Manga-ka: Hinako Takanaga
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: December 2008
Synopsis: “Painful, heartbreaking memories suddenly surface for Haru when he agrees to fill in as teacher for the high school archery club. In his youth, Haru was a brilliant archer who competed for the national championship. But uncontrollable urges for a male rival forced him to give up on his archery dream and run away from his true feelings. Now that he’s back in the bow-and-arrow game, Haru becomes drawn to the brother of his long-lost love – and he must find out if his desire has taken on a new, seductive aim…”
In his high school days, Haru Mochizuki was a national competition class archer with a bright future in the sport. Suddenly he drops the sport he once loved so much, graduating and leaving his school without explanation. Unbeknownst to others, Haru had fallen in love with his best friend and rival, and those feelings made archery impossible to concentrate on, and in his fear of failure, he quit. A few years later he returns to the school as a substitute teacher, only to again become drawn to the beauty of the sport and swept up in the passion of one archer in particular, the younger brother of his first love.
Tsukasa, the younger brother, has taken up archery as he follows in the footsteps of both his older brother and his first love, Haru. It was no secret to him that Haru was in love with his brother but that doesn’t stop Tsukasa from boldly expressing his feelings when the substitute teacher arrives unexpectedly back at his school. Haru’s hesitation after this is well written and believable, though I can’t say the same for his inevitable, though disappointedly abrupt, returned feelings for Tsukasa. Reiichiro, Tsukasa’s older brother, makes a surprisingly involved entry into the story and gives it some well-intended drama that falls a little flat in light of Haru’s self-admitting fickle nature.
While the pacing of the story is smooth and the romance refreshingly mushy, there was still a lacking clinch for me because it seemed like Haru fell in love with Tsukasa too conveniently for the sake of romantically advancing the story. I also wasn’t able to get a good sense of the timeline of the story, and this may’ve been why I found the passion between the two lacking in its initial execution. The threading story of Haru slowly getting back into archery was a nice occasional focus and kept the story balanced by not relying entirely on the love story as its only device.
Despite the story’s shortcomings however, Hinako Takanaga’s art remains reason alone to pick up her work. With a distinctive look and an attractive sketch-like appearance, there’s always plenty of consistently drawn eye-candy. All the characters here are adults or older teens, meaning those who come looking for more of the adorably wide-eyed characters of her other works, such as Little Butterfly and Love Round!, may be a little disappointed but the mature appearances of the characters are still appealing and are no less expressive in ways that suit their personalities.
BLU’s work on the book is nice with no issues from me in regards to the writing or text placement. Obvious care was given to maintain the appearance of the artwork and the original flow of the pages and they alternate between replacing Japanese sound effects and leaving them in place with translations based on their location. My favourite part of their release work however would be the cover design with a pretty slightly transparent pink strip that has the title on it. It compliments the cherry blossoms on the cover really well and gives the whole thing an obviously romantic air.
You Will Fall in Love as a title may not be entirely indicative of your feelings towards this story when you’re done, but it’s still a nicely involved tale of romance between its three leads. While I may’ve found the spark between Haru and Tsukasa lacking in the believability department, the whole story still manages to deliver characters more easily empathized with than most. This coupled with my continued adoration of Hinako Takanaga’s artwork made this a pleasant, though fairly unmemorable, read that has me looking forward to the story’s sequel spin-off, You Will Drown in Love, which follows the older brother in his own further romantic entanglements.