Things reach a breaking point in this latest volume!
Story/Art: Shuzo Oshimi
Translation: Paul Starr
What They Say:
Takao must make a decision. He now has an opportunity to break free from the social shackles that Nakamura has placed on him, as he has a chance to be loved by someone he has affections for. This could also be an opportunity to be accepted by the masses in his small community. But with this choice comes fear and self-reflection.
As the next day comes around, Takao approaches the school, dreading what is waiting for him. To make matters ever worse, Nanako appears and they end up walking to the classroom together. When Nanako opens the door, Takao get’s quite a shock; though the room is still trashed, his name has been covered with ink, making it unreadable. Takao is relieved and decides to cut his losses, asking Nanako to break up with him. However, she proves she isn’t just a pretty face when she points out that the drawings are linked to The Flowers of Evil, meaning that Takao was obviously the culprit. More shocking, however, she tells him that she’d never break up with him, even knowing what he did.
Flustered by the current events, Takao holes up in his room at home. Meanwhile, Nanako confronts Nakamura, and then later tells Takao to open up to her and speak his mind. Things take a turn for the worse when Takao’s mother finds his clothes, soiled from his night of vandalism, forcing him to flee from his home. He runs into Nakamura and, at her suggestion, the two decide to leave town by way of bicycle. Nanako happens to overhear that Takao has disappeared and becomes worried, especially after she discovers that Nakamura is also missing. Rain begins pouring down, forcing Takao and Nakamura to take a break on the side of the road, and Nanako furiously tries to track down the pair.
Nanako finally finds them, and a fierce confrontation occurs. Takao is creepily stripped down and forced between the two girls, and ends up breaking down completely, unable to choose between them. He vents everything, admitting just how empty he is, and earns the disdain of both Nanako and Nakamura. As things finally reach a breaking point, the cops show up and grab all three of them, apparently because Nanako’s parents put out a search.
With this volume, things finally seem to be reaching a breaking point. It certainly is interesting seeing how Nanako reacts to Takao and his actions, which hint that there may be something more to her character than previously thought. Meanwhile, Takao isn’t given much time to mope and act awkward here, which is a definite plus. Best of all, though, is the outburst of raw emotions near the end. It feels like the series has been really building up to that moment, and certainly capitalizes on it. More so than before, you can’t help but feel for the characters, and the passion behind their words seems to really jump off the page. It will definitely be interesting to see where the series goes from here on out, but for now this volume remains a surprisingly gripping read and a real culmination of the previous volumes’ strengths.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Vertical
Release Date: October 23rd, 2012