Thoughts on Hana & Hina After School Volume 1

The next manga series I will be sharing my thoughts on is Milk Morinaga’s Hana & Hina After School.
Hana & Hina After School was originally serialised by Futabasha in the magazine Comic High!. That was up until June 2015, when it switched over to Monthly Action. The series concluded in November 2016. Seven Seas Entertainment have translated and published the manga in English.
The first volume of this series contains six chapters.

A Secret Between You and Me

Hana’s new co-worker, Hina, is a cool, tall, and stylish – the total opposite of Hana. While the two of them get off on the wrong foot, they soon come to rely on each other and even become friends. But part-time jobs are against school rules, and if word got out they could be expelled. As Hana and Hina work together to hide their after school activities, their relationship grows deeper. Can the two girls keep their job (and their feelings for each other) under wraps?

Chapter 1 begins with Hinako Emori, or just Hina from this point forward, going to the shop where Hana Hasegawa works and asking about their vacancies. Hina starts working at the shop, and Hana is eager to be the reliable senpai. She soon discovers that Hina knows a lot more about the stuff the shop sells than she does.
Hana and Hina find themselves taking part in a festival, complete with Hana cosplaying one of the characters sold at the shop. Due to that, Hana and Hina are able to grow closer – and after spring break, Hana discovers that Hina is younger than her.

Hana says that she and Hina should probably avoid talking to each other at school so as not to arouse suspicion about their jobs in chapter 2. However, Hina finds an excuse to go over and talk to Hana regardless. Hana also happens to overhear that Hina was a model in a fashion magazine. However, Hina has decided to quit modelling.
After realising that she got Hina nothing for her birthday, Hana decides to try and find a gift for her. She is able to pick something out for her, and tells Hina that is perfectly fine for them to talk during work as they are friends.

After school in chapter 3, Hana and Hina travel to work together – in complete silence. Hina asks Hana about that, but Hana insists that they need to keep the fact they are co-workers a secret.
The shop gets in a new line, and Hana can tell that Hina is enthralled by it. Hina tries to denying it, but it’s pretty obvious.
When other girls start approaching Hina and talking to her during school, Hana can’t help but dwell on it. She seems to be a little colder towards Hina during work. Afterwards, Hina takes Hana to a restaurant, where she apologises and admits that she really does like cute things. After that, the two girls return to their respective homes and Hina worries she’s being weird.

Rumours of Hina being expelled make their way around the school in chapter 4. Hana starts to blame herself, and goes along with the other girls when they go to try and find out what exactly is happening.
Later on, Hina finds herself working alone. She resolves to talk to Hina about it, and does so at school. However, Hana assumes she is being expelled and other girls happen to overhear their conversation.
Turns out Hina just had to write an apology saying she would quit modelling. Part of the reason was that she was concerned about an old friend seeing her in a magazine.

With a sports day coming up in chapter 5, Hana and Hina have to adjust their work schedules around that. Both girls discover that they are in the health committee, so Hina is eager to participate in the relay with Hana.
Hina is determined to win the relay with Hana, get a photo of her in her summer uniform, and if possible, her phone number as well.
When sports day arrives, Hina can barely contain herself when she sees Hana in her class uniform. She intends to eat lunch with Hana, but as they are both health committee members, they are busy tending to others who have injured themselves. Hina hurts her ankle when she falls trying to stop another injured girl from going to the track.

Hina refuses to let her ankle hold her back in chapter 6, as she is very eager to get that photo with Hana. Hana realises that Hina is hurt, but she insists on running regardless. They then discover the race will be a three-legged relay race. Hana insists on sticking with Hina as her partner.
Hana falls before they start running, but she was actually the one supporting Hina all the time. They finish last, but they are able to talk to each other afterwards. Hina invites Hana to her place, and Hana gives Hina her phone number.
Hina asks her classmates if its weird if someone would want to be with someone else forever – they say it would be, especially at an all girls’ school. This leaves Hina worried about scaring away Hana by being weird – though Hana has said to her that she is not weird.

That brings the first volume of Hana & Hina After School, and I have to say that I really quite enjoyed it. It doesn’t quite dethrone Kase-san as my favourite yuri manga series, but it is certainly an enjoyable story about the feelings blossoming between two girls.
I guess the focus is more on Hina’s feelings in this case, as Hana always seems to be on her mind.
This first volume is pretty much about Hina coming to terms with what she feels for Hana, though she is still struggling with that somewhat at the end. Meanwhile, we see that Hana enjoys being with Hina, and that dream she has indicates she might feel something a little deeper than friendship for her new co-worker.
I often see yuri referred to as the ‘purest form of love’, and it is stories like Hana & Hina After School that lend credence to that. After all, you can’t really go wrong with Milk Morinaga when it comes to yuri.

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