Takane & Hana, Vols. 8 and 9

Takane and Hana, Volumes 8 and 9 by Yuki Shiwasu

At 9 volumes in Takane and Hana continues to have story arcs centered on wacky shenanigans, but since those shenanigans seem to be prodding along the romance between Takane and Hana at a glacial pace, I tend to just sit back and enjoy the story.

Most of this volume is taken up with Hana’s realization that she actually cares for Takane, and stumbling through events like Valentine’s Day and dinner with her family while she’s burdened with newfound awareness of her own feelings. There are still plenty of moments of culture shock as Takane isn’t sure what to do the first time he encounters insufficiently marbled beef. There could only be so long that Takane could survived in forced poverty in the position of a mediocre salaryman, mostly because while he is an emotional idiot, he’s actually exceedingly good at business. His current company ends up creating more of a manager role for him, and he’s clearly moving up.

Takane & Hana 9

Takane’s grandfather is pleased with the success of his machinations to force his grandson to grow through vicariously experiencing poverty, but now he’s worried that there will be no time for Takane’s romance to progress. Since exercising familial authority through housing worked so well the last time, he decides to provide Hana’s family with an elaborate mansion to live in as part of a made-up “testing program.” They all move in, only to find out later that they are also required to live with Takane. Takane and Hana end up setting some rigid boundaries around their new living situation, but they aren’t rigid enough for Okamon. Okamon has been lurking on the margins with his carefully deadpan expression, but he hasn’t weighed in on Takane and Hana’s relationship before. I was delighted that volume 9 finally featured Okamon being more direct and also presented a chapter from his point of view. While Okamon may firmly be fulfilling the role of “second lead guy” so familiar in Korean dramas, and I don’t think that he represents a serious threat to an eventual resolution for Takane and Hana, it was a nice change of pace to get to spend more time with him in this volume. I’m expecting that Takane and Hana cohabiting in a mansion will provide plenty of antics for at least 2 volumes.

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