Comedy, Deception, Romance, HanaKimi!

The story for HanaKimi is not a particularly oringial one, but it is a whole lot of fun to read. It is about a 17 year old girl named Mizuki Ashiya. Mizuki has been living in America and going to school there. (Her father is a 'gaijin' American who married a Japanese woman) She has an older brother who looks very 'gaijin' with light hair and eyes. Anyway, she is on her school's track team and has a best friend named Julia. One day after watching a high jump competition on TV (a video?), Mizuki becomes interested in one of the competitors, a guy her own age named Izumi Sano, a talented athlete from Japan.

Mizuki decides right then and there that she wants to be Sano's friend. Poor Mizuki longs to meet Sano for three whole years before she finally manages to get back to Japan. The thing is, he goes to an all-boys school. This does not deter Mizuki though! She gets Julia to cut her hair for her, gets herself a boys school uniform, travels to Japan, and enrolls in Sano's school. Wow, now that is dedication for ya!

Right away Mizuki encounters the guy she was looking for. She first meets Sano when she runs into class late and bumps in to him in the hallway. She leaves her book bag behind in her haste, and he returns it to her in class. Yes, Sano is in Mizuki's class! This causes her no end of happiness, though Sano wonders why the new 'guy' in his class is smiling at him so much.

Things get even better for Mizuki. Not only is Sano in her class, she manages to get Sano as a roommate in the boys dorm too! WOW! Now they can be great friends! However actually living together begins to add some tension to their relationship. Mizuki finds herself caring about Sano as more than a 'friend' and Sano finds himself attracted to his roomate. Things are difficult for Mizuki, who must guard her feelings for Sano and hide her true gender from everyone.

The situation is not any easier for Sano, whose feelings for Mizuki become very strong as well. Watching him cope with his emotions is one of my favorite parts of the story.

For added flavor, throw in a hilarious cast of supporting characters. First there is Shuichi Nakatsu, a classmate of Mizuki's who totally falls for her right away, even believing she is a guy. Poor Nakatsu gets so confused! Then there is Nanba-senpai, the upperclassman leader of Mizuki's dorm. During the school festivals, he is the one in charge of organizing everything. He is someone who Mizuki can talk to sometimes, though Sano thinks he is a bit of a flirt. Next is Umeda-sensei, the school doctor. He is flirty and cool and very stylish for a school doctor. He becomes Mizuki's confidant, even though he often startles Mizuki with his private flamboyance ^_^; Finally there is Julia, Mizuki's blond-haired, blue-eyed American best friend. Julia knows all about Mizuki's deception, and when she arrives on the scene in Japan, she makes a definite impact!

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e is a very funny story with touching moments and excellent art. There is no end to the funny situations Mizuki can get into while masquerading as a boy, and manga author Hisaya Nakajo seems to be having a great time exploring as many as possible!