Although Koharu is a little taller than the average person. She's a 15-year-old girl who lives a much simpler life than the average person. Having no experience with love, she thought she'd spend her days peacefully with her group of ordinary friends. However, a destined encounter will change Koharu...!!
Since no one has written a review for what has been one of my most enjoyable reads in recent years, I thought I'd give a stab at it.
To cover some surface points quickly, Ozaki Akira's art is visually pleasing and perfectly suited to the plot. Haru x Kiyo is a genuinely hilarious series, and Ozaki's art and paneling skillfully deliver the jokes.
And now to the main reason I wrote this:
The reason Haru x Kiyo holds a special place in my heart is because it has a solid center.
While I could nitpick and point out a couple of characters (the older brother and the chibi
girl, for those who have read it) are drawn out needlessly for drama, I was hardly ever bothered by it because Koharu and Kiyoshiro handled their relationship so well.
To put it simply, Koharu and Kiyoshiro love, respect and trust each other. Which is an easy thing to say, but a much harder thing to stand by in a shoujo series. But Ozaki-sensei does it so skillfully you're left wondering why other series have such a difficult time of it. Not once does one accuse the other of cheating because of being caught in a bad situation, not once does one not apologize when a situation goes awry.
Through every conflict, Koharu and Kiyoshiro treasure each other and that holds the chaotic cast and plot together.
This is a laugh-out-loud kind of shoujo manga. It took me several chapters to adjust to the art style; how could you write a successful shoujo manga with two such unfashionable leads? The girl is an endless fount of ghastly expressions and the diminutive stature of her male counterpart is visually disconcerting. Furthermore, I would say that the first 10 chapters have irregular pacing and confusing character development. Given all this criticism, why would I rate this series as an 8 so far?
This mangaka has certain storytelling/artistic skills, and they MILK IT.
Although the leads are not "beautiful" in the traditional shoujo sense (you
only get a flowery glimpse of the female lead once every 4 or so chapters, and the male lead's handsome face--his only handsome feature, by the way--is only occasionally given some accompanying romantic action), the art style is bold and crisp! There's no wonky proportions, excluding the deliberate size difference, and the panels that purely focus on artwork are of the highest quality.
I'm talking "freeze-frames" here.
This mangaka slays freeze-frames.
The expressions of shock/happiness/disbelief/etc. found in the silent panels of this manga have elicited the most genuine laughs from me, and I will always give credit to the author when that happens. This is really the top benefit I want to drive home. Get some laughs!
But on a side note, this manga is, from my knowledge, fairly accurate about mismatched couples. My close friend in college was fully 6 feet tall and completely filled out, much like the heroine of this manga. She was also dating a guy who, while not shorter, was certainly on the slimmer side and gave the impression of "smaller." She also had little dating experience, and the awkward, fumbling manner of dating between mismatched physiques oftentimes resembled the depiction found in this series.
My friend also sported some irregular bangs at one point, so that's a fun coincidence.