Hatsukiai Manga Explained: The Buds of First Love

· 2 min read
screenshot from the manga

Life is full of bittersweet experiences. When treading this path, everyone comes face to face with tough crossroads.

Just as there are hardships, there are so many aspects that make life worth living. One of the most vibrant experiences involves love and romance.

Everyone has felt this complex emotion at some point in time, if not it will surface soon enough.

Numerous in shapes and forms, it breaks through all sorts of barriers to touch hearts.

For most, the very first experiences of love are the most memorable, as well as challenging.

When people are young and gullible, relationships are difficult.

Especially when it comes to one’s first love or first dating experience, they often feel embarrassed, misunderstood, meek, flustered and confused.

Owing to these, miscommunication is a common issue.

Questions like; “What should I say?”, “What should I do?”, “How do I express myself?”, “When should I make a move?”, “Does he or she really like me?” and “Am I making a wrong assumption?” are abundant.

Hatsukiai is a romance manga series that addresses all of these aspects.

Hatsukiai is a collection of short stories, about many first loves and is widely considered one of the best romance manga.

These stories follow characters as they go through their first dating experience.

Through their shyness, miscommunication, and embarrassment, they fight their own little battles.

“When exactly should I hold her hand?”
“When and where should we kiss?”

They ask these questions from themselves over and over.

However brief, these tales address the innocent awkwardness and flutters of the heart associated with falling in love.

The series is written and illustrated by Kazama Ayami sensei.


Hatsukiai birthed the Hitorimi Haduki-san To series as well, which follows similar themes.

Surprisingly enough, it falls under the Shounen demographic and follows an Anthology format.

Its main focus genres are Romance and Comedy. It has already concluded, sadly, consisting of only two volumes comprising 14 chapters in total.

It was published more than a decade ago, on the 22nd of December in 2009. Additionally, the series was serialized by Gangan Joker.

Many may know it by its alternative title, Love Story. A fitting name, simple and to the point, it exaggerates nothing.

Similar anime and romance manga series include I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, Akatsuki no Yona, Tsurezure Children, Datte Kimi Wa Osananajimi, and Hatsukoi Limited.

If you loved these, then this might be your next favorite.

a women hugging her boyfriend from behind

Hatsukiai portrays beautifully young and innocent romances in a heart-touching way.

A short but sweet series, which is nothing less than absolutely wholesome.

“Let our first page be a happy one too…” quoted from the finale, exudes the whole overall feeling of this manga.

The stories are all tender, sugary, sweet, and quite potent.

Everyone has their own role to play in their stories but do they consistently remain in one set role throughout?  

Role reversals are one unique element that will catch viewers off guard. Yet, everything manages to end on an extremely sweet note.

The ending left many of its fans content and pleased, especially considering how cute they found the whole romance manga to be.

You too will likely find this romance manga to be so.

Thanks for Reading!