Hana Kimi

Hana Kimi 4/5 stars (amazon)

Sometimes I like cliches. Cliches abound in shoujo manga as they do in any type of genre fiction, and sometimes they can get a bit tiring. But every now and then I’ll read a title that I’ll like despite a storyline that I’ve read before. Hana Kimi is a shoujo story like many others, in which a girl disguises herself as a guy in order to be closer to the boy she has a crush on. I’d read a few pages of it in a sampler volume, and decided that the storyline seemed a little too typical to investigate further. But recently I decided to give it another try and thanks to Manga Trade, I was able to swap some manga titles I no longer wanted, and I got several volumes of Hana Kimi in return. Thanks, Manga Trade! 🙂

Mizuki Ashiya has been living in America with her family for several years, but she decides to return to Japan. She wants to meet her idol, the high jumper Izumi Sano. The only problem is that Sano goes to an all-male high school. Mizuki cuts her hair, binds her breasts flat, and reports to Osaka Private High School as a new transfer student. She’s changed a bit after living in America – she’s more outspoken and has trouble fitting in with her classmates. Sano is assigned as her roommate, and Mizuki finds out that he’s inexplicably quit the high jump. He also seems to have a rather aloof and arrogant personality. An irrepressible soccer player named Nakatsu befriends Mizuki as she tries to adjust to her new school. Sano is able to figure out quickly that Mizuki is a girl but Nakatsu is more than a little disturbed that he’s finding the new freshman to be so adorable.

Mizuki is a track and field star in her own right and she throws herself in to her new role as a boy with enthusiasm, as shown when she punches a boy in the face. I always think face-punching is an admirable quality for a shoujo heroine. Mizuki’s friendship with Sano grows, but how long will they be happy with a platonic relationship? And how long will she keep thinking that he thinks she’s a boy, when he knows she’s a girl? Hana Kimi also has a motley supporting cast that includes a womanizing RA, gay school doctor, menacing jock, pervy photographer, petulant pretty boy, and a cute doggie. Wacky hijinks ensue with almost every volume as Mizuki takes part in school life while trying to hide her secret. Although the plot of Hana Kimi is very typical, I enjoyed the character interaction and being able to see how Mizuki and Sano’s personalities change as the result of their friendship. The art is fairly standard, it serves the story but I don’t think it displays a very unique style. If you’re looking for a light and fluffy shoujo fix with plenty of cross-dressing, I don’t think you can go wrong with this series.