Hana & Hina After School Vol. 2 Review

 

hana and hina after school 2

Bad season for yuri anime? GOOD season for yuri manga in English!

Having become friends after being thrown together at work, in volume two Hana and Hina become closer, with all important first visits to each others home in the offing. Hina, though, is experiencing discomfort over her growing affection for the other girl, especially as she is well-aware of the romantic nature of her feelings. Trying to save herself from the pain she believes would be inevitable, she resolves to quit her job and tries to put space between herself and Hana. Meanwhile, the latter encounters Maiko, a model who used to be close with Hina – and Hana is put into a bit of a tailspin when Maiko identifies herself as Hina’s ex.

This manga continues to be as delightful as I found the first volume. While there’s lots of the standard stuff of high school yuri going on, I appreciate the tweaks on the formula – having one of the leads be entirely clear-eyed about her feelings is a nice change of pace, and it seems like Hana’s heading toward totally getting it, too. There’s a nice moment where Hina’s self-awareness is demonstrated when she hurriedly declares, “I’m not interested in boys!” during a conversation – she tries to walk it back a bit, but its clearly not because she doubts its truth – she’s just unsure about how other people will react. She’s got an ex! And, unlike in previous Morinaga titles, that ex is an ex-girlfriend. Perhaps we may get a hint of queer identity in the future…? (Admittedly, I’m not really holding my breath.)

Speaking of the ex – oh, Maiko’s great. Actually, she’s a bit terrible; she assumes that since Hana knows her name, it means she wants an autograph, and foists one on her before the other girl can correct her. She also makes a bit of a show of finding it so darn pesky to be recognized by the public! Exes as plot complications is rather old hat and I usually have little patience for it, but Maiko’s bluntness about the nature of her prior relationship with Hina is pretty refreshing.

If you liked the first volume, there’s absolutely no reason you won’t enjoy the second. And for those who haven’t gotten around to picking up this series, this volume cements it as worthwhile – Morinaga’s beats here are just different enough where the details are concerned to her previous work to make this a fresh read. It’s nice to see some evolution out of her, even if it is subtle.

 

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