Title: High School Debut/Koukou Debut/Osananajimi wa Gakunenchou/Koko Debut
Author: Kazune Kawahara
Artist: Kazune Kawahara
Genre: Comedy,Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Slice of Life
Summary: When Haruna Nagashima was in junior high her life consisted of playing softball and reading comics. But now that she’s going to high school, Haruna decides to put all of her energy towards getting a boyfriend and having the high school romance of a lifetime. To help in her quest, she enlists cute upperclassman Yoh Komiyama to coach her as she eschews her jock tendencies and turns herself into the kind of girl who can catch a guy. Yoh agrees, with one catch: Haruna had better not fall for him!
High School Debut is in the ongoing top 10 list of my favourite shoujo manga. Where it sits in my top 10, God knows. As we start a new year, we have new hopes, new dreams and enter a whole new stage of our lives. Some of us (lucky people) might be returning or going back to school.
“Going back to school”… What a memory I cherish.
So perhaps reviewing High School Debut this early in the year will encourage you high school students out there to enjoy your precious, irreplaceable short years of school life!
I believe that many of us experienced many insecurities during the time of our school days(I sound like some old-fart, but oh well). We wanted to become popular, to be ‘hip’, or to maybe just fit in. I think High School Debut illustrates this scenario perfectly.
We have our heroine; Haruna Nagashima, who’s a total failure in fashion, scares away any potential high school mates. Being a complete flop in the way she looks – I believe many of us are able to relate to that – she gathers all the courage in her extremely admirable lion heart to ask this handsome senior to help her. I think some readers may find this sort of extreme – I certainly thought so a long while back, but through my growing years of wisdom, I have witnessed this scenario in real life.
High School Debut also features very valuable life experiences such as betrayal and heart-break. It’s a story that’s so realistic and relatable you might probably be sitting down reading High School Debut somewhere in happiness, thinking – ‘this happened to me,’ and start feeling sentimental (I know I did). I identified a trace of classic shoujo art-style in the way Kazune Kawahara draws male characters. The main characters also have very distinct character designs along with their individual personalities and I love how everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. The balance between positive and negative traits is always key in making a story come alive and progress realistically.
The heroine is extremely likable and her determination & strong-willed personality can be a fantastic role-model for any real-life person. Not only is she strong mentally, she’s also strong physically – a very refreshing change from the fiesty lady or the typical kind-hearted heroine for shoujo manga. I know I’m dealing with volume 1, but I felt utterly crushed and depressed when High School Debut ended. It goes through the important experiences in school-life and well, it frankly made me miss my own.
I suppose all good things must come to end?
Shutting the door behind you, you’ll definitely find a new door to unlock. High School Debut is all about overcoming weaknesses and welcoming school-life; and to roll it all up with romance, this is a sheer winner in its genre.
Characters: 4.5 /5
Overall rating & any comments: 4.6/5
I think I’ve gone a bit blunt with my writing ability having been away from university for a few weeks. Bleh, I went a bit blank when I was trying to write this – I’m starting to think I love Manga Weekend too much.
*update: this post was edited & I updated the rating