Read Special A, Vol. 04 by Maki Minami Free Online
Book Title: Special A, Vol. 04|
The author of the book: Maki Minami
Date of issue: May 6th 2008
ISBN 13: 9781421515694
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 572 KB
Edition: VIZ Media LLC
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SYNOPSIS: *Please note that this is a review for the entire series, comprised of 17 books*
Hikari Hanazono is not your typical high school girl. While she comes from a modest background, she strives to do her best at anything and everything to top her rival. After losing an impromptu wrestling match as a child, Hikari made it her life's goal to beat Kei Takishima, a wealthy child who is destined to work for the family business, any way possible. She is so determined, she enrolled in the same elite private school as Kei, and worked her way to be number 2 out of not just her class, but the entire school, making her a part of an elite group of 7 called Special A. For Hikari, it's not enough, as Kei is sitting pretty as number 1.
With her friends, Akira, Megumi, Jun, Tadashi, and Ryu along for the ride, Special A follows the comedic adventures of the top 7 students at Hakusenkan High- as Kei is forced to work for the family business, as Jun learns to love, as Megumi finds her voice, as Ryu discovers the hidden face of love, as Tadashi opens up, and as Hikari continues to fight for number 1!
REVIEW: Unlike YA novels, I do not know my favorite type of manga yet. I mostly pick manga based on what series has the first volume on my library's shelves.... It can be a hit or miss, but this was a hit.
Similar to Veronica Roth, the series has a fast pace to it, constantly creating new drama and plot twists that never let the series grow boring. Some things you could see coming, but others not so much. Either way, I was not bored, and the book did not have any prolonged focus on romances, which can be boring for me. The story was also relatable: a student striving for success with friend drama, as well as personal dramas.
With most manga, I have issue of telling characters apart; just when I think it's Person A talking, its Person R, a close look-a-like to Person A, and even when I can tell the characters apart (barely), I still cannot remember the long, authentic Japanese names. None of these issues came up in the series. Consistently, the series would use the formal last name AND informal first, which helped me remember the name as Hikari Hanazono, not Ms. Hanazono or just Hikari... something. Also, the art was very well done, allowing me to tell character differences by expression and hairstyle.
This leads me to the art, which was glorious! Much detail was taken in to the backgrounds (as pointed out by Minami in her novels), and outfits. I also enjoyed the sporadic and roaming quarter pages of commentary. How she talks about a pseudo burglary at her place while the gang is in some sort of peril added a sense of nonchalance that fit the series. It's about the adventure these characters take, rather than following the emotion of the drama.
While this all sounds like a great series, a few elements ruined the series for me. First was the panel styling. Many of the panels were overlapping, which led to a choppy flow of reading. Incredibly distracting and confusing, which stole from enjoying the series. Second, the focus could have been turned more towards other characters in the series. It is titled Special A, but the story mainly focuses on Hikari and Kei. I personally would have liked to learn more about what happened to Ryu and his lover before the conclusion, or whether Akira and her old friend could get along. It had more chapters on Hikari and Kei than any one S.A. member. Lastly, I was not a fan of outside girls, interfering with Kei and Hikari. I am not saying I was protective of Kei and Hikari, but I found it rather obnoxious. It was framed like the S.A. were a special elite group, which they were, and everyone else, who wasn't rich at least, was an outsider to the group. It was like the author had to put the characters on a pedestal to make the series work, which wasn't necessary. It seemed almost like the group was discriminatory towards anyone not of wealth, and when I say discriminatory, i mean they behaved like elitists rather than hateful. Hikari was an exception from an early age, mind you.
All in all, Special A was a comedic read that was pleasurable and realistic. It had good momentum until the end, and was interesting to see how the schooling system works in Japan. I would give it more stars if not for the misleading paneling.
I will now conclude with my favorite quote from page 10 of volume 12:
"Ryu: YOU DON'T GET TO PICK! And why a mountain?!!
Tadashi: A MOUNTAIN WOULD BE ANY GUY'S DREAM!!
Ryu: Go eat a s'more.
Tadashi: That's amore.
Read information about the authorShe is a Japanese manga author. She is best known as the author of manga series Special A.
In 2001, her short story Day Dream Believer (デイ・ドリーム・ビリーバー) received an Honourable Mention for Hakusensha's 25th Athena awards. She debuted in Hana to Yume's October 2001 issue with a short story titled Faraway Blue (彼方の青 Kanata no Ao).
Maki Minami's longest running series, Special A, began publication in 2003 and recently ended in 2009. Her current series, Seiyū ka-! began serialization in Hana to Yume in 2009, after the completion of Special A. Her recent works also include the oneshot Ane☆Mone Seikaten (アネ☆モネ 生花店), which appeared in the April 2009 edition of The Hana to Yume.
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