Beneath the surface of its very cute and wholesome presentation, there is more than anything. If you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon read, you’ll mostly be satisfied with this volume. The title is not misleading in any way, as it accurately represents the straightforward and basic nature of this series. When I was given a chance to review this manga, I wanted a sweet and gay romance between a cool athletic girlfriend and a shy and bubbly high school student. And that’s exactly what Is Handsome So Is Want I Girl suggests in its title.

This volume is over 300 pages long, roughly the length of two manga volumes. It covers a lot of ground in the development of the central relationship, introducing us to Hinami, who falls in love at first sight with the well-endowed and cool Senpai. There are also some minor trials and tribulations that specifically come with communicating intentions and feelings to each other, but they also provide additional insights into the main duo and some fun side characters.

There were just enough interactions between them to make me feel like there were more interactions for a long time. Even though there were moments where characters were just hanging out together, I did feel like the end highlighted specifically the fun of each character’s delusions and reactions with Hinami. It’s definitely at its best when characters nudge things along, even though there were other characters who felt like they were just there. Throughout the volume, I found myself laughing a handful of times and found it very funny. The manga’s humor stems from the very playful and cute artwork, and the exchanges throughout the volume feel very natural and comedic, without feeling forced or charged.

I think the most apparent personality trait of Shiki, the protagonist of this manga, is his strong liking for basketball. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the volume of his liking for basketball is the only thing that defines him. The manga presents conflicts between our characters, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I believe that it’s aiming to properly invoke dramatic payoffs at a foundational level. There aren’t necessarily a lot of conflicts between our characters, but the conflicts that are established do add a certain level of struggle and establish a kind of conflict that is essential to the story. Towards the close of the quarterfinals, the manga does dip a little bit into melodrama, but it never loses its sense of playfulness and maintains a light and enjoyable tone throughout. So, “Is The Handsome Girl I Want!” Is a manga that successfully balances melodrama with a sense of fun.

I wouldn’t mind waiting until the end of the volume to properly use the time we have to get them together if there was a solid connection. It’s not like there’s any connection between our two leads whatsoever – I’m not saying they’re not affectionate and cute, because they are, but it’s just not enough. Plus, I have a solid idea of Hinami’s desires and wants, even if I think some of her fantasies are shallow. I do like the idea of them getting together as a couple in the book, but it almost feels like an excuse to latch onto something because we both love sports. And it’s not like we knew anything about Hinami Shiki before, she’s just a character that the story revolves around. But now that we’re the main couple, it feels like we’re drawn to the idea of yearning and loneliness, hoping to find someone nearby to be with.

The impact isn’t solid enough for things to be grounded firmly, but the package is also funny and pretty. I believe that the author could have spent more time properly establishing genuine romantic connections between the comedic and lighter characters. While I mostly enjoyed my time with the material, I did walk away feeling like I was missing something. The romances in this genre, such as shoujo and Yuri, have been infested with many problematic tropes, but this story definitely avoids a lot of them. However, what is left feels barebones and not as appetizing as I would like it to be. Maybe the impetus for the relationship between the two affirming characters could have been stronger if more time was spent getting to know each other. These characters don’t know much about each other, so leaning more into that could have played up the dramatic moments. Despite introducing other dramatic elements, the story feels a bit stagnant later on in the volume, almost as if a few chapters were accidentally skipped.