- Mangaka : Akinosora
- Publisher : Comedy, Ecchi, Romance, School Life, Slice of Life
- Genre : Seven Seas
- Published : July 2022
Have you ever wanted all of the best, most sugary parts of a romantic comedy distilled into a delicious syrup? Well, mangaka Akinosora has taken every heart-pounding moment readers love about romance manga, and created Sakurai-san wa Kidzuite Hoshii (Sakurai-san Wants to be Noticed).
This manga is all the parts of a high school rom-com squished together, and although the story is missing some of the depth that a slower-burn series might offer, there’s an undeniable appeal in this blush-inducing first volume.
Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we review Sakurai-san wa Kidzuite Hoshii (Sakurai-san Wants to be Noticed)!
An incredibly dense boy is friends with an overly flirtatious girl, and while they’re head over heels for each other, each is afraid to confess. That sentence could describe over three-quarters of all the high school rom-coms out there, so Sakurai-san Wants to be Noticed doesn’t start off with a unique premise.
But unique isn’t what this manga is aiming for. The lazy, average-looking high schooler, Makoto, is friends with the busty and flirtatious Sakurai. She’s very clearly into him, making all manner of double entendres and misleading jokes to disguise her very obvious feelings. Well, her feelings would be obvious if Makoto wasn’t the typical dense teenage protagonist, but hey, that’s the trope!
Sakurai-san Wants to be Noticed does spend a brief amount of time setting up the relationship between Sakurai and Makoto with a series of flashbacks. Reminiscent of Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo suru (My Dress-Up Darling), Sakurai is the one to fall in love first, but she’s clearly afraid to confess her feelings. Makoto isn’t entirely blind to her constant flirting, but he’s certain that’s “just how she acts” and struggles to accept that she might like him.
Throughout the first volume, there are all the beautiful, heart-pounding scenes you love in a romantic comedy - from rainy-day-sharing-umbrella tropes to beach-and-bikini-reveal, and even the confession-drowned-out-by-passing-train.
Surprisingly, even though there are so many of these scenes stacked together, they work wonderfully. Makoto’s and Sakurai’s feelings for each other are completely obvious, so the reader is simply watching this awkward romance play out, hoping the pair will make it over the final hurdle.
The artwork is impeccable, with stunning attention to lips, eyes, and hair. There are plenty of ecchi scenes and more than a few panty-shots, while Sakurai’s beauty and sexual charm are played up to the extreme. The characters’ exaggerated reactions are thoroughly enjoyable, and the panel layout is some of the cleanest we’ve seen in ages.
1. A Clear Direction Ahead
The series could feel insufferable if it dragged the miscommunication shtick for too long. Thankfully, the series is complete at 4 volumes in Japanese, which gives us faith the story will wrap up in a satisfying way.
Towards the end of the first volume, it’s clear that the characters are on the pathway to acknowledging their mutual feelings, so we don’t think they’ll be too dense for much longer.
2. All The Juice, No Pulp
Sakurai-san Wants to be Noticed is definitely targeted toward a specific type of reader—the type that loves rom-com manga and enjoys all the flirting and blushing. Sakurai isn’t a bully nor is she deliberately a tease, and Makoto is dense, but he’s willing to entertain the thought that Sakurai likes him. Every chapter is centered around the pair getting closer to each other, and closer to acknowledging their feelings. It’s like a supercut of the rom-com tropes that make us happy inside.
This definitely isn’t a great introduction to rom-com manga, but if you’re a veteran reader like us, you’ll really appreciate the intense focus on feelings and “what-ifs.”
1. Ecchi, Check. Flirting, Check. Plot? Uh…
As we’ve alluded to already, Sakurai-san Wants to be Noticed is a condensed rom-com experience focusing on the awkward emotional parts of a high school romance. There’s nothing else going on, though; no other friends, no drama, not even a small glimpse of character depth beyond the romance.
As enjoyable as the ecchi-ness and blushy-ness are, we’re left wishing for a bit more substance. The characters are really enjoyable, and we’d like more time to get to know them and how they think!
A provocative and enjoyable read, Sakurai-san Wants to be Noticed is the rom-com for those who just want all the squishy, awkward, flirtatious parts. There’s no unnecessary drama, although the lack of anything else plot-related does leave us feeling a little empty.
Are you going to check out Sakurai-san Wants to be Noticed? Let us know down in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!