Status in Japan: 32 volumes (ongoing)
Dae's Status: 23 volumes
LAST PAGE UPDATE: 07FEB14
This series is still running in Japan, so consider this page still under construction :3 !
As you probably know, I'm a huge fan of delinquents/yankees stories, and I really wanted to recommend one of them to you guys-- Despite my total devotion to the works of Hiroshi Takahashi (the guy behind Crows, QP
, just to give you an idea of the levels of awesomeness) though, I decided to opt for this wonderful series penned and inked by Tetsuhiro Hirakawa.
I feel like favouring this series instead of others for some simple reasons: the art is MAJESTIC, the storyline is original and keeps the reader interested, the fights are intense and sanguigne and the whole thing is generally well orchestrated, in a way were badassness and good will are balanced and credible.
To know more about the plot, let's follow the stories of the main characters:
Hayato is the protagonist and weirdo extraordinaire of the manga.
He had to leave Tokyo when a kid, leaving his friends behind, but after a tragedy that struck his very life, he decided to come back to the capital to improve his high school life and most importantly, to get in touch with his dearest childhood friends, Tomoki and Kenji.
He's a good-natured, honest boy who likes to cheerish little things in life and his friends, and most importantly is always ready to exchange some punches when justice is required.
Because of his crystalline and childish personality is considered a bother and an idiot by everyone, but they still love him (even if they'll never admit it!).
Hayato is a skilled fisherman, a passion that he inherited by his beloved granpa, and he's ready for some fishing in every season and every weather-- You can say that he considers fishes his real, worthy opponents!
Tomoki is one of Hayoto's childhood friends and the first thing that he does when he met the other boy after a while is-- giving him the cold shoulder.
He attends the same highschool of Hayato and Kenji, Momoyama High
, where he's hardly noticed because of his lone wolf attitude.
Compared to Hayato, Tomoki is the "straight" guy: he's serious, disciplined and hates resorting to violence (because he's weak like crap, LOLOL), preferring to find his way out of dangerous situations by using his brain. He loves staying on his own and focusing on his hobbies.
Tomoki is a fan of motorcycles and strives to "revive" his Kawasaki 350SS, part of his deceased father's legacy... Unfortunately, his cautious personality makes him the worst driver ever XD
His riding skills improved when he met his very own "trip partner", the senpai Mizusawa Natsuko
, the skilled owner of a Kawasaki ZII. Where Tomoki is a bad driver but skilled mechanic, Natsuko is a good driver but terrible mechanic, so the two compensate their lackings with each other... Obviously their relationship will develop in a romantic one ;D
Kenji is the childhood friend of Hayato and Tomoki, always a student of Momoyama, but quite in a difficult predicament when he's introduced in the series: despite his huge body and strenght he's easily manipolable.
When Hayato left, he was the one who was struck harder, because his timid personality and scary looks make it difficult for him to make friends... Making him sensible to anyone who would offer their friendship, also if it's just because they were looking for a "bodyguard".
The most vicious of the guys who took advantage of him was a certain Ooshiro
, a rich kid with a yakuza attitude.
Doing the dirty work for Ooshiro and other classmates stained his image, throwing him alongside criminals and difficult boys, but Hanayama is actually a sensitive, timid guy, who loves his family and friends.
Of course Hayato will take care of his troubles for him, freeing Kenji from Ooshiro's influence, and letting him pay the debts of his family honestly, through a various range of partime jobs.
ITTA "GREASY MONKEY" AKAI
Itta is one of the mechanics employed at Motorcycle Akai
, the bikeshop where Tomoki goes buying spare parts for his motorcycle and getting tips to fix his baby.
Tomoki regards him as his senpai and teacher, and even if Itta likes to act bothered by all the attention, he's actually quite fond of the boy.
Itta is a senior student of Momoyama and his "boss" nonetheless. Despite his lack of interest for school he'll manage to graduate so that he could be an actual employer in his dad's bikeshop.
Itta is a dependable, mature boy and acts as everyone's older brother. Because he's a reliable person he's quite popular at school.
Hayato doesn't have a great sympathy for Itta (he nicknames him "Greasy Monkey") because of their perfectly opposite (but similar!) personalities, but they still manage to hit it off in the long run.
To Itta's woe, his shop will turn into everyone's hangout place.
He's attached to his childhood friend Yunome Mai
, who has a serious crush on him (to be honest the crush is pretty much reciprocal, but Itta won't admit it XD).
Itta rides a Honda CB400 FOUR.
He has a strong connection to his hero and senpai Takuma Kiryuu
who'll end up in a difficult situation because of a gang of bikers... Just in case you care, Takuma rides a Kawasaki W650. 'Cause real men ride Kawasaki, LOL.
KIKUCHI & SANADA
Kikuchi (serious guy) and Sanada (guy with the weird hair) are two students from the infamous Hanasaki Boys HighSchool
, a delinquent school famous for being the harvest of the worst guys around.
Both guys can't fit the school because they refuse to recognize Moriya
as their leader, and generally look down to guys who need to get in a group to feel strong or important, making them the complete outcasts and victims to continuous, violent attempts to "bring them down" from the other students, first years and seniors alike.
Kikuchi is a serious type of few words, usually all the talk is made by his mate Sanada, who's the most fiery of the two.
Despite the school they are in, they are cool, chivalrious types who don't like to be messed up with, but still prefer to mind their own business.
Even when things will be "fixed" by Hayato and Co., they'll never find their place in school, still considered unapproachable assholes. --Even if later one they'll be asked to become the new leaders, for their very shock, LOL.
Kikuchi and Sanada are used to go to "Itta's place" too, since Sanada is the owner of a Yamaha SR400. Itta notices that at least they do look like actual customers...
ICHIGO "JET KONG" TSUBAKI
Ichigo is one of the cutest characters out there XD
Let's say that his deal is similar to Keiji's, that of a huge boy who looks like a cruel old man when he's just a nice highschool boy.
Hayato and friends got to meet him during some investigations about a "ghost" in the neighbouring town. It ended up that the ghost was just Ichigo, going around to check on some nasty damages to local shops by a group of assholes.
He befriends Hayato and the others after a series of mistakes on both parts, and after more "legends" about "Jet Kong" were created...
Hayato sees him as his rightful rival and challenges him to fight whenever he can; 'til now he never managed to defeat him.
Ichigo had to repeat his first year of Highschool because of some troubles occurring with another vicious son of a bitch, Andou
. The guy was jealous of Ichigo's popularity because of his kind heart and polite manners and tried to mess with of his friends to force Ichigo to drop out of school: he reacted and what resulted was that Ichigo was considered guilty of assault and forced to leave the school and his friends.
The nightmare repeats when Ichigo finally managed to enter another school, there he was still bothered by his ex-schoolmates, Andou and the Kobayashi
brothers, who believed their senpai's version of the facts... Fortunately Hayato won't mind his business again, and would contribute to help him out of such a terrible situation; the Kobayashi brothers would realize the truth too, and would go back to be friends with Ichigo.
Ichigo's mother is a pretty woman who owns a restaurant that easily becomes Hayato and the Kobayashi's favourite. She uses to call his son "Ichi".
is a cute schoolmate of Ichigo that didn't hesitate to make friends with him: she has a big crush on him, and uses to call him "Ichigo-chan".
Yui is another "dangerous girl" that Hayato got to meet and help during his adventures... Because of her difficult familiar situation, she was forced to seduce strong boys to test their strenght in a way to find someone that would protect her against her abusive brother.
Among many other guys, she gets to seduce both Hayato and Gen. Once he'd realize that Yui is not the sexy girl that she likes other to think she is but a puny middle-schooler, Hayato would fall out of love with her, but would still help her and her mother with the violent Takeru
Later on she'd join Momoyama Highschool to be together with Hayato, for which she developed a big crush out of gratitude.
Despite it all, Gen still loves her madly.
Now returned a cheerful and serene teenager, she's not part of Hayato's faithful followers together with another boy that Hayato helped, Hanamaki Shinichi
GEN "GENGEN" MINAMOTO
Gen is a student of Tsukumo Commercial
, pretty much Hayato's twin brother: he's hotblooded, a damn good fighter and-- a bit stupid.
He was introduced in the Yui's arc as one of the guys that she seduced, and it must be said that he's still loyally in love with her, to her discontent.
Back in the days Gen was a pretty bad boy. After he got lone Naruga
to join his urban little wars, shit ensued and Naruga entered juvie to save Gen's ass, making him heavily indebted to him... So when he got out of juvie and could come back to town, the first thing Naruga did was finding out Gen to end what they started and make the town their, in the name of their old friendship-- Reclutantly, Gen accepts, turning against his very friends so to please the man to whom he ruined his.
Eventually Hayato will knock back in his and Naruga's heads what true friendship is, and Naruga would realize that there's no longer any room for him in Gen's heart... Don't look at me like that guys, Naruga was pretty gay for Gen, it was pretty evident e_é ! --Shut up and keep reading--!
Maki is another of my favourite characters!
He is introduced when the leaders of various little gangs decided to merge together into reviving the gang responsible of the mess with Ichigo's place, the Six Demons
He got involved with Shigetaka Kyouya
, the new leader of the newly formed gang, because of an old debt that Maki had with Shigetaka's older brother, Takatoshi
Maki is considered the true leader of the gang, he shows a good eye for strategy and he has both honor and good sense besides incredible strength. As you can guess that little shit Shigetaka wouldn't hesitate to get rid of him once he'd be done with the dirty work, but thanks to Hayato and Co. things would resolve for Maki.
Later on he'd be seen dealing with his school attendance in an attempt to get his graduation.
Maki attends Tendoushi
, another infamous boys school on the same category of Hanasaki, and its most formidable enemy.
As usual it's time for turmoil because of the election of the new head, and Yahara
would like to unite Tendoushi under his wing, but many students would still prefer Maki, because of his leadership skills and mature character... Unfortunately Maki is not interested as he's not interested in facing Yahara seriously, but in the end he'll have to face his rival's "feelings" and fight seriously: he'll defeat him, but at the same time he'd recognize Yahara as his leader, as would the whole school.
Maki rides a Yamaha TW200, and thanks to Hayato he gets into fishing too, also if his dream is to become a mechanic.
So, as you can guess, by yourself, you won't find a sophisticated storytelling or great plot twists here, just as in Hiroshi Takahashi's works, this is honest yankee literature showing the growth and adventures of a few hotblooded and hotheaded guys.
It's a simple story, but it doesn't mean that it's not enganging and well-written: the characters are endearing and overall awesome, there's a magnificent selection of villains and the reactions of the characters to their daily troubles is sure intriguing and exciting.
It's a bit upsetting that, despite the title, Hayato keeps getting more and more friends, to the point that one can't talk about a "clover" anymore... In a sense it's sad that the friendship of Hayato, Tomoki and Kenji is a bit too "light" compared to the other relationships developed with the other characters, but I guess this happens when you write a manga of this kind, which happen to become a manga about friendship in the "manly" way.
Despite the simple division in arcs, the story and the development of the characters is well managed; you won't see characters disappearing completely, but they'll pop up eventually, showing further development.
Browsing the pages of the manga sure shows how much Hirakawa improved his art-- Sure, it's pretty obvious after all, but it's really impressive how good he got and how dynamic and expressive his artworks and pages are.
If you look for a nice manga filled with nice fights and memorable characters, I suggest you to get a hold of Clover
right now and enjoy it ^_^ !