High School Debut #5 by by Kazune Kawahara (amazon)
High School Debut continues to put an interesting spin on conventional shoujo plot elements thanks to the humorous ways the characters interact with each other. Haruna and Yoh kissed for the first time, and Haruna needed to have an extensive course of rehab including hypnosis, exercise, and prayer before she was able to talk to Yoh normally again. Now everything seems fine, except for the new transfer student who has appeared in Haruna’s class.
“New Mean Girl” is a standard shoujo plotline. This mean girl’s name is Leona and although she’s beautiful she has a habit of staring at Haruna in a very odd manner. Haruna decides that she must have a new admirer and is flattered by the attention. Her friends aren’t quite so sure about the new girl. Leona reveals that she a softball rival from Haruna’s past in sports and she’s out for revenge because Haruna always struck her out. Leona says “I’m going to make your life hell. I’ll destroy your happiness. And I’m going to take your boyfriend.”
Haruna is frantic with worry, not for herself but for Yoh. She’s worried that Yoh will be more attracted to Leona because Leona has more impressive musculature. Will Leona succeed in her attempt to steal him away or harm him? Haruna tells Yoh that she’ll protect him, and he comments that sometimes he feels like he has a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend. Haruna tastes his food to prevent him from being poisoned and keeps on watch for any of Leona’s magic spells.
I’ve often thought that I never needed to read another shoujo episode about a girl and a boy being imprisoned together. When Leona traps Yoh and Haruna, Haruna’s attempts to save him are both hilarious and self-sacrificing so I didn’t mind revisiting a standard storyline. Yoh tends to be so laid back in contrast to Haruna’s exuberance, but he ends up commenting that he’d like to protect her too. Yoh gradually becomes more expressive with his feelings, so Haruna is delighted. High School Debut is just a fun, feel-good series that is always the one of the first volumes I reach for when I get my box of manga every month.