Hana-Kimi, Vol. 1 is a book that has sat on my bookshelf untouched for longer than I care to admit. I find that I have to be in the right frame of mind to began a new manga series, mostly because I like my shojo romances totally opposite than my usual reads—cheesy, unrealistic with lots of fluff. It’s a guilty pleasure that I discovered in middle school, and I just can’t help snatching up a cute looking manga when it comes my way. Hana-Kimi, Vol. 1 did not disappoint in the cheese department and so I unsurprisingly became enamored with the story fairly quickly.
Mizuki Ashiya moves from the U.S. to Japan to follow her dream of going to the same school with her high jumper idol, Izumi Sano. There’s just one small hitch in her plan: Sano goes to Osaka High Private School – an all boys school! Mizuki won’t let that detail stop her befriending her obsession idol; she cuts off all her hair and disguises herself as a boy! When she finally arrives, she learns that not only will she be going to school with her stalkee idol, she’ll be rooming with him too!
Okay, so it’s more than a little creepy for a girl to go to such drastic lengths to meet her “celebrity” crush, and typically, this sort of obsessive behavior would totally turn me off. But for some reason, it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of this book at all. She’s just so upfront about her reason for going to so much trouble and freely admits that she came all this way to meet him, it’s hard not to enjoy that kind of straightforward honestly. Plus, it’s super hard not to fall in love with all the characters. Here’s why:
~ Mizuki Ashiya is super naive and not all that smart when it comes to boys or their feelings in regards to her. She sees the best in people she’s ridiculously slow to figure things out. This causes her to walk into some weird, wacky, but ultimately entertaining situations. But what she doesn’t have in worldly knowledge (or common sense for that matter), she makes up in enthusiasm, loyalty to her friends, and eagerness to lend a helping hand—even when they really don’t want it. And she’s so humble it’s almost a weakness.
~ At first, Izumi Sano seems like a cold, standoffish dude, but the more I learned about him, the more I realized that he’s a kind and caring friend. He appears aloof, but he’s actually just private and closed in about his feelings. He’ll go to any lengths to keep his friends out of trouble, but he’s just quiet about it. He also falls asleep in weird and unusual positions and reminds me a bit of Kiri Koshiba in Beauty Pop.
It took me a bit more time to truly fall for his character, but fall in love I did.
~ Shuichi Nakatsu is a character that I knew I would enjoy from his very first appearance in Hana-Kimi. He’s goofy, loud, enthusiastic, and positive. He’s a person who has a hard time hiding his feelings so he comes off as a guy with a flair for the dramatic. He makes for an entertaining read, because when you add in his infatuation for Mizuki and his inability to see personal boundaries around people he cares about, well… he’s a funny guy to have around. You guys know I love a goofball, so Nakatsu swiftly became a favorite of mine.
~ Minami Namba is the resident advisor (RA) for Dorm 2, the dorm building that Mizuki and her friends reside in. He’s nephew to Dr. Umeda and shares the pervy gene is known as a womanizer. He takes to Mizuki quickly, which causes some tension later on.
~ Yujiro is dorm 2’s canine companion whom quickly takes to Mizuki (he likes girls). Even though he’s considered Dorm 2’s “mascot” he’s mostly tended by Sano and Mizuki.
The quirky and fun characters of Hana-Kimi are what makes this series so much fun. I had a great time meeting them in this book, and as the series moves on, they grow more important to the plot.
Though I loved Hana-Kimi, it isn’t without flaws. There’s all those major plot holes that makes the book unrealistic (not including the entire plot). How the hell does Mizuki even get accepted into an all boy’s school with her parents in the dark about it being boys-only and without the school knowing? I don’t know how it works in Japan, but there are so many health forms, birth certificates, immunization records, etc. that go into enrolling for school these days, I’m not sure how she could possibly get past those.
This book was cheesy, unrealistic, and pretty pretty stereotypical when it comes to shojo romances, but I still wound up loving it. I can’t help myself—these kinds of manga are my guilty pleasure. I enjoyed Hana-Kimi, Vol. 1 so much that the very next day I went to the used bookstore and bought every book they had in the series. I recommend this book to those shojo romance fans that don’t mind fluff as long as they come with a healthy helping of awwwwhs and adorable characters!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge
- 2016 New to You Reading Challenge
- 2016 Reading Bingo Challenge