Takane to Hana is a surprisingly engaging romance featuring a very unusual love interest. I found I wanted to keep reading just to see where the author was going to take this different kind of shoujo story. The first volume takes time to set up the romance and then future volumes expand the world and introduce a slew of new character and conflicts for our pair.
Story: Hana’s sister is perfect – someone who always attracts the right kind of guys. But when a wealthy customer convinces her to go on an Omiai for an arranged marriage, she wants to back out at the last minute. Thus Hana, much younger and still in high school, takes her sister’s place if only so she can turn down the customer’s young son for marriage. But Hana’s refusal to put up with Takane – the young son – and his rudeness unwittingly draws his interest. Now Hana is stalked by the older conglomerate heir – and she has no idea what to do with him.
Takane is amusing – very similar in some ways to Doumyouji from Boys Over Flowers in that he is both self centered but also a bit unsure at the heart. Hana is grounded but quirky, a good foil for Takane as a result. The story flows easily and it is always amusing to see what Takane is going to say in his awkward asocial way. And each time Hana has to deal with him while also realizing he’s kind of cool, too, in his own conceited way.
It’s a good story and I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes in future volumes.