Hana to Hina ha Houkago, Morinaga Milk’s newest manga series, reads like a Cards for Humanity “Yuri Tropes” edition. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Hana works at a character goods store after school, despite the school’s explicit rules against part-time jobs. (Potential plot complication, duh) At work, she meets tall, beautiful Hinako who loves character goods and turns out to be younger than Hana and a transfer student into her school.
The tropes are strong in this series and the formula is a bit Odd Couple, as Hana turns out to like the character goods’ cuteness, but not really get the whole concept of character goods (or collecting them) and Hina loveloveloves character goods and knows everything about them. She’s also a fashion model, good at sports and smart, while Hana is sort of average at best. But it becomes obvious that Hina likes Hana, even if the penny has not yet dropped for Hana.
And yet, by the end of this first volume I kind of still like them both – despite Hina’s apparent perfection and Hana’s lack of clue.
The best thing about the series is the pacing, which is awkward, uneven and slow. ^_^ The first chapter or two, I felt like were sliding too quickly into an obvious romance that would be pretty much be Himitsu no Recipe all over again. But no. Instead of a headlong rush into a mis-match, Hina turns out to be a really likable character, and you finish this volume pulling for her and hoping Hana doesn’t take too long to get that clue she’s missing. Hana is never unsympathetic, either. You can see she’s on the brink of cluing in, but she’s an average high school girl and not used to thinking outside very typical boxes.
Art – 8 Cute things and clothes drawn cutely, Milk-sensei’s specialty
Story – 7 with potential for higher
Characters – halfway through I’d have said 6, but by the end, 8
Service – 4 I mentioned the cuteness, right?
Yuri – 4, climbing, slowly, but inexorably
Overall – 7
You want them to come together – but you want it to be realistic and have depth of connection, not just ’cause this is a Yuri manga. Fingers crossed.