Manga Review: Riko to Haru to Onsen to Iruka (Volume 1)

Spoiler warning

Author: Hijiki
Year: 2011
Length: 3 volumes (1 volume translated)
Status: ongoing 
Scanlation Group: Yuri Project, Fallen Syndicate 
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, Yuri
Story: 7/10
Due to her mother’s work, Riko is forced to move from the big city to the countryside where some of her relatives live. At fist she’s not very happy about this change of place, because for her the countryside sounds like a boring place that just doesn’t feel like home. Fortunately her cousin Haru immediately makes friends with her and even invites her to join the “Iruka Club”, whose members are famous all over Irukawa. By getting dragged along and entering this club, life suddenly doesn’t seem so lonely and boring anymore and the more people she gets to know, the more she learns to love the new place she’s now living in.
This is a pretty easy-going manga, nothing really serious happens and most of the time we only see our main characters having fun and messing around with each other. To be honest, it’s not that interesting, nor does it have an intriguing story. It’s just a light and funny slice of life that shows us the work of the Iruka Club. 

I think I make it sound like this is a totally boring story and don’t get me wrong, for some people this will definitely be the case, but for me this was a real pleasant read. This is one of the stories that I could read for hours without getting bored. The pacing is nice, the characters are fun and best of all, the story is very light and cute.
(from left to right) Kuramoto, Aoi, Akane, Haru, Riko
Characters: 8/10
For me, the characters are probably the strongest point of this manga; we have outstandingly beautiful Riko, always overexcited and bubbly Haru and the weird twins Aoi and Akane. At first glance that doesn’t really seem like a very special combination, but trust me, it really is.  Even though they only go out to work in the fields, have a little club meeting or simply walk a dog, weird and sometimes even hilarious occurrences keep on happening.
Oh and Akane is a Yandere…
And since 2 out of the 3 people Riko is really close with have a crush on her, we can actually say that she already has a real harem that we can be sure to see growing in volume 2 as well!
The only thing I probably don’t like is the fact, that Riko is the center of attention almost all the time; at home, when hanging out with friends, in school and even when meeting complete strangers, Riko is always standing in the spotlight. And there are two reasons for that. First she just moved there from a big city, so of course people are interested, but the main reason for her popularity is her look. I have to add that I can actually empathize since I feel the same. Riko is probably one of the most beautiful characters in manga I’ve ever seen, so maybe her popularity really makes sense in the end.
Art: 10/10
Yet again this is another stunningly beautiful manga and we can definitely see that the artist put most effort in depicting two things; I already said that but it’s still worth to mention it again, Riko is absolutely gorgeous. So the whole design of Riko would be number one, while number two would be the display of Irukawa. In the whole first volume Haru does her best to show Riko the most exciting and beautiful places in all Irukawa and she’s definitely not only succeeding in getting Riko excited about this place but she’s also showing us readers what a nice and beautiful village Irukawa must be.
Yuri: 5/10
Personally I wouldn’t call this a yuri manga since so far the genre isn’t used in a very serious way but rather as a comedy element. Still some characters really tend to let their sexuality and sometimes even their perverseness show a little too often (yes I’m talking about you Akane!) but even so, all in all I enjoyed the little “yuri outbursts” this manga has in store for you quite a lot. I’m now only hoping to see some more real and serious yuri actions in the following volumes.
Furthermore, and maybe that’s completely irrelevant to most of you, there is not even one important male character so far. So maybe that’s just an advantage for the real hardcore yuri fans among you or the ones that only want to see cute girls doing cute stuff. At least I wasn’t influenced by this in any kind of way.
Riko’s naked body is very effective

Total enjoyment: 8/10

Riko to Haru doesn’t come with a very interesting plot nor does it have any kind of serious yuri action involved, yet I still loved it. It was enjoyable to read in a way you can relax while reading and just have some nice laughs. So should you read it? If you’re a fan of slice of life and cute girls doing cute stuff, this manga is absolutely right for you. But if you’re expecting some yuri romance and a more serious story, stay away from this one, because that’s just not what it’s about.


11 thoughts on “Manga Review: Riko to Haru to Onsen to Iruka (Volume 1)

  1. Many raging otaku boners were had thanks to Riko. Hopefully they'll fit her into a bikini in Volume 2. Also, give us an Akane “wet dream” scene. Heaven knows Akane's lust is a highlight of the manga for me.


  2. I absolutely approve of Riko in a bikini and some nice perverted yandere dreams. For some reason I think, we might be lucky and see at least one of the two happening in volume 2.


  3. > “Dolphin Club”

    Always sad to see a bad translation prevail. It's the Iruka club, short for Irukawa. That it also means dolphin is a pun but they don't actually *call themselves* Dolphin club.


  4. My bad, I read the releases done by Fallen Syndicate. I already heard that their translation is not that good but I never really knew why, so thanks for telling me this.
    Will fix this right away.


  5. It's really my kind of manga: cute girls doing cute stuff with no male intervention, lot of laughs and so. I love it so far but i had to left some chapters in queue because in the wait i get anxious and start craving for more… Anyway, yeah a good read so far.


  6. My condolences. I'm usually not an art snob but the artwork in this series is really amazing; the characters, the environments, the fashion… The work that went into it is stunning if you start looking at the details. Reading those scans is like touring the Louvre dead-drunk.


  7. Oh yes I know what you mean, waiting for new chapters can be hard… Sometimes it even takes so long that you forget half of the important stuff that happened in the previous chapters.


  8. SPOILER ALERT Comment:

    I had ordered volume 4 (final) a while back and Chapter 21 had a scene where Riko gave Haru a kiss (cause Haru said that a kiss would heal her cold), so Yuri coexists with strong friendship in this case. Just posting for the sake of posting.


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