High School Debut‘s Kazune Kawahara joins forces with artist Aruko for this refreshingly unusual rom-com manga about a love triangle that only exists in the main character’s head.
That character is Takeo, a big, huge, manly-man of a high schooler, whose big muscles, thick lips, bushy eyebrows and propensity to over-emote marks him as more of a comedy relief character than the romantic lead in a shojo manga, which is, perhaps, why he himself has trouble seeing that this is actually his story (Well, that and the fact that he’s incredibly dense).
Takeo’s best friend is his next door neighbor Sunakawa, who is the sort of girlishly pretty, super-smooth guy that girls in manga usually fall for. All of Takeo’s young life, he has had crushes on cute classmates, but everyone of them has loved not him, but Sunakawa…who coolly, sometimes even cruelly, turns them all down.
Things start to change when Takeo saves the lovely Yamato from a would-be groper on a train (and, later, and perhaps less realistically, from a falling girder), and she takes a liking to the big, dense goof. Assuming that she is actually in love with Sunakawa, as is generally the case, Takeo decides to selflessly bury his own feelings and do everything in his power to bring his best friend and this girl together, despite the fact that they don’t even like each other.
Comic misunderstandings ensue, but, unlike many manga, this budding-romance isn’t dragged out interminably, or even over the course of more than one volume. Takeo and Yamato get on the same page and become a couple rather quickly (during the first half of this first volume, in fact).
In the second half, another pretty girl with affection for Takeo shows up, and could prove a rival to Yamato…or not.
Kawahara and Aruko seem to have great fun playing with the typical conventions of their genre, and readers should likewise have great fun with the results.