High School Debut 6 by Kazune Kawahara: A-

Not long after Haruna first met Yoh, she heard about the “beads incident.” Back in Junior High, Yoh was on the basketball team and was dating the team manager, Makoto. She had a fondness for wearing beads, and one day he accidentally hurt her feelings by saying that he didn’t particularly care for them. She turned on the waterworks and managed to get Yoh’s teammates to turn against him. Now Makoto is back, and has been calling Yoh in hopes of seeing him again.

It’s one of the strengths of this series that Yoh’s perspective is not neglected. Getting to see his reaction to being contacted by his ex-girlfriend elevates this from a mere “romantic rival” plot to something a lot more meaningful, more melancholy than melodrama. He firmly tells her to leave him alone, and unequivocally lets Haruna know that she’s the one he wants to be with. It’s Haruna who eventually convinces him to see Makoto and he comes away from the experience at peace with his past.

Haruna, who has been prone to spazzery up until this point, is pretty awesome in this volume, too. It’s kind of rare for me to like both members of a couple as much as I do Haruna and Yoh. Their interactions and discoveries in this volume contribute to make it the best of the series since they got together. The last three pages were especially terrific; I might even have shed a tear.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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