order to save her father’s position at the company, Hana decided to take her place!

When they first meet, things do not go as planned and we learn Takane is a bit of a jerk–& Hana is not putting up with it!

Takane, through his very brash personality, tells Hana he’s interested in her! Though they can’t really stand each other, sparks are definitely there.

Both Takane & Hana are characters with such strong & conflicting, but also similar personalities and that’s what makes their chemistry together so good!

Takane and Hana Vol. 1 chronicles their meeting, hangouts together as their “relationship” continues, among various other plot threads–mainly involving Hana & the people in her life, like her father & sister Yukari (briefly) and her best friends/school life!

What makes this series so funny is Hana & Takane obviously are trying to out-wit one another, avoid each other as much as possible, and have the upper-hand when it comes to their banter, but something keeps them coming back to each other!

I love how them being in different economic classes made for a lot of the comedic moments in this story and how in general, its a relevant and present discussion to their relationship.

As the story progresses we begin to see Takane isn’t exactly the heartless person he appears to be. It was great seeing the little moments throughout their hangouts (*like the bowling date) when Hana would notice Takane’s strides to make more of an effort to be a nicer person and be willing to try new things!

Takane & Hana made me realize just how much I love the “can’t stand one another, but secretly love each other” Trope! Every scene they have together, even if their just thinking about each other just showed how much chemistry they had & I loved seeing their interactions so much.

We also see that even though they despise each other, Shiwasu just brings such a comedic and interesting dynamic to the both of them where I never know how they’ll react to each other next!

All the supporting characters are all really well developed and bring even more humor & heart to this story! From Hana’s friends Hikaruko & Mizuki, her sister Yukari, Takane’s grandfather, & one of Hana’s classmates who seems to be like a more important character in future volumes!

The art is so expressive and detailed! It reminded me a lot of Monthly Girls-Nozaki with the expressive faces and detail to the characters! I also love how detailed the backgrounds were.

Though it is a contemporary, I found the setting and atmosphere to be very present within this volume and seeing how it explored Japan through Takane & Hana’s different backgrounds.

*I will admit that though this series is so funny & the chemistry between these characters is very good, there is a bit of an age gap between them!* (10 years) With Hana being 16 & Takane being 26–though truly it doesn’t read that way b/c Takane seems to act like somewhat of an immature guy & not his age at all. This was something I wasn’t expecting, however, the age difference is discussed at various points and is never romanticized. This element is why I’m honestly very conflicted with this review– now, I don’t condone/overlook it, but in a general sense if you can see past that to see the characters for who they are + are looking for a hilarious  manga–this is one I think would be enjoyable. The dynamic between the two also seems to walk more towards finding trust as friends? *

Regardless though, this was a hilarious manga & I can’t wait to see whats next with Takane & Hana’s interesting dynamic!

Takane & Hana Vol. 1 is a brilliantly character-driven, entertaining manga that will keep you laughing! The wonderfully developed characters, dynamic between the 2 leads, and immersive plot are just some of the many elements that keeps you turning the page! This is a romantic-comedy manga series worth checking out!