Article first published as Manga Review: Kare Kano Volume One by Masami Tsuda on Blogcritics.
Kare Kano Volume One is a manga written by Masami Tsuda; Kare Kano is also known under the title of His and Her Circumstances. This manga was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2003 and is rated “T” for teens 13 and up. After reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.
The story focuses on Yukino Miyazawa, a vain high school freshman who strives to be perfect and wants to be the center of attention at school. However, Yukino has a secret; when she’s at home, she’s a spoiled slob who obsessively studies to maintain her grades. She was always at the top of her class in middle school, but was knocked down a peg when she entered high school, due to someone else beating her score on the entrance exam.
Soichiro Arima, a handsome and intelligent young man, is the one who beat Yukino’s score on the entrance exam and became the class representative; he gets all of the attention that Yukino craves so much. Yukino views Soichiro as an enemy, but gets an unexpected surprise when Soichiro confesses his feelings for her. Unfortunately, Soichiro learns Yukino’s secret, and the story follows what happens between Yukino and Soichiro, and how their interactions and relationship with each other evolves.
I saw the first episode of the His and Her Circumstances anime series before reading this manga volume, and discovered that the first chapter is essentially exactly the same as what appeared in the first episode of the anime. I enjoyed that episode enough that I wanted to read the manga, and I wasn’t disappointed in what I read.
The story ends up including twists that I wouldn’t have expected after seeing that first anime episode, but I thought these twists really added something to the series. From what I’ve read so far, the Kare Kano manga seems to have just the right blend of humor and romance to keep the reader interested in the story and characters. When I finished reading Volume One, my interested was piqued enough that I will need to find a copy of Volume Two in order to find out what happens next to these characters.
This volume also includes a one-shot manga story called The Tiger and the Chameleon: A Promise for One Week. It’s another story set at a high school that takes place between a female and a male character. The main female thinks she’s ugly, and she ends up sitting next to a boy who appears to be a juvenile delinquent. One day, after the boy accidentally breaks the girl’s glasses, he insists on being her eyes after she learns it will be a week before her glasses can be repaired. This story focuses on how people perceive others by the way they look. It’s a decent story, and it definitely works best as a one-shot.
Kare Kano seems to be off to a good start for a shojo series, and the storytelling that Tsuda uses helps to make it stand out from other similar series in this genre. If you enjoy reading shojo manga, then I would recommend giving Kare Kano a try.
I wrote this review after reading a copy of Kare Kano Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.