In Volume 1 of Sugano Manami’s Himawari-san, high schooler Matsuri meets the owner of the Himawari Book Shop, eponymously referred to as “Himawari-san.” In Volumes, 2, 3 and 4, Matsuri and Himawari-san grow closer without ever quite really understanding one another.
By Volume 5, Matsuri’s infatuation with Himawari-san has developed away from a rolling boil of curiosity into a slow simmer of growing respect and friendship. And Himawari-san comes shockingly close to actually telling the younger girl something about herself.
It’s not that Himawari-san was so used to being alone that she doesn’t know how to be friends, we learn, from her old friend, Ayame. In fact, she and Himawari-san have been friends since school. So what holds Himawari-san back? Our lily-colored lenses see it as reticence not because she doesn’t want to be closer, but because she does.
There is little tension in these volumes. So, the smallest traces of conflict seem almost absurdly out of proportion. When Himawari-san’s older brother asks Matsuri out on a “date,” it’s a little off-putting, as we can see he’s more serious about it than she. But when he goes so far as to say that Himawari-san writes a lot about Matsuri in her diary and offers to tell Matsuri Himawari-san’s real name, it precipitates a crisis. First Matsuri gets mad for his presumption and then Himawari-san, who had been following them, gets madder for his presumption and because of her embarrassment. When Himawari-san and Matsuri sat comfortably side by side at the end of this arc, it dawned on me that Himawari-san is probably holding out until Matsuri graduates. When she is an adult, Himawari-san will feel comfortable sharing herself with Matsuri.
The beginning of the book is a touching piece on Matsuri and her sister Fuuko’s relationship, in which Fuuko also begins to see her sister more clearly.
And the end follows Ayame through a small crisis of her own.
Art – 9
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 4
Service – 1
Overall – 8
A surprisingly emotional volume of this series about a bookstore owner, and the lives she changes.