As the eldest of six kids and a tomboy to boot, Kazuha has trouble feeling like a “real girl” sometimes. Her little brother’s preschool teacher, however, has always treated her like a girl and because of that she has a large crush on him. If only his annoying friend Sugimoto wasn’t always hanging around and telling Kazuha how beautiful she is.
I’m a sucker for romance anyway, so this story was right up my alley. At first I was disappointed that Sugimoto’s feelings were out in the open from the beginning, as I usually like the strong silent type. But Sugimoto’s openness is his strength and I came to see that along with Kazuha. Hidaka avoids much of the creepiness of an older guy (24) falling for a teenage girl (17) by making Sugimoto a complete gentleman. He never tries to take advantage of Kazuha, but still manages to show her his feelings. Kazuha is a strong character also, fitting for an oldest child of a large family. I liked how she begins to be more aware of the mechanics of adult life, like jobs and relationships. The portrayal of Kazuha’s family dynamics also rang true, judging from my best friend’s stories of growing up in a large family.
The only issue I had with this title was the art. Hidaka’s style is not the usual fluffy haired bishonen. Her characters almost all have stick straight hair and rather plain, though expressive faces. The heights of the characters vary, making it difficult sometimes to get a sense of their actual forms. These are minor quibbles, however, and they soon fade in the light of Hidaka’s sweet story. Romance fans will be eager for the next volume to see where Kazuha and Sugimoto and their friends and families are headed.
I Hate You More Than Anyone, vol. 1