Akira and her twin brother (Haru) have both begun high school. Despite being twins their personalities are worlds apart – Akira is withdrawn and socially awkward while her brother is bright and brings people together. The manga ‘Let’s Start With a Friend’ by Otsu Hiyori, follows these two through their high school lives as they meet new people and become more comfortable and confident within themselves. The manga is currently ongoing with 11 chapters released.
Akira is incredibly shy and awkward. In middle school she was ostracised by her group of friends after she accidentally liked the same guy as one of the girls. Now in High School, she is inspired by a loud and brash girl named Chizuru chan who always speaks her mind. She also becomes friends with Chizuru’s close friend Ami. Hana on the other hand is struggling to come to terms with an injury that ended his career in soccer. He is reunited with an old soccer buddy, and also meets Ami’s boyfriend in his new High school. Ami’s boyfriend wishes to start up a Cooking Club at the school, and the three of them spend most of their time trying to convince a teacher to be their supervisor.
I’m actually really enjoying this series. It’s a really sweet, realistic look at making friends and sometimes how difficult that can be. Both Akira and Hana are very easy to relate to, and it’s really interesting to see their growth in just a few chapters. Especially with Akira, just her going from being so sheepish to eventually asking her friends out to see a film. I feel like a proud mother! The way this series handles friendships is incredibly simple but also has a very mature undertone. I feel a lot of manga and anime depict friendships in an almost idealised way or just ridiculously over the top. But here it’s just very normal and plain – a series that shows the joy of doing little things with friends.
I feel really connected to the story and the characters. In the latest chapter it looks like a male love interest may appear for Akira, and I really hope it doesn’t happen. I’m really enjoying seeing her develop into her own person with the support of her friends. I think having a random male will ruin the balance, the same can be said for Hana, if he had a female love interest (which hasn’t happened). Overall really solid manga 9/10
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