Hisaya Nakajo's manga series Hanazakari no Kimitachi he ("For You in Full Blossom", casually known as Hana-Kimi) has been a hit since it first appeared in 1997 in the shojo manga magazine Hana to Yume ("Flowers and Dreams"). In Japan, a Hana-Kimi art book and several "drama CDs" have been released. Her other manga series include Missing Piece (2 volumes) and Yumemiru Happa ("The Dreaming Leaf", 1 volume).
Nakajo bases his shojo manga (Japanese girls' comic) on the common manga plot device of a girl dressed as a boy. Thirteen-year-old Mizuki Ashiya idolizes high-jump champion Izumi Sano. She somehow manages to transfer to his all-boys' school by masquerading as a boy, and becomes Izumi's roommate. Mizuki wants to see Izumi do the high jump, but is shocked to learn he quit the sport because he couldn't stand the pressure. Mizuki believes Izumi still loves high jumping and wants to high jump with him. Readers will be impatient for Mizuki to take Psychology 101 so she'll figure out what "high jumping" is a euphemism for. The story founders on its own absurdities. When Izumi sees Mizuki's back in the shower, she deludes herself that Izumi still thinks she's a boy, while he knows the truth but acts as if he does not. In a side story, a boy named Kaede comes to live with his second cousin Toko, who is outraged by Kaede's womanizing, until Kaede genuinely falls in love with Toko. Nakajo's visual storytelling is often cramped and confusing, and his drawing style is mediocre, although he does create attractive love scenes. This tale panders to the illusions of sexually na?ve young girls who, one hopes, can discern that misogynists are not Prince Charmings and Mizuki is really an obsessed stalker. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.