Manga Review: The Flower and the Star

Hanai (left), Haru (right)
Author: Suzukin Kario
Length: 2 Volumes
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, School Setting, Table Tennis, Yuri
Scanlation Group: Lililicious, Yuri Project
Story 7/10 and Characters 8/10:
This manga is unique for the fact that it all revolves around a sport that I have probably never seen much in anime and manga before. However, the actual story that “The Flower and the Star” tells is not all that unique if you ask me. So on the one hand we have Hanai, who’s only talent has always been her table tennis skills and who’s seemingly been praised by her parents only when playing well. On the other hand we have Haru, a girl that’s maybe a little too socially clueless and thus always ends up causing misunderstandings for others. These two are pretty different from one another, but they have one thing in common and that is playing table tennis.
Hanai has always been practicing very hard and has always eagerly tried to win matches to make her parents proud. Up until she had to face Haru in a match, she mostly won all the matches and even bigger tournaments. However as soon as she loses against Haru, she suddenly can’t win a single match anymore and since these feeling of defeat keep haunting her, she soon after completely quits table tennis, blaming Haru for all of her bad luck.

But just in the beginning of a new school year the two of them accidentally meet again and even end up in the same class. Of course Hanai is not very happy about that outcome and the fact that Haru even seems to stalk and make fun of her almost drives her crazy.
One of the best aspects of this manga is probably the hilarious interactions of the two main characters. It’s just so funny seeing Hanai try so hard to have a normal high school life, just to have Haru ruining all her chances to do so, by simply trying to get closer to her. These two are really a great comedy duo since they (at least in the beginning) just can’t understand one another. So while Hanai always thinks that Haru is just trying to make fun of her the whole time, it’s just her way of behaving in order make friends with her secret crush. Hanai on the other hand always reacts way too over to top whenever she feels like Haru might be messing with her. It’s really hilarious and one of the strongest points of this manga.


Still their misunderstandings slowly decrease throughout the course of time and they get to know each other better, but with the appearance of another great character, things between Haru and Hanai start to heat up again. Chika is a senpai from a higher class and one of Haru’s childhood friends and even after years in which they haven’t seen each other, the two of them are just as close as they’ve been before and maybe even closer? And that’s where the problems begin…
This is not the first manga in which something like this happens and I’m probably also not the only one with this opinion, but I was really rooting for Chika and Haru instead of Haru and Hanai. Nonetheless this manga made it pretty obvious who was gonna end up with whom, so the way things eventually turned out didn’t really bother me that much . Still I was a little sad seeing Chika being all hopeful about the outcome and then just getting her heart broken. I really think she didn’t deserve that and even though she had her bitchy moments throughout this manga, she’s still kind of my favorite out of all three and in my opinion a better match for Haru than Hanai.
Art 6/10:
I don’t really think that this art is any kind of special, but it also not bad, it’s just meh. Still there were some panels that really stood out artwise.
page example, click to enlarge
Yuri 9/10:
It’s a manga with only 3 important characters, 2 out of which are lesbians and the last one is at least bi-sexual, sounds promising huh?
So to put it simple, we have Haru’s one-sided feelings for Hanai and Chika’s one-sided feelings for Haru. That alone leaves space for some great yuri. And in addition to that, we also have indecisive Hanai, who does neither understand her own feelings, nor those of the ones that have a crush on her. And what does all of that mean? It means that we will get to see some nice yuri drama! 
The Ending:
Yet again, another great yuri manga came to a way too abrupt and rushed end. I remember some days ago, when I found out that the 11th chapter was going to be the last one, I was really surprised. I mean it didn’t really have many important characters, in fact we only had three and the story was also neither complex nor did it lead me to the assumption that it would get a little more intricate. But sill, the way this all ended left me feeling unsatisfied, like the author left out some important parts of the story and just cut it short to get it over with. 
Of course it’s nice to see a happy end for both Haru and Hanai, but at the same time I feel like their relationship suddenly happened out of nowhere, especially when considering Hanai’s prior attitude towards Haru. Their misunderstandings decreased but for some reason I just can’t get myself to believe that the two of them will really work out as a couple and stay together for longer than let’s a few months. But then again that’s just how I feel about it.
And just as mentioned above, I also feel pretty sad for Chika. She was probably more cut out to be Haru’s girlfriend, even though it is sad, yet quite believable for the latter to only love Chika as a sister. Still I think her love felt like it was much stronger, at times even desperate, so I would almost say she deserves to be with Haru more than Hanai does. But that’s probably not how I should put it, so let’s just say she would most likely be a better match for Haru.
Total Enjoyment 8/10:
Some of you might disagree with me when I tell you that I think, that this manga would make a perfect yuri anime, well at least if it wasn’t so short that is. But seriously, I think this manga had it all; interesting characters, nice drama, great comedy and an unique setting, so why not? It’s not like we have a lot of anime about table tennis to begin with. Well, I actually don’t know about that, but I’m pretty sure there can’t be many. But anyway, the only thing that really bothered me about this manga, is the ending. I was expecting so much more to happen, like more character development and in general just an ending that would actually match the greatness of this manga.

17 thoughts on “Manga Review: The Flower and the Star

  1. I have to admit that before I discovered your blog, I was unaware that Yuri even existed. Thanks to your thorough reviews and infectious enthusiasm, I've become aware of this topic and my interest continues to grow. I hope to keep reading more of your insight. Keep up the good work. 🙂


  2. I have to disagree with your opinion on the ending, Hanai's attraction to Hoshino is apparent fairly early on if you read it carefully so this doesn't come out of left field and doesn't look like some short-lived whim on Hanai's side.

    And of course it wasn't a surprise they'd end up together, considering the title already spells that out (i.e. flower = hana, star = hoshi). Speaking of names, Hoshino's first name is Shiori, Haru is a pet name exclusively used by Chika so reading it all the time here was a bit strange. (And you also spelled Hanai Hanoi somewhere while I'm already picking nits).

    I also don't think Chika would've been better for Hoshino. Sure, Hanai is dense and a bit of a jerk but she challenged Hoshino while Chika wanted her to stay the sickly, overweight child without ambitions who only had her to rely on. Chika did deserve a better ending though than having her stay the rival who didn't get over her first love after all.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on Notes from the Garden of Lilies.


  3. Good that you mention it, my writing program always changed Hanai into Hanoi and it's not even a German word 😛
    Anyway, I'll fix it right away.

    Oh and I used Haru because that's how she was mostly called, well even though only Chika called her Haru-chan, but I think it would have felt weird to write “Shiori”.

    You're also right about the fact that Hanai had some feelings for Haru pretty early, but I would say that she was just too confused about it all, so I think the fact that Hanai accepted Haru's feelings so easily was what surprised me the most.


  4. I don't have much to say for this one, it totally met my expectations. Liked the end except for the part of Chika being stuck, but she'll be over it in no time, you'll se (?). Well… i didn't really liked the art for this one, but maybe i'm just used to all that overly cute, moe stuff i like to read. And i agree with the anon, let us hear your opinion on that GLORIOUS extra for Notes from the garden of lilies!


  5. Notes from the Garden of Lilies will probably be my next review, but I will have to go through that one again and read that glorious extra at least two more times 😉


  6. I'll make this a short and sweet comment that sums up my upcoming YMC on this manga: I disliked all the girls from beginning to end. All of them were either grouchy, dimwitted or plain unlikable.

    I could go on a long tangent about why the three main characters suck but I don't think you'd have the time to read it.


  7. A kiss was probably planned for a special that in the end never happened.
    Or maybe the author just didn't want to cross the line.
    I often wonder why they don't add something like this, because everyone was waiting for it.


  8. and at the end everyone is with that sencaion vacuum or disappointment that is what happens with this manga in the end.

    It will be because of time or something, but in this case was perfectly fine a kiss at the end, but the author ended with a joke.
    With Haru ran from the first date, but that chapter is annoying me because for some reason the author did not put a kiss.


  9. I have to agree with the earlier comment that you were unfair towards Hanai. I think she was very kind to Hoshino considering she ruined the one thing Hanai felt confident in and enjoyed doing. I also don’t think we can blame Hanai for being insecure when that is how the writer wanted her to be. I symphatize with Chika and I felt it was cool seeing her and Hanai being so kind and graceful to each other in spite of them being rivals. Regardless though, the fault for her ending up brokenhearted as well as Hanai’s insecurity lie with the author, since neither were necessary to the story: a love triangle really is the laziest way to inject drama in a romance and it was subtly hinted that Hanai lost that match to Hoshino because she was lovestruck. This story could have been much more in my opinion if it had been more important to it’s author than the afterword showed it to be. If it had been, more effort might have been put into the exploration of the characters and their relationship. For one thing it is a gigantic waste that they gave Hanai this insecurity but didn’t make her evolve into a more confident person. I think an author has a responsability towards their characters, when you burden a character with things like this you should give them an arc that allows them to grow, that is where a story comes from after all. While the author did have her win that match against Chika that was ostensibly about winning Hoshino and had her enjoy playing again I feel that was the easy way out. Instead they could have had her win an important match against Hoshino (but that was never going to happen since it was clear the author’s intention was to exploit the tiresome cliché of the insecure brunette and the blonde superwoman), they could have had Hanai enjoy her schoollife as she had intended and find confidence in herself from a source other than the need to win (but that would have involved more time and effort than the author was willing to put in), they could have had her discover other talents, they could have had her do something for herself in defiance of het parents… Any of these things would have turned a very cliché story into something more substantial and allowed for more exploration of both girls and their relationship.
    Hoshino herself is also sadly neglected. Like any perfect character she is extremely boring when not seen in relation to Hanai. Apart from her perfectness and her quirky akwardness there is very little exploration of her personality. We have her hang around Chika, then she fall in love with Hanai and after that an entire change happens during which she apparently overcomes her overweight and becomes an ace player which we know nothing about. We know next to nothing about Hoshino apart from apparently her life for the past (five?) years having revolved around becoming good enough at table-tennis to get Hanai to notice her. It’s ironic that Hanai complains about being empty while she has at least the start of a (mostly very unoriginal) character exploration while Hoshino is largely an empty shell. I guess I wrote a rather extensive comment, but I guess I am just dissapointed that we have here a few fairly likeable though clichéd and barely explored characters in a story that had the potential to rise above itself provided the author had cared enough about it.


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