Special A, Volume 1

Special A (Volume #1)
by Maki Minami
Published 2007 by VIZ Media
208 pages. Paperback.
Rating: 3/5

Her whole life, Hikari Hanazono has been consumed with the desire to win against her school rival, Kei Takishima–at anything. He always comes out on top no matter what he does, and Hikari is determined to do whatever it takes to beat this guy…somehow!

At age 6 Hikari lost to Kei in an impromptu wrestling match. Now, at 15, Hikari joins “Special A,” a group of the top seven students at a private academy, for the opportunity to trounce the guy who made her suffer her first defeat.

Silly and cute are the best descriptors for this one. Hikari introduces the readers to her school and the unusual class system. The seven students with the highest grade point averages have their own class, where most of them goof off. Hikari, however worked hard to get the second highest GPA and spends a lot of her time studying and challenging her rival, Kei. Hikari is energetic and extremely competitive. Kei is laid-back and barely has to try for his spot as number one in the class.

There’s not much of an overall plot so far. I think it’s mainly Hikari trying to beat Kei at everything and being totally oblivious to his feelings for her. The chapters all contain a different “story.” They cover the mid-term, a basketball competition, Kei’s birthday, and his rebellious little brother.

It’s immediately apparent that Kei has a thing for Hikari. She seems totally oblivious to this, which is pretty stereotypical of manga. The two of them catch some students stealing answers for the mid-term and Kei goes into a big spiel about how hard Hikari works to stay where she is. Later, in a basketball competition, Hikari wears herself out practicing. When she collapses during the game, Kei yells at her for trying so hard. It’s the first time she’s ever seen Kei worry about anything. Things get a little complicated when the class visits Akira’s villa, where they plan to celebrate Kei’s birthday. There, they meet Kei’s fiancée, Nagi, who Kei doesn’t seem to care for. Hikari, however, decides to befriend her, though I’m not too sure Nagi is feeling it. She and Kei’s brother make some comments about how often Kei talks about Hikari. Surely, she can’t stay in the dark about this too long. It’s so obvious.

Not sure about this one yet. I just got the second one, so we’ll see how it is.

Prude Filter: There’s nothing to worry about in this one. VIZ has it rated Teen.

Source: Homewood Public Library. Homewood, AL.
Purchase this book: Book Depository | IndieBound

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