Reviewby MrAJCosplay/Cartoon Cipher,
The Girl I Want Is So Handsome!
It's the first day of school and Hinami Ayukawa has fallen in love at first sight with the rather handsome and well-endowed Shiki Hiiragi. Caught up in the moment, Hinami accidentally accepts Shiki's proposal to join the basketball team despite her lack in athletic ability. One botched confession later and Hinami is instead made the manager of said team and now has to juggle various responsibilities while hoping to get closer to her handsome upperclassman.
Like its title suggests, The Girl I Want Is So Handsome! is a very basic and straightforward manga. When I was given a chance to review this series, all I wanted was a sweet, gay romance between a shy and bubbly high school student and her cool athletic girlfriend, and that is exactly what I got. So at the bare minimum, the title is not misleading in any way, shape, or form. If all you're looking for from this volume is a relaxing afternoon read, then I think you'll be…mostly satisfied. But is there anything more beneath the surface of its very cute and wholesome presentation?
This volume is over 300 pages long – roughly the length of two manga volumes – but it's hard to say if a lot of ground is covered regarding the development of its central relationship. We get introduced to Hinami who falls in love at first sight with her cool and well-endowed Senpai with the latter eventually coming around to their feelings. There are some minor trials and tribulations that come specifically with communicating feelings and intentions to each other, but there are also some fun side characters that help provide additional insights that our main duo might've missed without them.
Many of the exchanges throughout the volume feel very natural and comedically charged without feeling forced; in fact, my biggest praise for this volume, aside from the very cute and playful artwork, does stem from the manga's sense of humor. It's VERY funny and I found myself laughing a good handful of times throughout my read thanks to certain character dispositions and well-timed reactions. The volume is definitely at its best when it's having these characters kind of make fun of each other, with Hinami's reactions and delusions specifically being a highlight. I actually wish there were more moments throughout the volume of everyone just hanging out together because by the end, it did feel like most of the other characters were just there to nudge things along even though all of them are given just enough characterization to make me long for more interactions between them.
The Girl I Want Is So Handsome! maintains a sense of light playfulness throughout, and although it doesn't dip too hard into melodrama for most of the run, it does get a little bit close towards the final quarter as the books sort of struggle to establish some kind of conflict. That is probably the biggest drawback of this manga. The conflicts it presents between our characters aren't necessarily bad, but there's just not a lot there at the foundational level to properly invoke the dramatic payoffs that I think it's aiming for. This is the most apparent with Shiki who, for about half the volume, doesn't really have much of a personality outside of them just really liking basketball.
When the main couple do get together, it's predicated on this idea of loneliness and yearning to have someone nearby; the problem, however, is that it also revolves around a character who we barely knew anything about before this point. I'm sitting here thinking that we're going to explore those feelings before Shiki and Hinami get together but instead, it almost feels like it became an excuse to have our sporty love interests just find something to latch onto for the sake of getting the couple together halfway through the book. I have a solid idea of Hinami's wants and desires even if I do think some of them are very shallow. She is sweet and is always looking to make other people happy. I do like her gimmick of fantasizing about things so much to the point where she thinks certain events play out differently than they actually do. Plus I'm not saying there isn't any chemistry whatsoever between our two leads as a couple. On the surface, they are very cute and affectionate – it's just that it doesn't feel like there was enough emotional real estate that went into them getting to that point. I wouldn't have minded waiting until the end of the volume for them to get together if we properly used the time to make that connection a bit more solid.
Despite introducing other dramatic elements, things do feel a bit stagnant later in the volume, almost like I accidentally skipped a few chapters of a much longer story. These more dramatic moments could've been played up more to lean into the fact that these characters don't know much about each other since getting together and maybe that could've been the impetus for their relationship to be stronger. But instead, it just kind of comes down to the two affirming feelings that they had always had. It just doesn't necessarily feel earned. So overall while The Girl I Want Is So Handsome! definitely avoids a lot of the problematic tropes that have infested many other Yuri and shoujo romances, what we're left with is so barebones that it doesn't feel nearly as appetizing as I think it wants to be. While I did walk away mostly enjoying my time with the material, I do believe the author could've spent more time properly establishing more genuine romantic connections the same way that they established those lighter and more comedic ones between the characters. It is a very pretty and at times funny package, but there also isn't enough to solidly ground things for any kind of long-standing impact.
Overall : B-
Story : C
Art : B
+ Very cute and playful artwork, very funny main character
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