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When Haruna Nagashima was in junior high her life consisted of playing softball and reading comics. But now that she's going to high school, Haruna decides to put all of her energy towards getting a boyfriend and having the high school romance of a lifetime. To help in her quest, she enlists cute upperclassman Yoh Komiyama to coach her as she eschews her jock tendencies and turns herself into the kind of girl who can catch a guy. Yoh agrees, with one catch: Haruna had better not fall for him!
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I posted a (non-intelligent) comment back in 2007, when I first read the series. Then I kept up with the scanlations until it was concluded a year ago.
I went back and re-read the whole series from the beginning last night. Now I can write an intelligent review without my thoughts being overtaken by how much I want to jump down Yoh's pants (not that I still don't want to).
This series is wonderful. It follows the typical shoujo premise very closely of the girl wanting to fall in love etc etc. So some of you might be wondering... geez, not a very original plot, so what is there to like about it?
The characters make up the whole series.
We lack the asshole player & cry-every-5-seconds-about-trivial-shit heroine. Yoh is a lady killer and gorgeous as hell (I want down his pants. RIGHT NOW), but he doesn't abuse that by picking up girls every other corner. Haruna is not the "i want to be pretty girl but really pretty in disguise". What I liked about it is that the author portrayed Haruna as a plain-looking girl from the very beginning until the VERY end. There was never a "hey, she's actually a hidden beauty!" aspect to Haruna.
In my opinion, this works best. Haruna is very similar to a lot of girls I know. ;P Just about 99% of girls her age want to be attractive and catch boys' attentions. Don't deny it people - it's true. Some people even go through the extents Haruna does. But when does it EVER end in a "HEY, SHE'S ACTUALLY A BEAUTY!" and then every guy going to pursue that chick?? NEVER. Haruna learns (somehow) to accept herself as she is, and she's not bothered by the fact that there are prettier girls than her. I love Haruna.
Yoh, as I said, doesn't abuse the fact he's hot-looking. There's a BAWWWW emo cliche sob backstory to him with the beads chick, but even then, there are many things I love about him. He's gorgeous eye-candy, but his personality really gets to me. I actually adore guys that are like Yoh, and are shy to feelings like him - guys who constantly go off on you saying how much they love you (oh, do I hate when people abuse that word!) tend to become clingy and tiring and problematic - or maybe I just haven't had good luck with guys. But I just think that the fact that Yoh treasures a relationship is a good sign that it will PROBABLY last.
But Yoh isn't out to date to most attractive girl around. He likes Haruna because of who she is, not because of how she looks like. They make such a sweet couple. Their relationship is so great and it's one I strive to have myself. I envy Haruna and Yoh's relationship. Even when shit happens, they came overcome it in a mature way - I only wish all shoujo were like this! They're so open and honest to each other. I loved Haruna's maturity during the Kurihara arc. She's right; all of us strive so much to run away from the past that haunts us, when in reality, doing that will make it haunt us more. We need to face it head-on and accept the past, and grow stronger from that. This is something not many people realize, but in reality, they all do the same thing Yoh did with Kurihara initially. I'm not going to hold it against him or say he's an idiot, because that's a typical human reaction, but I'm glad Haruna was there to help him out. That is why I love that girl.
I like the aspect of "love" portrayed here - haha, it's so true, kisses and sex aren't just to be toyed around with!
One of the things that really kind of bugged me about Yoh is that for about half the series, I was thinking it seemed like he didn't really like Haruna. I could tell very much Haruna was crazy about him, but there wasn't much to support him actually liking her. It wasn't until volume 6 that I kind of felt he did love her in a FEW instances (very few), but even after, he goes back to his regular stance and this time I'm left wondering... Okay, well, HOW MUCH does he love her? There wasn't anything coupley about them at all (save a few instances)!
In the later volumes it becomes much more clear, and that was great, but I was just bothered by this the first few volumes. Even after awhile too. I mean, you can't be dating someone for over a year and still be shy. At least later on, when Haruna manages to break down Yoh's defenses, he starts expressing his feelings more clearly and though still shy, he's more forward about things. Yoh really developed a lot as a character.
Yoh and Haruna are refreshing shoujo leads. I love both of them.
As for the side characters... I'll just make it super brief. They had their moments, and my favourites were Asaoka and Mami of the side characters (they actually would make a great couple). Fumi was too dense for my liking (seriously), although he's such a sweetie. Asa... oh geez, don't even get me started. First she's a bitch cuntrag to Haruna and steals her man, then she mooches off her, then she acts like a spoiled brat with Fumi, then she fucking COCKBLOCKS YOH. That was the LAST STRAW FOR ME. I will NEVER forgive her for being such a cockblocker.
I HATE YOU ASA. Her personality is disgusting! Fumi should have dumped her 50 years ago.
Er... yep, that's my new review.
Where is my follow-up sequel to the sequel? I swear I read on ANN months back there was a follow-up to Enren Debut.
Oh, and why didn't they ever smex? That damn author cock teased all of us in about 50 chapters... TSK. They better had in the second Enren Debut chapter.
ADD UP: IN VOLUME 11 CHAPTER 43, PAGE 100... WHEN YOH CRIES. AHHHH that just pierced my heart. Holy MOTHERFUCKING JESUS FUCKING CHRIST (forgive my language), that is SO. DAMN. HOT.
^ This is what I mean about turning into an ultra fangirl.
My heart just died.
DEEP BREATH DUBBY DEEP BREATH...
... Last updated on April 3rd, 2010, 11:39am
Could be better..
The story line appealed to me but it kind of got boring as I was reading the chapters. There is cute and really funny moments but not enough to fully grasp my attention. The art is okay not great nor bad but like someone else mentioned (lol) about the lead male looking sleep deprived is true,whether or not that's part of his character it can be distracting. Anyway besides that it's a nice change of story development then what I'm used to reading, it focues a relationship between two people through out the volumes instead of over-hype drama. It's not bad, so I don't regret giving this manga a chance.
Cute light read
I've finished the series, and it's really cute. The heroine isn't as irritating as usual shoujo girls - she has a bit of backbone and even fights off some of Yoh's admirers herself and gets them to stop bullying her with him rescuing her
When their relationship grows stronger and they plan their 'overnight trip' it is absolutely hilarious! I couldn't stop giggling out loud to myself at the embarassment between them - it really relates to anyone whose been through that first time situation!
I'm extremly fond of the characters and Haruna is a great character - you just can't help but love her after a few volumes, even when I'm a girly girl I still love her strength and determination.
My only failing is that the Yoh and Haruna act more like best friends than boyfriend and girlfriend; kisses are few and far between.
Spoiler (highlight to view)
I mean, he kisses her at the airport when he's leaving for Tokyo, and she won't see him for ages, and then sends her a text apologises for his forwardness. Man, I'd been jumping on my boyfriend if he was going away for a year!
A definite must read!
... Last updated on February 19th, 2009, 5:12am
Fine by the numbers
I've heard a lot of criticism of this series to the effect that itís all clichéÖwhich is true; our leads are very old archetypes; the naïve, excitable girl who wants to fall in love, and the attractive but unapproachable guy who is, deep down, very kind. What make High School Debut such a good read is the slight difference in execution; Haruna is naïve, but not childish or stupid, and Yoh isnít the jerk most aloof-types are.
With such likable and reasonably complex characters, the fairly uneventful nature of the plot is not a liability. Iíd liken the series to a good sitcom, but itís more character-based than situation-based.
There is the occasional hiccup. The second volume is fairly bad, and in fact, the series doesnít hit its stride until volume three.
Special mention for the art. The basics are solid and there is the occasional piece of excellence; Asami is genuinely beautiful, and an actually unattractive girl appears in a later chapter (most artists settle for fake-unattractive).
A simple story, but a good one.
... Last updated on October 21st, 2008, 4:17pm
Honestly, I don't think this is a typical shoujo manga as others might see it. If anything, it's somewhat more shoujo+josei. If you change the ages of the characters and make them college students, I think the story would still carry on a similar way, granted all of the characters would probably have part-time jobs as well.
If anything, the story's getting more interesting, and it's coming to a close soon. Oh man, these latest chapters are pretty sad. :/ Haruna, ganbatte!
BTW - I'm pretty picky when it comes to shoujo manga, but this one has got me waiting for each chapter. :]
... Last updated on July 7th, 2008, 4:42pm
i actually liked this manga, and i can't say that about a lot of shoujo i have read, i didn't have high hopes for this one after reading the first few chapters where apparently all that's important for attracting a boyfriend are one's looks and the way one dresses. i also hated how haruna dumped her athletic pursuits and became totally focussed on getting a boyfriend. i almost put it down then.
but regardless, overall it was rather sweet and funny. haruna is a little too dense, but as a shoujo heroine she doesn't bother me a lot -- she is not mean, not manipulative, not weak. she is refreshingly honest, her enthusiasm is infectious, she cares a lot about her friends and works very hard to do nice things for them, she also works to improve herself, and when she realises her mistakes she makes things right without prevarication. there isn't a huge amount of overall growth on her part, because there isn't actually anything particularly bad about her character per se; she is a good person. her character develops by struggling through the smaller decisions to do the right thing at difficult times. the more pronounced and obvious character growth here is yoh's, who also needed it much more, because he was basically broken at the start. and to my relief, even though haruna is too focussed on yoh for my taste, she actually does get around to think about a career for herself, and she also makes the right decision in supporting yoh in his choice, even though that makes their relationship a lot tougher. these two people are genuinely good for each other.
i always like the guys whom others find boring -- i thought yoh was a good character, and he didn't bore me for a second. admittedly he becomes a little less fun when his own feelings prevent him from continuing to read haruna like a book, but he's also honest (i will always prefer a blunt, honest person over a sweet one who tells polite untruths), and he is patient and kind to haruna. his own shyness and how his cool facade crumbles when it comes to haruna is endearing; i wouldn't like him half as much if he were truly cool and collected all the time. and i really like how he changes; it's subtle, but still very clear.
i would have liked to see more development in some of the secondary characters -- i want to know more about mami and asaoka; i wasn't particularly interested in asami about whom we get more. i know it makes sense because she is yoh's sister and therefore plays a larger role, but i didn't like her.
the art is nothing great; there's way too many closeups on haruna and her widely surprised eyes, nor are there many interesting camera angles, so i am marking the manga down for that.
is it predictable? umm... almost all shoujo (and shounen for that matter) is predictable in certain ways -- we know the girl gets the boy, right? we know there will be crises that test the strength of the relationship; either before or after it becomes established. i didn't find it annoyingly predictable; there were enough small bits that i didn't foresee; like the events around fumi at the start. and yoh/haruna got together much sooner than i had anticipated. is it too long? maybe a little; i could have done without the more dramatic and more typically shoujo crises towards the end (*wipes glasses girl from memory*). but it didn't drag on for too much.
don't expect some major life lessons out of this. but it's more than a mere fluff piece, with likeable characters and reasonably realistic depiction of the tumultuous feelings one goes through as a teenager, while being mildly comedic as well.
... Last updated on March 7th, 2011, 3:57pm
The problem with this manga is that the story is too plain. None of the characters have any significant flaws or problematic history. Nothing exciting happens that will grab your interest and cause you to care about what happens next. There's just nothing that makes it stand out from other romance stories.
There's also a lot of room for improvement. The pacing is fast and the characters don't really have well-developed backgrounds. At times, absurd events are forced into the story to create some tension (like when Haruna suddenly can't talk to Yoh). As for the artwork, 80% of the backgrounds are simple "wallpapers" of lines, stars, or bubbles.
I was a little worried that a re-read years after starting the series, would not bring the same feeling i experienced then. Shouldn't have been worried, because either though this is a shoujo story, it's more slice of life. Also the romance was solid throughout, even when there were misunderstandings, it was not dragged out.
Art (10%): 7 The art isn't one of the best. The reason why I gave it an 7 instead of a 6 is that although the art isn't very pretty, it shows the expressions of the characters well.
Story (40%): 10 The story is funny and the plot is original (or at least it is done in an original way). I love how funny the story is and how realistic it is (not counting Haruna's strength). Although a lot of the jokes are overplayed, the story overall is funny and a good light read.
Character (40%): 9 Almost all the characters are likable but there isn't a lot of character development. Haruna is unlike most shoujo heroine because she is average looking and strong but very dense. She makes the story interesting and Yoh's reactions to her actions are also amusing to read.
Enjoyment (10%): 9 I enjoyed reading the story but some of the jokes are overplayed (like how strong and masculine Haruna is).
Total Score: 9.2
My first shoujo
this was my first shoujo years back and I was hesitant to read it again but once I started i couldn't stop and ended up reading all of it in one sitting it will always be one of my favorites and in another 1-2 years I look forward to reading it a again. it introduced me to shoujo and now i am obsessed unfortunately I hold all other shoujo to this standard so I stick with very few. the blessing and curse of koukou debut is that you'll fall in love with shoujo but rarely be satisfied with any other.