I just binged ハレルヤオーバードライブ over the past two days (15 manga volumes).
I came across that series shortly after arriving in Japan a bit over 10 years ago. The first volume had just come out, and somehow I managed to read it without too much pain. I also loved the story and decided to keep reading it as it got published. That’s one of the only manga series that I bought new! I somehow stopped reading it back in 2012 just after buying volume 7, but somehow still considered it my favorite manga ever. In fact, I still have those 7 volumes after all those years.
Anyway, I was thinking about it recently and realized the series ended in 2015, so I just bought the remaining volumes at book off and read the full thing again.
And… well, that was a bit underwhelming. I don’t know why, I have such good memories of it. It felt special, and somehow got my heart racing at the time. But now, it’s just yet another high school romance comedy, with a bit of shonen hero progression thrown in. In fact, it’s kind of a high school version of Nana, if I had to make a comparison.
It was entertaining enough, but honestly I was mostly rushing through it just so that I can be done.
(Spoilers ahead, but I feel like it’s not that important, soooo, stop reading if you are interested?)
The thing I ended up appreciating the most was the last bonus chapter. It takes place when all characters are in their mid-twenties. They are adults! Yay! They drink alcohol and are sexual beings and all. Also, the most interesting part for me was what happened of them. There grades were, well, less than stellar in high school, and they went on to focus on their respective bands instead of university after high school for most of them. Some had some success, like the main character whose band became somewhat famous (not making a lot of cash though). The main love interest ended up “retiring” from music and opened her own bar/live house where everyone is gathering. Another became a teacher at the high school where they were, and of course became the supervisor of their old music club. Yet another became a guitarist for hire, basically, etc. So, mostly not great in term of modern day expectations of success, still everyone seemed fine with their situation in life, which felt like a more nuanced result than what I usually see in shonen manga.
Fun thing, one character of the antagonist group is revealed to be going out with one of the characters from main character’s side. That didn’t feel like much of a surprise considering some of their interactions in previous… bonus chapters. I had a fridge logic moment when I realized that they never interact in the main part of the story. Basically, it’s like there’s nothing canon about their relationship! That was a fun realization.
Anyway, tl; dr: probably not my favorite manga anymore