I was supposed to write this review last week but due to some circumstances, I didn’t get a chance to do it. Here is a late overdue review for you guys:
Hirunaka no Ryuusei is a really interesting story with an unusual female protagonist and a typical shoujo manga story line. It is by Yamamori Mika and the genres are comedy, romance, school life, shoujo and slice of life. Let me tell you the gist of it in just a few sentences:
A country girl comes to Tokyo due to family circumstances, meets an older guy that she falls in love with, makes new school friends and eventually one of them comes to like her too. She has to sort out her feelings towards her first love who rejected her and decide on what her feelings are towards her popular classmate who has started to show his affections for her.
Similar manga(s): Tonari no Atashi (Okay it’s not completely similar but it is in the part that our protagonists like each other but eventually break it off due to one of them thinking that it’s for the greater good – noble idiocy again – and then our female protagonist gets pursued by another guy who’s usually her age and when she starts to look towards him, our male protagonist starts to get jealous and regret not holding on to her)
For the longer, detailed version:
Country girl Yosano Suzume is sent to Tokyo by her parents to live with her uncle, her mother’s brother due to her father’s working circumstances to transfer him elsewhere. Upon arriving in Tokyo, Suzume encounters a young man who prevents her from falling down after being bumped into by a passer-by. He seems friendly at first but when he starts asking her too many questions, Suzume gets uneasy and runs away from her when she sees the chance. She gets lost on her way to her uncle’s house and ends up falling asleep on a bench.
When she wakes up, she finds herself in bed and she sees a man hovering above her. He tells her that he’s her uncle Yukichi and at that moment, Suzume hears sounds and is told that it is just someone who goes over regularly. She recognises that person as the weird guy from earlier on and discovers that he was the one who had brought her to the house. She thinks to herself that he wasn’t so bad after all.
Later, Suzume discovers that the weird guy is actually a teacher in her new school. She is told that he’s already 24 years old and that he would be her class’ homeroom teacher. Due to her shy and reserved nature as well as her being unfamiliar with city life, Suzume finds it hard to mix in with her classmates. She manages to befriend with Mamura Daiki, her desk-mate with blackmail after discovering his weakness, sort of but she succeeds in making a friend (HAHA).
As the days go by, Suzume realises that Shishio sensei is rather popular and well-liked by the students – mostly due to his young good looks and care for his students. She also begins to speak more to her blackmailed ‘friend’ who relunctantly keeps up conversation with her. Their relationship doesn’t go unmissed by their classmate, Nekota Yuyuka. Yuyuka will later become one of Suzume’s best friends along with two others. The two girls’ relationship is nice to read about as they would banter back and forth in a rather comical way with Suzume being the blur one and Yuyuka being the straightforward, practical one.
Suzume finds herself falling in love with Shishio sensei and eventually confesses her love to him with help from Yuyuka who helps her reveal her beauty with makeup and the right attire. Shishio appears to reciprocate her feelings for a number of chapters but an official declaration of love or that they’re dating is never mentioned. When Suzume’s uncle Yukichi finds out that his friend might be after his niece, he confronts him about it and tells him to leave her. Knowing that this forbidden relationship between teacher and student cannot be, Shishio rejects Suzume, leaving her upset and heartbrokened. We sadly watch and Suzume’s heart break into a million pieces.
Slowly, Daiki starts to notice Suzume more and begins to fall for her. He eventually confesses to her and after some contemplation, Suzume decides to give him a chance despite not being fully over Shishio yet and still unsure about her feelings towards him.
Strangely enough, we start to see Shishio become more uncomfortable and depressed whenever he sees Suzume and Daiki together. Turns out that he actually did love Suzume but that in keeping his promise to her uncle, he broke off his relationship with her. Oh you noble weepy heroes. This is a typical shoujo fashion revelation but I still felt sad for him.
Shishio goes back to his brooding place (Yukichi’s eatery) to think about Suzume and all his decisions and what he should have done. There, his ex-girlfriend Tsubomi makes a reappearance and gives him some insight about himself and asks him if he finally realised what a useless person he is (HA). She gives him a piece of advice and he’s left to absorb it.
The next day, he finds Suzume on the rooftop again and for the first time, confesses his real feelings to her. She thinks he’s lying though and goes to Counsellor Yuyuka for advice. Yuyuka does give her solid advice and Suzume asks Daiki (who’s she’s dating by this time) to go home together. In a moment of vulnerability, she tells him not to let her go.
This story is a very school life/slice of life story as we see Suzume grow and deal with the things people normally deal with: love, friendships, school. She learns to adapt to city life and experiences what it’s like to fall in love with someone. Suzume is very much a normal girl, a regular heroine with no special traits to her but what is likeable about her is that she’s always earnest and sincere. She never harbours any mean thoughts towards anyone and generally shows whatever she feels on her face like an open book.
I really liked Yuyuka as Suzume’s best friend because they complement each other so well. They each make up for something that the other doesn’t have and that’s what makes their relationship so wonderful. And once you get past the reason why Yuyuka treated Suzume so mean in the beginning, you realise that she’s actually an insecure person who puts on a mask to cover up her true personality so people see her as a nice, sweet girl.
As for Shishio sensei, I don’t really know what to feel about him. I do like him as a character as someone who’s kind and caring and him having double personalities too like Yuyuka. But all his selflessness and noble idiocy only made me go ARRRRGH at him for being one and making the story so slow. Still, it’s good that he came back to his senses after having them knocked into him but Tsubomi. The manga isn’t completed yet, so we have to wait and see how he’ll make his move from here on and see Suzume’s final decision.
And it’s not going to be an easy one, Story, just when I was starting to like Daiki, you mess around with an ‘enlightenment’ twist to make Shishio have a comeback. This is going to be interesting and we’ll just have to wait and see on the future chapters.
See this is why I’ve begun to start liking this pairing haha.
(Shishio Satsuki and Mamura Daiki are attractive, really and Suzume is surprisingly pretty when she lets down her hair, courtesy of Yuyuka)
Story line: 8/10
(I find this kind of story fairly enjoyable enough to read on and continue despite its typical story line. Though I don’t think I have read a manga like this with the two protagonists in a teacher-student relationship in this kind of plot line. Though of course there are MANY teacher-student mangas.)
Chapter length: 7/10
(Simply because each chapter is roughly 26 pages plus, minus. But strangely, they didn’t feel short. I guess that’s what you get when it’s a good story and the length of the chapters feel just right)