Hana Kimi 3 in 1 Edition by Hisaya Nakajo
I read Hana Kimi when it was coming out originally, and it is one of those series that I reread every couple of years. It is the reason why I remain such a sucker for cross dressing reverse harem scenarios, and I find it to be a great silly shoujo series. I was happy to see that Viz is releasing the earlier volumes in the 3 in 1 omnibus edition. Hana Kimi first started coming out several years ago, so hopefully this new edition will create some new readers for the series. This is similar to the other 3 in 1 editions from Viz, the first three books packaged together on fairly thin paper with no new extras.
One of the keys to enjoying Hana Kimi is being able to suspend a ton of disbelief for the first few chapters, because the heroine’s scenario in this manga relies on a staggering amount of coincidences that are possible only in manga land. Mizuki Ashiya has been living in the United States, where she became infatuated with a super-star track and field athlete named Sano Izumi. Sano’s high jumps are sublime, and Mizuki is inspired to take up track and field herself. Not content to only improve her athletic ability, she decides to move back to Japan, disguise herself as a boy, and enroll in Sano’s high school. Osaka High School happens to have dorms and she’s assigned as Sano’s roommate! Despite being a cross-dressing stalker, Mizuki is peppy and cute, with the type of reckless personality you might expect from someone who just casually moves to Japan as a boy because she digs someone’s high jump. When Mizuki gets to school she finds out that Sano has given up jumping due to a tragic past with accompanying psychological issues, and he finds her boisterous attempts at friendship rather annoying.
As you might expect from a manga set at a boy’s boarding school, there’s a large supporting cast. There’s the fabulously gay school doctor Umeda, soccer star Nakatsu whose feelings for Mizuki lead him to start questioning his sexuality, womanizing RA Nanba, and dorm mascot Yujiro. Sano and Umeda find out Mizuki’s secret very quickly, but Sano continues to pretend that she’s a guy. His attitude towards her gradually changes from annoyance to curiosity to fiercely protective. The three volumes cover Mizuki dealing with fitting in at school, the possible resurrection of Sano’s high jumping career, the sudden appearance of Mizuki’s older brother, and the consequences when Mizuki isn’t as watchful of her safety as she should be. The stoic hero with a tragic past is a pretty common type in shoujo manga, but I have to say that Sano is one of my favorite examples of this character. Nakajo does a great job showing the way he snaps to attention whenever anything that happens that might menace Mizuki.
Hana Kimi isn’t deep by any means, but it is one of my favorite comedic romance shoujo manga. Sano and Mizuki end up developing a close friendship partly because they aren’t at first relating to each other as a boy and a girl. I’m happy to see this series get more attention with this rerelease.
Review copy provided by the publisher