Takane & Hana is a fairly cute and humorous romance story. Hana is 16 and was talked into going to an arranged marriage meeting for her sister so that her family could save face with her father’s employee. Takane is 26 and heir to one of the largest conglomerates in Japan. Takane knows right away that Hana isn’t who she’s supposed to be, and makes it his mission to “get back” at Hana. His evil plan? Take her on adventures and have witty repartee. Hana is along for the ride, considering Takane has power over her father’s continued employment. The two go back and forth trading humiliations and trying to get back at the other, and their antics are quite funny. However, since this is a romance, you can bet that they will start to soften and care for each other over the course of the series.
So, let’s get past the obvious age gap. In Japan, 16 year olds are legally allowed to get married. The age of consent for most prefectures is somewhere between 16-18, with the youngest being 13. So, having a 16 year old date a 26 year old would not raise eyebrows as it does here in the States. Now that we’re passed that, let’s talk about the book. Shiwasa’s illustrations are clear and detailed with characters drawn in a very crisp style. Each character is distinguishable by more than just their hair style and color. Shiwasa’s humor shines through in the characters, but also fun little fourth-wall breaks. Her writing of her two main characters is also really solid. The relationship that is growing between Hana and Takane is fun and engaging. The mangaka is turning a lot of shojo stereotypes on their heads with this story. Hana is not the doe-eyed innocent. She has spunk and can dish it just as well as she takes it. Takane isn’t the most confident heir-to-the-throne that you might expect. He’s vulnerable and witty. This is sure to be a story that shook fans will adore and gobble up greedily.
VIZ rates this for teens, and the first volume reveals nothing that would make this unsuitable for ages 13+.
Sara’s rating: 9/10
Suitability level: grades 8-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Edelweiss.
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Realistic Fiction, Romance
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