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The Spring 2022 Manga Guide
Oh, Those Hanazono Twins

What's It About? 

Tatara Tani is so average it hurts—the only thing he has going for him is that his childhood friends are ultra-popular idol Yuriko Hanazono and her fashionable twin, Ranko Hanazono! They're both his classmates, and his long-standing relationship with them makes others seethe. So he thinks he's hit the jackpot when Yuriko asks him to the amusement park with her, even though idols aren't allowed to date. She dresses up as Ranko to fool the world, but when her ruse is discovered by the school, it's up to the REAL Ranko to save her sister's reputation...by dating Tatara herself? This crazy rom-com of errors begins!

Oh, Those Hanazono Twins has story and art by Nena Kitajima and English translation by Devon Corwin. Kodansha Comics released its first volume digitally for $10.99.

Is It Worth Reading?

Christopher Farris


It takes a minute to pinpoint what the actual 'plot' to Oh, Those Hanazono Twins (a title I can't help but read in the same tone as the final line spoken in Boney M.'s musical magnum opus "Rasputin") is. The opening pages suggest a standard back-and-forth love-triangle between our main boy Tatara and the titular twins, but then a couple odd, admittedly contrived swerves later, we find ourselves in a somewhat more compelling setup for a whirlwind shounen romance, already set to sustain some sort of ongoing, long-form story. Though I must admit some obvious bias in finding appeal in this one: If I were in Tatara's shoes, it'd be hard to complain about the scheme he gets embroiled in. "Oh no, you mean the only way to help my childhood friend is by pretending to be in a relationship with her hot, cool, gyaru twin sister? Oh jeez, oh darn, this is so inconvenient for me but I guess if we have to I'll manage somehow."

Despite theoretically splitting the focus of its appeal between the twin sisters, Ranko really steals the show, to the point of leaving this first volume feeling somewhat lopsided. She comes off like she's fun to be around and also having fun herself. She's the type who cares about her sister so much that she resolves to wingwoman for her despite liking the guy herself. She even kabe-dons Tatara at one point – how can you not love her? A lot of this overt focus on Ranko is on account of having to set up the fake-dating plot at the core of Oh, Those Hanazono Twins, so that's understandable. But as much as I do enjoy Ranko specifically, it still means we get hit with a sense of "Oh right, there's another twin in this story" when Yuriko starts putting in relevance again halfway through.

While the core plot is a decently clever setup, the story hasn't done much else extra interesting apart from provoking the readers to choose one of the twins as their personal Best Girl. These are still stupid kids in a shounen romance manga, so you're mostly watching plans get complicated by them being idiot teenagers with a plot-mandated lack of impulse control. There's a mildly novel result in one chapter necessitating a fake-dating pair having to make up after a real fight, but even that's predicated on Tatara pointedly being so dense he didn't even think of 'apologizing' as a solution. Meanwhile, it's expected in a story like this, but Tatara himself is a right vacuum of personality and charisma, exemplified in one scene where Ranko can't even pretend to come up with some appealing points about this particular potato when prompted. We get a little appealing insight into him by the end, notably that he's more attentive than we might have expected, but otherwise he's pure self-insert cipher. Can some people at least start drawing some of these boys with more distinguishing features?

Other than Tatara's bog-standard design, Nena Kitajima's art is carrying this one well. The composition can get cluttered in an almost impressively wild way – that is, whenever it isn't rendering outrageous schoolgirl anatomy or zooming around for fanservice shots at random intervals. Come on, everyone can tell the real charm points are some of the outrageous reaction faces supplied throughout this. That's another element that goes a long way in communicating that all-important personality, something that's once again perhaps too weighted in Ranko's favor this go-around. For Yuriko's part I think I mostly kept getting distracted by her odd oni-horn-esque hair clips. As a hormonal teenage-targeted rom-com, I can see this one doing the job, but that's mostly on account of the more novel than expected premise, with a bonus point awarded for how much I like Ranko.

Jean-Karlo Lemus


Tatara has been friends with the Hanazono twins, Yurika and Ranko, since they were children. Yurika has grown up to be an idol understudy, and Ranko has grown up to be a gyaru. When Yurika asks Tatara to go out with her, she tries to avoid scrutiny by disguising herself as Ranko, but this makes everyone think Ranko and Tatara are dating—so Ranko and Tatara keep up the façade. But how long will Ranko only pretend to love Tatara before it becomes the truth?

The story beats in Oh, Those Hanazono Twins are predictable, but they're nevertheless engaging. It's easy to tell from page one that the story will revolve around the subtle struggle between the Hanazono sisters as they both navigate their feelings for Tatara. It's a pity Tatara is such a dolt, but such is the demands of the genre. The emotions ring true, at least: when it's funny, it's funny. When it's pining, it's grabbing at the heartstrings. The art is effective but not particularly standout; it's a pity so many panels have no background when the characters are as cute as they are. Oh, Those Hanazono Twins doesn't look like it'll set the world on fire, but it's fun enough while it lasts.

Rebecca Silverman


Ranko and Yuriko are identical twins, which of course means that they have opposite personalities but both are in love with the same guy, their childhood pal Tatara. I feel like there are a lot of these stories even outside manga, and that can make this one feel a little bit stale. That's really the only major thing that could be termed a problem, though, because while there's not a ton going on, Oh, Those Hanazono Twins' first volume is a perfectly fine romance with mild fanservice elements about hot twins and the dorky childhood friend they both love.

Not that Ranko, the twin who grew up to be a gyaru, seems entirely aware of the fact. She ends up falling into fake-dating Tatara in an effort to help her sister, because Yuriko has become an idol and can't be seen in a romantic relationship. When Yuriko disguises herself as Ranko and a picture of her and Tatara is snapped, it's Ranko's quick thinking that saves her sister's career. It's not hard to suspect that she might have an ulterior motive for this, but if she does, it's not one she's necessarily aware of. Ranko may just be a bright, friendly person in general, and while we (and her friends) can see that she's into Tatara, she herself is less informed. Given her actions, there's a good chance that this is because she doesn't want to hurt Yuriko.

That leads to an entirely new problem, of course, and one that could, if handled well, drive the series nicely. That would be the fact that even if Yuriko and Tatara have mutual feelings, there's nothing they can do about it because of her work, so Ranko's kind gesture could end up being for naught and just leaving both sisters unhappy. It's awful that Yuriko is in the position where she has to choose between her ambitions and her love life, and don't get me started on the commodification of perceived purity, but it does work decently well in this case for plot purposes. It also helps that some of Ranko's ideas of what it means to be a couple are hilariously (mis)informed by shoujo manga tropes, and honestly, the one panel of Tatara trying to use her as a model in art class is almost worth buying the book for. Artistically my only real complaint is that the twins' breasts don't look like they fit on their bodies, but the whole thing still looks pretty good even with that caveat. This is, despite some deeper themes and a few odd issues, a perfectly fine fluffy rom-com, and one you should pick up if you enjoy the genre.

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