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Koukou Debut
by celinae on February 20th, 2009, 1:52pm

Rating - 9.6 / 10.0

User rating of this review - N/A out of 5
Story/Plot - 4 out of 5
Characters - 5 out of 5
Drawing Style - 5 out of 5
Enjoyment - 5 out of 5
Overall - 5 out of 5

Click here for series information

Note: I tried really hard not to spoil too much, so if my explanations are vague, that's why. xD


Last night I was looking for something to kill time, and since Koukou Debut had recently been completely scanlated, I decided to try reading it. Prior to that point I had read the beginning of the manga several times, but due to various circumstances I never managed to get up to the current chapters (I forget what they were, but it doesn't matter, anyway. xD).

I decided to write this review after reading the comments on KKD's page, because many of them, in my opinion, didn't do the series justice. I think that, for the most part, you can't expect shoujo to be just like life, especially shoujo published in popular magazines. I have a feeling that the manga in those magazines are often chosen and crafted to fit certain formulas and cliches: a protagonist female who is either tomboyish or girly, and usually is dense and/or misunderstood; a guy who is clearly handsome and falls in the protagonist; and various obstacles that are designed to tear the couple apart but only bring them closer. (etc. I'm sure you all have noticed trends.)

I'm not going to say that Koukou Debut doesn't have any of that, because it does. But unlike some of the stories I've tried to read, it has integrity. Kawahara-sensei definitely tries to challenge stereotypes a little. Haruna, for example, falls in love with someone who ends up having a girlfriend, and Kawahara-sensei doesn't just brush off her recovery process. As for smut? lol. I am so thankful this isn't a manga where the guy ends up being super-experienced and a slight player, practically molesting the girl (while the girl just lies back passively ...). The scenes with kissing (and a little! making out) were fun to read, though. Actually, don't let me make you think that this isn't romantic, because it certainly is. Pretty much the entire manga focused on the development of the main couple's relationship, but you know what?

On the whole, it wasn't that bad. I really liked reading it. The manga had a pretty refreshing attitude towards love. It definitely wasn't like, OH MY GOD YOU ARE MY LIFE, MY SOLE REASON TO EXIST. Which was great because I'm sick of that kind of stuff. XD

And yet the whole time, you didn't doubt the depth of affection and feeling they had for each other. They just worked so well as a couple--both caring of others (though Haruna definitely at times a little overboard xD) and hardworking. I have to say that the guy definitely was a little too perfect, imo. The relationship worked out so well that at times I was sort of thinking, wow, if only real life were like this. If only *I* could find a guy that perfect in high school, right? And so caring! And so thoughtful! Sure, they were a little awkward, but it was so cute!

I guess in that respect this manga was definitely a feel-good series. I had perhaps a guilty pleasure in reading the various demonstrations of their love. As a girl who has never had a boyfriend, it was comforting to read about the growth of their feelings. It was almost inspirational how despite being what some would consider non-girlfriend material, Haruna managed to get a boyfriend and have a really fulfilling relationship with him. (For the record, I have always been irritated by mangas that start off with "I AM SIXTEEN YEARS OLD AND HAVE NOT HAD A BOYFRIEND OMG MY LIFE IS SO DULL--MUST---FIND---MAAAAN.") And while Koukou Debut started off a little like that, lol, it managed to avoid the obvious and instead deliver unexpected plot twists, like Yoh becoming Haruna's love coach. XD

Well, now that I've said the majority of what I wanted to say, let's go back to a normal review format, shall we?

Characters
Yes, to some extent, the characters are a little cliched. Haruna is definitely dense, like 70% of shoujo heroines out there... and yet, at the same time, I really liked her. I guess it was the way it started out; I envisioned myself in her place, and started emphasizing. There are traits about Haruna that I wish I could have myself, like her selflessness, her very forgiving nature, her intense work ethic--and traits that I see in myself, like her awkwardness, her propensity to freak out about things and misunderstand, and her optimism. All in all, that made reading about her interesting. I guess it was because she turned into a 3D character for me.

The same thing happened to a lot of other characters. They, quite simply, turned real. Even with the cliche bits, they stood out, being both predictable and unpredictable.

I really, really ended up liking Asaoka (SPOILER: that one part where he tells his true feelings but Haruna doesn't believe him OMG THAT WAS SO SAD ;;;____;;;wink /endspoiler

Drawing Style
The drawing style is nice. Not particularly stand out, and reminiscent of Nakahara-sensei (of Lovely Complex fame), but still good at conveying emotion and action. smile

Enjoyment & Overall

After reading it, I think it's one of my favorite recent, relatively long shoujo. One day I'll definitely read it again. smile And I definitely recommend it if you like a good and sweet romance, with tinges of realism. smile
 
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