Shinichi Sakurai is a twenty-year-old college student who is tall, good-looking, and athletic but is so socially awkward that he has very few friends. Hana Uzaki is a nineteen-year-old college student who is determined not to let Sakurai spend his time being alone. Uzaki-Chan volume 2 picks up where volume 1 left off, with the pair stumbling towards romance, with hilarious twists and turns along the way.
Uzaki-Chan volume 2 adds a new character to the mix
A good guy, but completely clueless when it comes to love and romance. Cares deeply about Hana, but is reluctant to admit it, even to himself.
A girl who has both huge boobs (the physical book even embosses them on the cover) and a huge personality. Hana is incredibly outgoing, but also surprisingly bashful, especially when Shinichi is involved.
The new addition. Itsuhito is Shinichi’s only guy friend. He’s good-looking and outgoing and is very popular with girls.
Shinichi’s co-worker who is determined to watch the love between Sakurai and Hana bloom.
The plot thickens
Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out is a slice-of-life manga that revolves around college life. The early stories see Shinichi and Hana spending time together in class, on the quad, and playing video games together on what appear to be Nintendo Switches. Both of them are hardcore gamers; they play together a lot, and we learn later on that Hana is often the better player of the two.
The manga covers everyday stuff but taken to the comedic extreme. At one point, Hana makes a passionate speech about the merits of mint chocolate. Nothing romantic happens until summer rolls around, and Hana learns that Shinichi has no plans to go outside. She immediately gives him a bold invitation.
Hana invites Shinichi to the beach. Now, things are getting interesting. Two good-looking college students, alone together on the beach, where physical attraction becomes far more difficult to ignore. That’s the perfect recipe to get the sparks of romance flying, right?
Not quite. Shortly after she invites Sakurai, Hana invites everyone else in the room. Itsuhito, who is determined to get Sakurai and Hana’s romance on the fast track, is baffled by this. Why would Hana set up a chance to be alone with the guy she likes, and then throw that chance away? His expectations are thwarted, and not for the first time in this volume. In fact, “thwarted expectations” quickly becomes the theme of this book.
Later in the volume, we see Hana and Sakurai going through a “test of courage” deep in the woods. They also visit a cat café, watch a fireworks festival, and celebrate Hana’s twentieth birthday (twenty is the legal drinking age in Japan). None of it goes according to plan and your expectations are constantly subverted. To say any more would spoil the fun (which I refuse to do, even in the spoilers section), but rest assured: the humour and undercurrents of warmth are still there. The stories I enjoyed the most are the ones where Hana and Shinichi are together by themselves.
Here’s the trick. After the first volume, I thought that I knew where the characters stood: Sakurai was clueless about his feelings for Hana, but Hana knew how she felt about her senpai and was taking her time getting into his heart.
I was wrong. Hana is just as clueless about her feelings for Sakurai as he is about her. She thinks she’s doing him a favour, hanging out with him so that he doesn’t get lonely; however, some late incidents in the book give us a clue that this is just a smokescreen. She likes Sakurai but can’t admit it, because underneath the outgoing personality is a surprisingly shy person.
The art of Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out!
The art in this book is solid. The visuals won’t blow you away, but the characters are nicely drawn and do a great job of conveying emotion. The backgrounds, while sparse, do a good job of establishing their environments. Is Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out is a series where the art serves the story without being distracting.
Is Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out! Volume 2 worth reading?
Absolutely. The Uzaki-Chan volume 2 was frustrating at first; I was not too fond of the new character right away, and the constant left turns left me feeling a little unsatisfied. It wasn’t until I read the volume a second (and then a third) time that I began to see just how much depth there is to this story, which I didn’t expect to see in this kind of manga.