Bad boyfriends and books.
Story/Art: Shuzo Oshimi
Translation: Paul Starr
What They Say
A lonely, bookish teen struggles to find his identity through Charles Baudelaire’s poetry, until two girls, a bully and the class beauty, help him realize true love and real friendship.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
When Aya’s boyfriend Koji shows up at her place, Takao starts to panic, but Aya soon calls him down to explain things. Koji seems to take things in stride, but when Takao goes overboard in apologizing and exclaiming self pity, he ends up getting laughed at and invited to come along with them for pizza with their friends. Takao does his best to not offend anyone, but Koji ends up pushing him to confess the name of the girl he had a crush on in middle school. When Aya tells him to knock it off, it quickly turns into a fight where Koji shows his ugly side full force, admitting his jealousy over what happened and telling Takao to leave.
Takao finds Aya alone, and she admits that she’s never let anyone else into her room because she felt the need to hide her love of books. Fortunately, though, Takao steps up to the plate and tells her that he wants her to keep loaning him books, and he really wants to read her original work. Later on he gets the chance to do just that, and the work ends up touching him deeply, resonating with his own personal experience.
Just when things finally seem to be going well for Takao, though, he has a run in with Ninako. Though he hesitates greatly, he ends up taking the chance to talk to her in private. She starts things off pleasantly enough, but when she turns the conversation towards Nakamura she becomes downright nasty. To top it all off, she tells Takao that he’s just using Aya as a substitute for Nakamura, and he’ll only bring her unhappiness in the end. As the feelings come rushing back to him he rejects a call from Aya, only for Koji to call her and try to apologize and get back together.
Watching Takao in this new setting continues to prove fascinating. The way that he’s trying to hold his life together makes for some great moments, and it’s clear that his character has become something of a lost soul. We also get a new look at Aya, whose character really comes to the forefront here. It’s through her that we get a glimpse at a hope for salvation for Takao. And yet, things are already starting to crack, with his past coming back to haunt him. Once more, this series proves that it can masterfully tug on its readers’ emotions, with an absolutely fascinating volume resulting yet again.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A-
Package Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released by: Vertical
Release Date: January 7th, 2014