Hanazakari no Kimi-tachi e article published in Animerica Extra Vol. 4, No. 5, April 2001
This article was written by and is copyrighted to Patricia Duffield and may not be reproduced in part or whole without permission.

Hanazakari no Kimi-tachi e (For You in Full Blossoms*) is so much fun, it's easy to understand why this series has been hitting the top of manga sales charts since its first collected volume in 1997. Mizuki, the heroine of this Hana to Yume series, is courageous and cheerful and masquerading as a guy at an all boys high school! Currently at fourteen volumes, this romantic comedy is chock full of humor, drama, and irresistible characters.

The series begins with a closeup of Miyuki about to cut her long, beautiful hair as her friend Julia questions the wisdom of leaving the US to move back to Japan alone. Miyuki is a talented track and field athlete, and her determination is as strong off the track as on. Julia knows her leaving has to do with that high jumper Miyuki has come to idolize, but there's something Julia doesn't understand. "Why do you have to cut your hair for this?"

Late for his first day, a boy pounds through the gates of Osaka (long o) Academy. In his haste, he runs into someone. His polite apology is met with, "You sound like a girl," but he's soon racing for homeroom again. The boy throws open the door to class 1-C and announces, "I'm transfer student Miyuki Ashiya; my plane was late!!" It's not a boy, but our heroine, Miyuki! With all those startled faces staring at her, she finally appreciates she's really in a boys school. But where's her school bag? "Lose something?" It's the guy she bumped into in the hall, who just happens to be Izumi Sano, the high jumper she reveres! Miyuki finally reveals her plan. Sano was a high jump champion in junior high. Mizuki learned about him from local TV news and became enchanted with the beautiful form of his high jumping. She's done all this --researched him, found his high school, persuaded her family, returned to Japan, and enrolled in Osaka (long o) Academy as a boy-- just to meet Sano and become his friend. She's so excited they're in the same class, she loudly proclaims, "I like you; let's be friends!" Not the cleverest thing to say in a boys school! "I'm ...not really into ...that," is Sano's response. Miyuki soon recovers from this downturn and is befriended by Nakatsu, a bleach-blond soccer player with stereotypical Kansai charisma and accent. He quickly throws her off balance by asking about American girls. Soon Miyuki learns she's not only Sano's classmate, but his dormitory roommate, as well. And so the stage is set for romantic complications and gender bending hijinks.

Despite their initial misunderstanding, Sano becomes protective of Miyuki, especially once he figures out she's a girl. Nakatsu, oblivious of her secret, has to deal with sexual self- doubt, as he, too, falls for our heroine. To add to the emotional confusion, there are lots of interesting elements, like Sano's narcolepsy and the reason he doesn't high jump anymore. Plus, there's a colorful cast of supporting characters: sadistic Dr. Umeda, who becomes Miyuki's confidant; pretty playboy Namba, the kind-hearted dorm leader; Yujiro (long u, long o), the dorm dog who loves girls, and many more. Mix in the narrative asides that underscore many of the funniest moments, and you've got one appealing arrangement.

The guys are handsome, the girls pretty, and the comedic timing is undeniable. As fresh and enjoyable as its title, For You in Full Blossoms is artist Hisaya Nakajo's (long o) first big series. Although it hasn't been animated, with two drama CDs out already, fans hope to see it on TV someday. The story is highly addictive, so if you're looking for a new romantic comedy, you've got to give this one a try!


*That's what it says on the merchandise. I prefer For You in Full Bloom, but it's your call.