Waiting for Spring, Vol. 1

By Anashin. Released in Japan as “Haru Matsu Bokura” by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Dessert. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics. Translated by Alethea and Athena Nibley.

One of the things I am very fond of repeating over and over again is that a manga does not have to be new, exciting or revolutionary to be enjoyable. Yes, it’s always nice to see something that doesn’t follow the same well-worm path, but the well-worn path is comforting. A lot of people walk it every day. You know where you’re going. It’s the same with shoujo manga, and I know that a few people might be looking at Waiting for Spring and thinking “is there anything here I couldn’t read in a dozen other shoujo titles I’ve seen in the past?”. And the answer is, nope. It is thoroughly predictable in every way, and features character types you are not only familiar with but overfamiliar with. It is the well-worn path. I quite liked it.

Mitsuki is our heroine a first year high school student who’s trying to move to a school without too many of her old classmates to be more popular, but we know how well that works out. She’s pretty isolated, though she does at least have a part-time job at a cafe. The cuties of the school are Towa and his three other friends (who have names, but let’s face it, Towa is the one to remember), who are up and comers on the basketball team and have huge fanbases already. Things then start to go wrong as a) she gets a confession from one of the guys… who then actually looks at her and realizes he’s got the wrong girl; they’re likely going to start going to that cafe, meaning it will be overrun with their female fans; and worst of all, they’re generally nice guys if a bit insensitive, and they have that Mitsuki wants: self-confidence. Gradually she begins to hang out with them, despite the inherent dangers, and finds herself falling for Towa.

As you can see, this is not breaking any new ground, but it’s sweet. Mitsuki is likeable and awkward without being a doormat. Towa is nice and friendly without being bland. I don’t like the guy who accidentally proposed, but he’s meant to be the butt monkey of the series anyway, so that’s fine. Mitsuki also does eventually make a friend of another girl, which reassured me as sometimes these reverse harems can be fairly skimpy in that department. Reina also obsesses about the four guys, but not for the same reasons as the rest of the group – we, the reader can tell she’s a BL fanatic fantasizing about them, but Mitsuki herself doesn’t get it. And Mitsuki is slowly becoming more outgoing and forceful, reminding the fanclub why you go to a basketball game in the first place – to cheer the guys on. Her grades are bad, but even that is made into a decent plot point.

This hits a lot of good emotional beats, and there was no point at which I sighed and had to go “well, every shoujo series has a scene like this.” The guys may be overly insenstive at times, but none of them seem to be the sneering ass type. In short, if you just finished a comforting, easy to read shoujo series and were thinking of getting another one, Waiting for Spring will suit you fine.

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