Reverse harem is a huge subset of the shojo manga genre, and mangaka Anashin’s Waiting for Spring has a bishounen cast made up of basketball players Read on for the review of Volume 1!
Back Cover Blurb
Mizuki is a shy girl who’s about to enter high school, and vows to open herself up to new friendships. Of course, the four stars of the boys’ basketball team weren’t exactly the friends she had in mind! Yet, when they drop by the café where she works, the five quickly hit it off. Soon she’s been accidentally thrust into the spotlight, targeted by jealous girls. And will she expand her mission to include… love?
In reverse harem manga, the heroine generally has unique circumstances or character qualities to capture the attention of the male characters. Make her a little too ordinary, and the dynamic doesn’t quite work. Worse, give her a personality quirk that doesn’t make sense, and you’re left wondering why anyone bothers with her.
Unfortunately, that’s the issue with Waiting for Spring. It’s posturing itself as a Boys Over Flowers kind of title with its Elite 4, a basketball-type F-4. These four handsome boys are athletic, popular, and have a gaggle of rabid fangirls following them wherever they go. And the girl that manages to befriend them unlike any other is Mitsuki Haruno, the shyest girl in school. In contrast to the Elite 4, she hasn’t made any friends at school. But it’s not because she’s a victim of bullying or abuse; there’s no indication of that. She’s. Just. That. Shy. However, you can’t categorize her as a shut-in type because she interacts normally with the customers at the cafe where she works part time. Plus, she is friends with her boss and his college-age daughter Nana so she doesn’t have true social anxiety.
These personality inconsistencies make it difficult to relate to Mitsuki. Her shyness comes and disappears whenever it’s convenient for the plot. And because her problems aren’t particularly difficult (i.e. talking to classmates) she doesn’t inspire me to cheer her on. While the set up for her first encounter with the Elite 4 is decent (one of the boys has a crush on Nana), their lingering interest in Mitsuki is a stretch.
Also a stretch is the Elite 4’s fanbase. They have the usual vicious devotees, ready to rip out the throat of any girl who gets too close to their idols. However, when the Elite 4 has their first basketball game together, the fangirls are too busy ogling over the boys’ pretty faces to shout out support, and when Mitsuki suggests that they cheer the team on, they act like they can’t be bothered. Also, basketball is a FIVE player game, but all the illustrations of the game only show the Elite 4 so I feel rather sorry for whoever their invisible fifth man is.
Extras include bonus comics, mini character profiles, author’s notes and afterword, and translation notes.
Waiting for Spring is well-illustrated, and that’s about it. The heroine is wishy-washy, and the cast’s bishounen latch onto her for no good reason. While it has the elements of a reverse harem manga, it can’t quite pull them together for a convincing story.
First published at The Fandom Post.