Childhood friends Wakatake and Kagetora meet again after not seeing each other for more than 10 years.
Wakatake is a boy who takes his studies extremely serious, as he is to take over the medical clinic of his parents one day. Kagetora is an impulsive girl, who spends most of her time fighting outside on the streets, instead of the class room. Now that Kagetora decided to enter one of the most prestigious high schools of the country to pursue the love of her life, she needs Wakatake to help her to pass the entrance test...
Sakurasaku Syndrome was serialized in Shounen Rival until its discontinuance in June 2014 (2014-07). The remaining two chapters were published on Kodansha's Shin Zasshi Kenkyuujou website on August 19 and September 9.
The plot of this series is very straight forward - A guy is helping his estranged childhood friend by tutoring her to achieve a high enough score on her exams, so that she could go to the top high school in his city where the guy she loves attends, meanwhile holding romantic feelings for her.
So far, this manga has been great. The characterizations are near perfect and there is room for further development. In just six chapters, we come to understand the two main characters very well and we also understand their motives. The main character is very unsocial and sees anything aside from
achieving high grades as unnecessary, but due to interactions with his childhood friend who he hasn't spoken to in nearly 10 years, he begins to open up again and feel the joys and agonies of youth and an unrequited love. You can feel the main character's problem, because the love rival isn't some douchebag, but a sympathetic and hardworking individual who probably deserves good things as well, so you don't blame the main character for initially holding in his piece about the way he feels for the heroine. Speaking of side characters, there have been a few characters introduced and they're quite easy to understand, as well, like the caring teacher, the friendly girl, the concerned parents etc etc. As you can guess, this is a character driven series, and having good characters is an essential part -- something the mangaka has succeeded in creating.
If you read the first chapter, you'll know if you're going to like/dislike the characters, and you can decide whether this is a series for you.
As far as art goes, I'm very happy with it. There are instances where the mangaka makes the effort to draw the scenery and backgrounds, and he/she does a good job with it - a lot of detail in clothes, the sky, buildings and general background art. I say "he/she" because there is a mixed tone in this manga. The plot is shoujo-esque, but there is an undeniable seinen feel to it. This is not your average shounen romance series with a tsundere, a harem of girls or misunderstandings or any of the annoying crap you'd read in most shounen series.
This is a 9/10 from me, and I normally don't rate shounen manga this high. A definite candidate for my top recommendation list, and the best series I've read that's started in 2013. CHECK IT OUT!