By Thea Srinivasan
One 26 year old man with a giant ego and one 16 year old girl with a backbone leads to a recipe of a long-winded, comedic cat and mouse chase. Shoujo mangas are one of my greatest guilty pleasures of all time. Next to Korean dramas, I love the tropes of a good shoujo manga and this one did a decent job of creating its spin with unlikely, fun characters.
The manga is about a 16-year-old high school girl named Hana who goes to an arranged marriage meeting disguised as her sister. Hana’s father works at a company where the head of the conglomerate see’s Hana’s sister and thinks she would be a great wife for his grandson. Unfortunately, Hana’s sister already had a boyfriend; therefore Hana stepped in to keep her dad’s job intact. Her suitor turns out to be 26-year old Takane. He’s the pinnacle of suave and coolness on the outside but is arrogant, snobbish and cynical around the people he’s closest to. Takane decides to insult Hana to make the meeting end quickly but ends up getting insulted by Hana for his rude nature. Takane decides to take his own version of revenge by trying to impress Hana with his “impeccable” personality and taste, and it ends with Hana verbally giving smackdowns to all of Takane’s actions. With that, Takane and Hana begin their cat and mouse game all under the hidden guise that Hana is her 23-year-old sister.
Takane is an annoying bag of poop that reminds me of a more emotional version of Sheldon Cooper. His arrogance and “superior beliefs” make him entertaining. It also helps that our main heroine has a knack of witty comebacks and self-confidence to be able to “beat” our prince to the ground. Their unique personalities are what make the manga standout essentially. Since their chase always involve comedic moments of one harassing the other, one might think that one of them is a version of Tom and the other is Jerry. In this case, both of them are two very different versions of Tom. But at the end of the day, both of them play to their stereotypical roles as the older prince with the cool air and the insecure young girl who makes the prince “feel” for the first time.
Hana’s sister is beautiful and manipulative with a shallow air around her. Hana’s father tends to just go with the flow for everyone except Hana and Takane’s grandfather is a loudmouth who has severe control issues with his grandson. There really isn’t anything else to say except: Classical Shoujo Cinderella syndrome.
I like the art style of the manga. While it is the traditional shoujo style, I find myself enjoying all of the details the author has put into making the characters and settings stand in perfection. I wouldn’t be surprised if none of the artists got any sleep just to make all of the panels perfect. To all of the artists, thank you for the fine details on this manga!
Overall, the manga is a lot of fun to read and is a great guilty pleasure for those who want fun moments with characters. This shoujo manga is not a swoon worthy tale, but it is a good story with a bunch of tag backs between the couple.
Takane & Hana vol. 1