Back in 2013, I took a look at the first volume of Otsu Hiyori’s new manga series because the obi has read “Girl Meets Girl” + “Boy Meets Boy.”. What I found was a group of likeable characters and a low-stress slice-of-life story. Pretty much exactly what one might expect from Otsu-sensei. ^_^
In Volume 2 of Otomodachi Kara Hajimemashou (お友達からはじめましょう。) we begin with the boys, Haru, Kou and Hayato in their quest to prove worthy of a cooking club at school. They put their time, effort, practice, heart and souls into cooking a really amazing meal for the teacher they want as an adviser. His response is to slap them down hard with a “It was good, but not amazing.” Disheartened, but determined, they turn away planning a second try, when the teacher tells them that he was impressed by their devotion and he’ll do it – he’ll be their adviser. Success for the boys!
We then look at the girls. Akira is struggling to understand if she’s interested in the boy Chizu likes, or what? She watches him, but is it that she likes him or watches him on Chizu’s behalf? She doesn’t know. Meanwhile, Chizu drags Akira along to photography club, which Akira has no particular interest in. But, as she starts to take photos of people and things, and especially outgoing Chizu, something in her changes. All of a sudden, Akira finds that the world looks different and she really likes taking pictures! She decides to get a job to be able to buy herself a camera and throws herself into the idea of her being a cameraman.
Yuri is close to nonexistent, unless you really read into Akira and Chizu (which you totally can, but it’s all on you) and there’s no BL at all.
I’m fairly certain that any romance in this book will be straight, but it’s also kind of aside from the point. As the title says clearly, “Let’s start here as friends”. It distinctly feels more like the story is about both Akira and Haru building close friendships, than a school-life romance.
Art – 8
Story – 7, holding steady
Characters – 8
Yuri – 0
Service – 0
Overall – 8
The story is comfortable and fun with Otsu’s typical low-key characterization and relaxed drama. If you’re already a fan, you’ll probably slip this series on like a comfortable slipper.