Hinagiku Junshin Jogakuen, Volume 1 is the story of Ami, a smart, beautiful, elegant, rich girl who collides in the hall with sweatpants-wearing, geeky-looking Yui and falls madly in love. It comes as a great shock, therefore, to find that Yui has been in her class all the time.
Yui is smart, she is definitely a geek, and she works very hard at a part-time job, but that none of that explains the incessant slamming into people. Nor does it explain why other people slam into Ami, too. Nor does it explain why, after Yui and Ami become friends, and Yui affects Ami’s life by introducing her to rice balls and to the world of part-time jobs so she makes her own friends and money, why the manga suddenly explodes into a few final chapters about things like bathing suits, cosplay and aliens. I kept waiting for Dondi and shady underworld figures to show up just to complete the “wtf” factor.
The basic plot of the first 4/5 of this volume go like this: Yui slams into Ami, with an onigiri in her mouth. Yui *loves* onigiri. Ami spends a LOT of time in this volume obsessing about rice balls – wondering what they are, trying them for the first time, trying to make them, having her cook make them, all in an attempt to get closer to Yui. Of course, if Ami just *asked* if she and Yui could be friends, it’s obvious that Yui would be glad to comply.
When Ami takes over for Yui at her part-time job selling fried things at a convenience store in what were really the best chapters, a whole new world of relating to people opens up for Ami. She never really gets her wish to get closer to Yui the way she’d like, but she gets something more important – self-reliance.
This volume of manga is silly and repetitive. It’s a sit-com in which the “sit” is Yui slamming into Ami. But despite that, it has some genuine charm. And just about the time you think it’s time for the story to progress a bit – Aliens. Cosplay. Bathing Suits. The usual.
Art – 7 4-koma cute, you know the type
Story – 5 I’m being generous. There actually isn’t any story
Characters – 7 There is some character development, instead of a story
Yuri – 4
Service – None, until the final chapters, then 5
Overall – 6
I wish the author had had the opportunity or balls to move the story forward. I would have liked to see Yui clue in a tad. But, should you be willing to wait it out, there is a Volume 2 out and who knows, onigiri might lead to love after all.