During its early stage, it's hard to notice it. During its intermediate stage, it's still difficult to discern it. It hurts. It makes you cry. That's right—this is what you call "First Love." The most popular guy in the school falls in love for the first time in his life, let's see how this story unfolds!
Hatsu Haru is a shining jewel in the treasure chest of shoujo romances in a school setting. Though I’m possibly getting a bit ahead of myself given its newness (the first chapter released nary 10 days ago) I cannot help but be drawn to its novelty, its gaiety and its overall awesome-sauce-ness!
The plot starts off with our *gasp* male lead and protagonist Kai Ichinose enjoying a blissfully blessed high school life, filled with girls throwing themselves at him given his natural charm and good looks. He knows he’s got it, he wants to flaunt it, and no amount of scolding from his well meaning classmate
will convince him otherwise! Enter Takanashi with her boyshorts-under-her-short-skirt and knockout punches to dispense some much needed justice to Kai for breaking her good friend’s heart with his ladykiller ways. Without ruining too much of the story for you, the majority of chapter 1 revolved around the interactions between these two, a bit of background on their relationship and how Kai is constantly left reeling as he is unable to figure out Takanashi and just what makes her tick.
To say the art is good would be akin to me calling the first mango you bite into when summer starts satisfying. Yes it’s good, but it’s so much more than just clean, elegant lines or cute fluffy hairstyles! The expressions, the actions and gestures, the uniqueness of each character’s looks and how they correspond with their character traits and the laugh-out-loud reactions that Takanashi constantly bombards our hapless Kai with cement this title’s place in the archives under top ten shoujo titles you can read for the art alone.
Characters and dialogues are beyond reproach! Small thoughts and actions each character emotes make you giggle or guffaw depending upon the context, while the other character’s response in the adjacent panel may totally throw you! You’re constantly on the edge of your seat wondering what Kai will do next and how he’ll make his everyday existence as glorious as it once was. And while we all want our shoujo female leads to be strong and empowered ladies with healthy love lives and varied interests, we always make do with heroines who maybe don’t cry at the drop of a hat or those who retort once in a while with a snappy comeback. Well, settle no more folks! Here’s one heroine who fits the bill no matter how fastidious your standards for a shoujo heroine may be! She bats her eyelashes, she’s sweet and popular in class, she kicks butt when her friends are troubled and she takes initiative in her classroom just coz...! Heck she may even have the ability to walk on water, I don’t know, let’s wait for further chapters! All I know is, I’m in love with this girl, and want to read on if only to see her character be fleshed out further, bishounen be damned!
Overall, I have just read one chapter and I am impressed. Like capital I, capital M (and so on) in bold and underlines with neon signs pointing to it from all directions! I won't be greedy and say I want an anime version of this already or 18 volumes worth of their entire high school life charted out day by day, but I'm definitely wishing and praying that this title goes on serialisation for at least a couple of volumes!
You cannot afford to give this title a miss! Why? Coz it is just SOOO good. It's everything I've ever been looking for in a shoujo romance! It's light and refreshing, not soaked in melodrama, art is cute but clean, female lead can throw a punch but that's not her defining characteristic and the male lead... well let's just admire this title for making him the protagonist for once!!!
This is a shoujo manga that has a male lead as the protagonist, told from his point of view it deviates from the standard shoujo genre.
The story is not that unique though, a handsome misunderstood playboy boy falls in love with a not-so poor but feisty girl who tries to win her heart. But I am enjoying reading this, for me I think the best thing about this manga are the characters. They are all likable and the female lead though feisty is not overbearing nor annoying, her longtime one-sided crush is quite painful to see but she holds herself strong and is quite
tenacious. Her worst trait is probably her denseness that some are finding annoying that is causing all the drama in the story. Add in to the male lead always thinking ahead of himself and misunderstanding situations this is like the biggest flaw of this manga. The slow pace and drama-fueled story can annoy some but I'm fine with the developments that have been happening.
I find that it's the character development I'm seeing from the male lead that I like the most. He started from being a womanizing, superfluous male lead to a boy who is experiencing his first love that confuses him and tries to be more considerate to his crush. He is not the typical playboy male lead who acts like a jerk towards the female lead, even though yes he teases Riko quite a lot but he is more aware of her feelings. I like him a lot as the male lead.
The story doesn't lack in supporting characters with Kai's group of friends, they are all likable even though the height-difference couple is quite amusing to see. Taka is probably my favorite, he has this real mysterious aura that I can't wait to read more about his background story now that the focus is starting to be put on him more but I don't really like his possible love interest in the reporter girl.
This manga has potential be real good, right now I'm enjoying it a lot and I would recommend this to most shoujo readers that want to see something a bit different from the standard fluff of the genre.