S A: SPECIAL A VOL. 1-3
ISBN: #1: 978-3-551-75491-2
#2 : 978-3-551-75492-9
Note: As the story lines for this series usually overlap volumes, I’m going to review the volumes I read back to back in one review. Also, the ISBN numbers are for the German edition. For the English manga, please click on the covers – it leads you right to Amazon.com. (By the way, the covers for the first two volumes are the same I have.)
When she was 6 years old, Hikari Hanazono lost for the first time. It was a wrestling match against Kei Takishima, the son of a friend of her father’s. Ever since then, Hikari’s goal has been to beat Kei at something – anything, in fact. To succeed, her parents allowed her to enter Hakusenkan, a private academy and the best school in the prefecture.
There, classes are divided into A through F based on grades. The seven best students of year one through three form a class called Special A. These students have privileges like a different school uniform, and optional class attendance only.
Of course, the challenges at Hakusenkan are not only between Hikari and Kei. The other students are constantly trying to beat the Special A students in order to become Special A’s themselves. There are competitions between the classes, and the Special A students are also challengeing each other every now and then.
While I was at first worried that the many major characters would be difficult to tell apart, I was soon relieved to see that Maki Minami manages quite well to distinguish the characters. The characters themselves all have their quirks. Hikari loves to fight even if she is too exhausted, because she loves to win. Akira insists on her tea hours in the afternoon, the twins love their music, Ryu grew up with the twins and is always worried for them, which sometimes leads to grades that do not reflect his intelligence, yet he always stays a member of the Special A. The headmaster’s son, Tadashi, who seems to make fun of most things. And, last but not least, Kei, who is the best in class without doing much. These characters are very likeable.
For the plot, Maki Minami always creates new challenges and adventures for the students. And even the romantic aspect doesn’t fall short in this shojo-manga (= manga for girls).