Hana-Kimi 23 by Hisaya Nakajo: C

From the back cover:
Mizuki’s secret is exposed… and her days at Osaka High School are numbered. Can she keep the friends she made as a boy… and does she have a future with Sano after graduation? The flowers of youth are scattered to the winds in the bittersweet final volume of Hana-Kimi!

It’s… over! Thank God.

Nakajo seemed to really be phoning it in for these final few chapters. The big event that I was anticipating—Nakatsu finding out Mizuki’s secret—was handled poorly in two skimpy chapters (a mere 14 pages each). I was annoyed that no one else was annoyed. Their friend had essentially been duping them for two years, and not a single person called her out on it. Everyone was supportive of Mizuki’s every decision.

I did like that Mizuki withdrew from the school. After the rampant acceptance, I was anticipating an ending wherein the school authorities were also totally fine with it. The ensuing farewell scene was pretty dumb, though, and the epilogue bland.

The overall feel of this volume was one of weariness. These should’ve been the climactic chapters that the series was building to all this time, but instead they were listless. I mean, what kind of drama is it when a chapter ends on the riveting decision to take some candid photographs? Although there were moments that I enjoyed in Hana-Kimi, its failure to deliver in crucial areas virtually ensures that I’ll never reread it.

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