Review: Special A [2003]


Manga-ka: Maki Minami
Tankoubons: 17
Publisher: Hakusensha
Magazine: Hana to Yume

Plot (wikipedia):
Hikari Hanazono has always been second to Kei Takishima. When they were six years old, their pro-wrestling loving fathers introduced them to each other. Assuming that she was the best in wrestling, young Hikari challenged Kei to a wrestling match only to be thoroughly defeated by him. Ever since that fateful incident, Hikari swore to beat Kei in school grades, sporting events or any competition. To do this, she has enrolled in the same school as Kei since elementary. Now she attends Hakusenkan, an ultra elite school for the wealthy, that costs her carpenter father a lot of money. Hikari and Kei are the top two students in the school, with Kei holding firmly to that number one position. While Hikari considers Kei to be a rival and important friend, she is completely unaware that Kei is in love with her.
The series primarily focuses on Hikari and her constant attempts to defeat her one and only rival, Kei, and how she finds love in their rivalry. However, Special A also follows the stories of the other five members of the S.A class – Akira Toudou, Tadashi Karino, Megumi and Jun Yamamoto, and Ryuu Tsuji – and their relationships. Yahiro Saiga and Sakura Ushikubo, two students from the rival academy Kokusen, also become recurring characters in the series.

I Say…

Takishima Kei will follow Hanazono Hikari to the depths of the earth… and there’s no stopping him at all. So much like Domyouji Tsukasa’s love for Makino Tsukushi, right? Special A is very comparable to Hana Yori Dango, made less stressful. They have a very similar plot, setting and conflict although not as extravagant like the later. I think the most lavish activity Takishima prepared for Hanazono would have to be her trips to London and Australia.

Although it’s a very dragging manga, and Hanazono Hikari drove me nuts I will still recommend Special A to you. I’ve never felt more youthful after reading this! The story is very light and very predictable, yet you can’t stop reading. I’m just not into dark-themed mangas at the moment. It makes life even more depressing. So Special A is the perfect stress buster.

If you thought HanaDan is cool, you might want to give Special A a try. It’s much shorter and you won’t have to worry about witnessing love quarrels from this.