High School Debut (3-in-1 Edition) Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Price: $14.99
Creator: Kazune Kawahara 
Format: 544 pgs., Black & White, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4215-6588-0
Age Rating: 13+
ICv2 Rating: 3 stars out of 5
In middle school Haruna was the ace of her softball team which scored her points with her teammates but it also led to her being a tomboy.  In high school she vows to change that by finding a boyfriend but she can't get the attention of a single guy no matter what she tries.  That's when she enlists the help of a sophomore named Yoh who is cool, laid back and jaded with his own popularity and good looks.  After much pestering, he finally agrees to be her coach and help her find a boyfriend under one condition: she can't fall for him.
We've established in previous reviews that I have a weakness for shoujo manga and anime.  I enjoy them with great passion and so when the chance to review a title that many consider a classic came I snatched it up without a second thought.  Once I got started though I found it hard to believe that so many others out there actually loved this series with as much passion as they claimed.
In the first volume of this series, none of the characters come across as particularly likeable.  Haruna is so dense and clueless about people in general that it's hard to imagine how she has managed to survive real life all the way up until high school.  Her coach, Yoh, isn't much better with his cold personality.  Put them together and you have one rocky start that would've turned me off had I only read the first volume.  However to give up after one rocky volume would be a mistake as somewhere around the middle of the second volume something magical happens… Haruna becomes a very sympathetic character.  Honestly she is a girl who just wants to find love which is a feeling that most of us can relate to and when she sheds tears after her first heartbreak, it's hard not to shed tears for her.
If there are two faults within this release though it would be these: the story is predictable and the events that occur within these pages happen at lightning speed.  Within these first three volumes there are a number of events that take place and anyone who is paying attention is going to see them all coming at least twenty pages in advance.  One example of this is Yoh's little sister.  At first she seems very sweet and supportive but one only needs to pay attention to the slightest bit of foreshadowing to know that she is not at all what she seems.
The second problem that I had with these volume is the pace in which things happen.  With the full series lasting a solid thirteen volumes, things happen in these first three that you would not expect so early on in the story.  Occurring at a speed which defies logic, Haruna goes from one event to the next with little to no time for the audience to really react and absorb what is going on.  While I won't go into details to avoid spoilers for the audience, it did strike me as bizarre that within just a few hundred pages one of the key points of the series could be tossed aside so very easily.
Despite all of this, I do not consider this to be a bad release.  High School Debut gets off to a rocky start but it's also perfectly fine for those readers who don't want a lot of details or melodrama to weigh down the story.  High School Debut gets to the point right away and goes from event to event without any hesitation. It's not the best shoujo I've ever come across but this is still a worthy pick up for rom-com fans who need something that they can get through quickly.
-- L.B. Bryant