|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.
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|
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!
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.