Sakura, Saku Vol. 1 cover featuring young person with pink hair wearing green sweater and blue tie
Viz Media

Sakura, Saku Vol. 1

Writer/Artist: Io Sakisaka
Lettering: Inori Fukuda Trant
Translator: Max Greenway
Publisher: VIZ Media (Print/Digital)
Publication Date: November 14, 2023
Rating: Teen
Genre: Manga (JP), Romance, School Life

REVIEW RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars (Recommend)

The bud of bittersweet first love takes bloom! The mangaka that created Ao Haru RideLove Me, Love Me Not, and Strobe Edge, now brings us Sakura, Saku. Io Sakisaka returns with a story of kindness and young love.

Sakura, Saku starts off when Saku Fujigaya, the sweet female lead, falls ill on a train. She’s about to exit the train when she falls unconscious and drops her purse as the train leaves. When she wakes up, she finds out a stranger has ridden the train back so they can return her purse. She wanted to thank them, but the stranger only left a note with the name Ryosuke Sakura and a phone number.

Viz Media

The purse that Ryosuke brought back was a gift from her grandmother and was irreplaceable. She wanted to thank him for going out of his way, but by the time she gathered the courage to call him, the number was disconnected.

Months pass, and Saku finds out that her classmate Haruki Sakura is the brother of Ryosuke Sakura. When she learns this, she asks him to give her brother her thank you letter, but he immediately refuses. She makes it her mission to change her mind when she realizes it’s uncomfortable for Saku to keep asking Haruki to give his brother the thank you letter. Saku plans on finding a way to give Ryosuke her letter, but Haruki eventually changes his mind and decides to help her. 

Shojo manga tropes in Sakura, Saku

This volume had a few tropes you would normally see in a shojo manga, such as a slow burn or a stranger helping the female lead on a train. I enjoy slower-burn romances because you get to see the little moments that lead up to a couple ending up together. That said, readers who like to see fast progress with the main couple, might not enjoy this series.

Despite using tropes that are seen often, I found this volume to be sweet and refreshing. Thanks to the shojo forces that be, Saku and Haruki are pushed into spending time together throughout the volume. As they spend more time together, they are strengthening their friendship, and Saku begins to question what her new feelings mean. 

If you’ve read other works from Sakisaka-sensei and have enjoyed her art, you will like her work in this volume as well. The characters are drawn with big eyes, and Saku is drawn with short hair reminiscent of other leads Sakisaka has created. This volume has shojo bubbles, sparkles, and blush in abundance. I enjoy these elements of shojo art because they add to the overall feelings of romance in the story. 


Sakura, Saku. Viz Media

VERDICT: Overall, I recommend Sakura, Saku. It does a good job of showing those angsty and awkward feelings that come with young love and how to deal with those feelings when things don’t go the way you imagined. If you want more mature romances, this manga might not be for you as it’s a young love/high school love story. However, it’s a sweet story that’s worth a read.                                                                

Will you be adding this to your to-be-read list? Leave a comment below! VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat Imprint released Volume 1 in print on November 14, 2023, and retails for $9.99.