Title: Seiho Boys’ High School
Author: Kaneyoshi Izumi
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volumes 3 and 4 (ongoing), $9.99 each
Vintage: 2007 by Shogakukan in Japan, December 2010 and February 2011 (respectively) by Viz Media
Genre: Comedy, school life, slice of life, romance
Seiho Boys’ High School is a secluded private boys’ school located on an island only accessible by a long train ride or a ferry that only arrives two times a day. As a result of being so cut off from the outside world, the boys of Seiho High School, who are at that age when their hormones go wild, are girl crazy and desperate for female attention. Unfortunately, their lack of interaction with the opposite sex has left many of them tactless and especially awkward around girls, unused to having to curb their thoughts for the gentler sex. A new year is about to begin, ushering in a new crop of first years, and the boys are busy planning the welcoming festivities. Each year puts on a play at this time of year, which, oddly enough, tend to be romances, and our lovable cast plans to perform Snow White. Wanting desperately to win (because it will allow their dorm to afford a new air conditioner), the boys reach out to Fuyuka and ask her to pretend to be a boy and play Snow White to Kamiki’s Prince. With Kamiki as the prince, she can’t refuse. Kamiki isn’t the only one experiencing a little drama, as Maki has become taken with a local surfer girl. Misunderstanding a conversation between the girl and Kamiki, Maki ends up feeling jealous of his friend and a rift forms between them. Once that’s cleared up, he can focus on the girl of his dreams again…until he learns that her name is Erika, the same name of the girl he used to be in love with. The relationship troubles continues when the boys learn that school nurse Fukuhara is quitting. Enraged by the circumstances surrounding Fuku’s decision, Nogami blunders his way through getting his feelings across to convince Fuku to stay. With the support of his friends, Maki finally attempts to ask Erika out, only to find out that she’s a hardcore yaoi fangirl.
That brings us straight to volume 4 and Maki’s first date with Erika. He double dates with Fuyuka (Erika’s best friend) and Kamiki for backup, but ends up being brutally trained by Erika to surf in the local cove. With his adrenaline pumping from a thrilling ride on a wave, Maki almost gives in to the moment, but quickly reminds himself that he and Erika are only temporarily dating. Even so, Maki finds himself becoming more interested in what sort of person Erika is, and he doesn’t want her to go away. While Maki’s love life is looking up, Kamiki’s roommate, Genda, finds himself dumped by his girlfriend of two years, who claims to have fallen for someone else. When the boys learn the truth about the mystery man, they gang up to save the girl and patch up Genda’s relationship, though it takes some drastic measures to get the introverted Genda to be forthright with his feelings. Meanwhile, Fuyuka grows desperate to gain Kamiki’s attention, even going so far as to enlist the help of Hanai. Hanai jealously tries to convince Fuyuka to give up on Kamiki, but eventually decides to give her a complete makeover and teach her how to be the type of girl boys want. Fuyuka starts attracting the attention of just about every boy but Kamiki, however, who recognizes her new behavior as an act. The tables turn when Kamiki’s sister, Mana, visits again, and Kamiki asks Fuyuka to pretend to be his girlfriend so his sister won’t be worried. Unfortunately, Mana can easily perceive that things aren’t what they seem, but Fuyuka has observed one or two things herself.
Seiho doesn’t take itself too seriously most of the time, but when it does, it can easily tug at your heart. And when it’s not about to move you to tears or warm your heart, it’s making you laugh out loud. It’s easy to fall in love with this series, and it’s easy to fall in love with the characters. The series doesn’t try to hide away the unpleasantness, either. When Fuku finds herself being threatened by the school, she decides to quit her job for Nogami’s sake. She realizes that her feelings for him could harm his position at the school and his future. Even Nogami realizes this, but in the end, he’s able to prove to Fuku that she hasn’t done anything wrong, and that ultimately, it’s his life so he should get to choose what to do with it, not her. For being so absurdly tactless, foulmouthed, blunt, and short tempered, Nogami is surprisingly mature in a weird way, and easily my favorite of the Seiho boys. Then we have Maki, who thinks that falling for another girl will cheapen his feelings for the girl in his past. In the end, he realizes that he can have another relationship without forgetting his first love, partly because he realizes that his lost love would want him to be happy. With Kamiki, we see him taking advantage of Fuyuka’s feelings for him, though not on purpose. He’s just that dense. When it’s pointed out to him, he immediately sees the problem and regrets his actions. What’s more disturbing is his sister Mana, who is clearly trying to manipulate him into a state of dependency. It’s not all roses, however, as Izumi writes Hanai a little oddly this volume. He gets down right vicious in his jealousy over Kamiki, being flat out rude to Fuyuka. Though in the end his interference ends up working out in a warped sort of way, my initial reaction to his behavior was one of shock, because up until that point, the boys had been friendly and caring. All of a sudden, Hanai started acting like hyena, and his warped view of women as cute objects is in direct contrast to the other boys, who tend to like lively girls (and given that he’s gay, his idea of what boys want in their girls is a little suspect). It did, however, lead to a nice scene where Fuyuka decided she’d had enough of being the “perfect girl” and really told those boys how it is (essentially, if you want a cute girlfriend man up and do things for yourself instead of looking for a “perfect” girl to cook, clean, and look cute for you). The boys of Seiho are slowly growing up, and the girls (who are in the story a surprisingly large amount of time for one centered on a secluded all boys’ school) are, too, so I look forward to where Izumi will take her readers.
Thanks to the Manga Critic for gifting me with a copy of volume 4!