S · A: Special A, also known as Special A or S.A, is a shōjo manga by Maki Minami. The series started serialization in the bimonthly magazine The Hana to Yume in 2003, and moved to the biweekly magazine Hana to Yume in 2004, after running for four chapters. The series ended after 99 chapters on March 19, 2009.
Special A has been licensed for English-language release in North America by Viz Media and in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment. The series has also been licensed in Germany, Italy, Poland, France and Taiwan. In 2013, Hana to Yume released a single volume sequel called Special A – Street Fight.
Hikari Hanazono has always been second to Kei Takishima. When they were six years old, their pro-wrestling loving fathers introduced them to each other. Assuming that she was the best in wrestling, young Hikari challenged Kei to a wrestling match only to be thoroughly defeated by him. Ever since that fateful incident, Hikari swore to beat Kei in school grades, sporting events or any competition. To do this, she has enrolled in the same school as Kei since elementary. Now she attends Hakusenkan, an ultra elite school for the wealthy, that costs her carpenter father a lot of money. Hikari and Kei are the top two students in the school, with Kei holding firmly to that number one position. While Hikari considers Kei to be a rival and important friend, she is completely unaware that Kei has strong feelings for her.
The series primarily focuses on Hikari and her constant attempts to defeat her one and only rival, Kei, and how she finds love in their rivalry. However, Special A also follows the stories of the other five members of the S.A class – Akira Toudou, Tadashi Karino, Megumi and Jun Yamamoto, and Ryuu Tsuji – and their relationships. Yahiro Saiga and Sakura Ushikubo, two students from the rival academy Kokusen, also become recurring characters in the series.
Hakusenkan (or Private Hakusen Academy) is the best school in the prefecture. The classes are separated into A–F based on grades. The A class is only open for the top students in each grade. The top seven within the A class, from first year to third year, are known as the Special A or SA class (hence the title). The members of SA are highly respected and are often seen being elaborately greeted by other students with the exception of few that dislike the SA. The SA class has its own building, a 19th-century styled greenhouse dubbed “The School’s Paradise”. They also have a kitchen, where Akira makes her afternoon tea. Class attendance is optional, but Hikari is the only one who chooses to attend classes. Their uniform is also different from the standard uniform. The members of the SA have been close friends since elementary school.