High School Debut 4 by Kazune Kawahara: B+

From the back cover:
Haruna jumps to the conclusion that Yoh is interested in her friend Mami when she sees the two of them together. Instead of confronting him about it, she runs away! Will Haruna’s insecurities end her relationship with Yoh?

Normally, I’d be peeved about the back cover clurb making the series and Haruna seem so stupid, but unfortunately, she does do a number of dumb things in this volume. She does not, however, run away after seeing Yoh and Mami, so that part’s wrong, at least.

The volume starts out well. Haruna, using a sports metaphor as relationship guidance once again, decides that she needs “one big swing” to get rid of the awkwardness she and Yoh are feeling, and goes all out planning a Christmas date. Seeing her work hard at her part-time job (which she got in order to buy Yoh a swanky present) is cool, and there are many funny parts, like when she goes around, excitedly telling everyone her plans.

The date chapter itself is the best in the volume, as things don’t quite go as planned, but still turn out okay. Yoh and Haruna share their first kiss, and after that is where the regrettable behavior starts. Haruna is so flummoxed she can’t talk to Yoh properly and avoids him. He realizes what’s going on, but doesn’t like it and is upset. After a frustrating interval, they finally work things out.

The conclusion to the last chapter is very satisfying and the final page cracked me up. I love that Yoh is the kind of a guy who can tell her straight out that something “made [him] very upset.” Too, I love that though Haruna couldn’t talk to him coherently, she showed her regard by taking on his chore of shoveling the snow in front of his house. That’s such a completely Haruna thing to do.

While this volume wasn’t my favorite, maybe Haruna has now gotten all the spazzitude out of her system. Let us hope.

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