So, Viz announced that they will be re-releasing one of the their titles, Kawahara Kazune’s High School Debut (Koukou Debut) as a 3-in-1 omnibus.
HSD is one of my absolute favorite shojo titles. It’s a story about understanding that it’s OK to be yourself and how there’s more to friendship than just good times. Haruna, the female lead, is sweet, funny, earnest, and completely lovable, even if painfully gullible sometimes. She doesn’t start out as the best role model as she’s pinning her happiness on finding a man, but her journey toward understanding herself and realizing that she doesn’t need to change herself to be suitable for a relation is encouraging and something that all young girls should be exposed to as early in life as possible. Throughout the story, her friends help and hinder her progress toward her set goal and in doing so, present some interesting lessons for both Haruna and themselves to learn.
At first glance, the rest of the cast seems to be a line up of your usual shojo suspects; the cool, quiet, aloof guy; the chubby, but lovable guy; the wisecracking guy; the girly, seemingly shallow temptress; and reserved and mature girl. But that’s only on first glance. Kawahara does a wonderful job at writing characters who are much more that the archetypes they represent. Each character stands out as an individual and multifaceted personality and how they interact with Haruna and each other brilliantly reflects the variety amongst them.
I lent my collection to my friend, a few books at a time, and I was happy to see that she enjoyed Haruna and her friends as much as I did and wanted to keep going. I don’t remember where I read it, but it seems that High School Debut is a highly recommended title for school libraries. I think that’s pretty awesome. I would recommend this title to anyone, but especially to young girls or anyone who has a young daughter, niece, or family friend.
Come February 2014, the first omnibus should be hitting the shelves. If they’re working from the original Japanese segmentation, the series should run about five volumes, but if they are working from their previous 13-volume release, that would probably be four. If we’re lucky, they’ll include Long-Distance Love Debut (Enren Debut), a one shot about Haruna, now a high school senior, and her first-year college student beau to round out the new collection.
I don’t know if I’m going to collect the omnibus volumes since I already have Viz’s original 13. However, if they include the one shot I mentioned or other extras, I just might be convinced.