Hana-Kimi (Volume 10)
by Hisaya Nakajo
Award-winning fashion photographer Akiha Hara wants Izumi, Nakatsu and Mizuki for his new photo shoot! But the handsome, bisexual Akiha may have a more than professional interest in his models. And has he figured out that Mizuki is a girl? Caught in the treacherous, seductive world of high fashion, can our heroes escape… if they even want to?
I had to break down an buy this volume because my library has random volumes in this series missing. It’s pretty frustrating. Luckily, I found it at 2nd and Charles, so I didn’t have to pay $10 for it. I always feel like that’s a bit much for manga, but I suppose all those graphics are expensive to print.
This volume focuses on Akiha, the photographer that ropes Mizuki and the boys into a shoot. It’s just to test the waters, he says. Most of the boys seem keen to go ahead with the real deal, but Sano is worried that Akiha knows Mizuki is a girl and he has to help protect her secret. When Mizuki spends some time getting to know Akiha and hears the way he talks about photography she decides she wants to model for him. Sano feels like he needs to protect her and grudgingly acknowledges that he just wants to be near her as much as possible, so he decides that if she’s going to model he will too. But complications arise with the shoot. Mizuki and the boys might have a new enemy. The plot stayed on track the whole time, and that made me enjoy this volume more than the last couple.
There are some adorable moments with Mizuki and Sano. Akiha delivers the same photo to each of them in an envelope. It’s a photo of the two of them together smiling. He SO knows what’s going on there. I have to agree that they’re pretty transparent, but for whatever reason none of their friends see it. Of course, they also think Mizuki is a guy so maybe they just put the possibility out of there mind. After all, Sano is as straight as they come. There’s actually a moment when I thought Sano might tell Mizuki he knows she’s a girl. Alas, it’s not time for that yet. Akiha really interested me in this volume. It’s rare for me to care too much about supporting characters when there’s a romantic development going on. Still, I really enjoyed Akiha’s character. At first there seemed to be something mysterious about him and I worried he was going to do something to ruin everything. After his conversation with Mizuki about his passion for photography, I kind of loved him. By the end, I was excited about him and I hope I can look forward to more of him in the future.
This volume ends by leading into the next story. Io, Umeda’s sister, has recruited Umeda, Mizuki and the boys to clean up a house for her so she can have a party there. When they arrive it’s a complete disaster and it might even be haunted. I guess I get to look forward to a ghost story in the next volume. Now… if I can just track it down somewhere.
This volume gained back my interest, which has been waining through the last few. I’m still frustrated with how slow Mizuki and Sano’s relationahip is developing, but I really enjoyed the new character, Akiha.
Content: Mild profanity, semi-nudity
VIZ Media, 2006
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