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Manga / Slow Start

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Aren't you glad we took a detour?

Hana Ichinose was afflicted with mumps on the day of her high school entrance examination, and so, was unable to attend high school. Upon taking the exam a year later and gaining admissions into high school, Hana is concerned that her year-long sabbatical may alienate her from the students in her year, especially since she's now a year older than her peers. In spite of her slow start, Hana is determined to put forth her best effort and catch up to everyone else now that she's in high school.

Slow Start (スロウスタート) is a 4koma manga written by Yuiko Tokumi and has been serialised in Manga Time Kirara since 2013. Its anime adaptation was released as a part of the Winter 2018 anime lineup. The anime is directed by Hiroyuki Hashimoto (who had previously worked on Is the Order a Rabbit?) and is produced by A-1 Pictures. Slow Start may be watched at Crunchyroll.


Slow Start provides examples of:

  • Big Fancy House: Kamuri's home is modelled after European castles.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • In the eighth episode, some of Karmuri's classmates offer her some Packy biscuit sticks.
    • The school's ice-cream vending machine sells "Sixteen Ice" from "Plico", which is derived from Glico's "Seventeen Ice" brand.
  • Camera Abuse: The camera collides with Hana in the opening sequence, knocking her over.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: Tama jokes that her friends are like the Three Wise Men as played by the Three Stooges in episode eleven, but this is lost on her friends, and Eiko asks her to clarify as a result
  • Elite Four: Tama dubs the main characters this, with Hana as their leader—to Hana's surprise.
  • Festival Episode: The second half of episode eleven is focused around Hana and her friends attending a summer festival.
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  • Frame Break: Out of embarrassment to her grandmothers' remarks about her classmates, Tamate's motions cause the very frame to shake as though she were beating it.
  • Heroic BSoD: Hana is devastated when she is unable to take her high school entrance exams, worrying about the social implications it may entail. She considers becoming a Hikikomori, but her mother manages to persuade her away from this path.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Uses "Step" for chapter and episode counts.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Eiko decides to dub her sister's soup as "Little Sister Sauce", and Hana is mortified. Eiko later admits that such a name implies that the soup comes from her sister's secretions.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: In chapter 115, after Hana is told she needs to go onstage to announce her new position on the student council, she breaks down crying from stage fright. Hannen Hiroe jumps up, fist clenched, and declares her support...despite being in a completely separate location. When Shion questions it, Hiroe says she "sensed something really relatable just now".
  • No Communities Were Harmed: In the anime, the town that Hana moves to is based on the resort town of Karuizawa, a resort town in the Nagano Prefecture.
  • One-Gender School: Hana attends Hoshio Private Girls' Academy, an all-girls' school. Chapter 108 states there's a boy's school next door, but it doesn't mention if it's part of Hoshio or just an unrelated school.
  • Running Gag: During the Hoshio school festival arc, every time a plot thread ends anti-climatically, a laurel wreath with "[Event] Arc Fin" appears.
    • "Hannen Hiroe's Culture Festival 2nd Day Arc Fin", after Hiroe declines to show up two days in a row.
    • "Elite Four's Boys' School Culture Festival Arc Fin, when Hana declines to attend the neighboring culture festival.
    • "Rich Girls' Daily Discussion Observation Arc Fin", when Tama eavesdrops on Kamuri and some other rich girls to hear how they talk in private, only to overhear them making cute animal noises.
  • Schoolgirl Series: Slow Start follows in the everyday life of group of high school girls, one of which is a year older than her peers.
  • Sempai/Kohai: Hana is troubled by the fact that she's a year older than her classmates, which would have made it challenging for her to befriend students back in her old high school. Her mother decides to have Hana move to another town so Hana's situation is not known, in turn allowing her to make new friends.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the fourth episode, Tamate is seen in her room with some Bottle Fairy manga, a series drawn by Tokumi.
    • In the sixth episode, Tamate becomes irate when contemplating a girl who'd dated another guy previously. She is referring to Tamaki from Kakyuusei Two, who became controversial for frequently cheating on her partners.
  • Slice of Life: Slow Start joins a well-established line of manga in Manga Time Kirara in depicting the ordinary comings and goings in the lives of high school students.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: After missing her entrance exams, Hana mopes in a corner during a flashback the second episode.
  • Vacation Episode: The third episode is about the girls' activity over the Golden Week holidays in early May.