Translation/Adaptation: Alethea and Athena Nibley
What They Say
Shizuku is now more determined than ever to make Haru aware of her love for him, but Haru is too preoccupied with fending off Yamaken to notice! Shizuku thinks Haru has nothing to worry about, but competitive above all, Yamaken has some plans of his own. Meanwhile, blossoming feelings turn the popular but romance-hating Natsume into a maiden in love?!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Winter break is over, and the new year starts off with a chapter on Natsume. She may not be interested in dating high school boys, but an older man, specifically Mitchan, is something else entirely. The opening chapter spends a lot of time in Natsume’s head and includes flashbacks of the incidents that got her ostracized by her female classmates. While Natsume fans will enjoy this arc, it doesn’t include any huge revelations, and the most interesting part is how oblivious Mitchan is about her feelings.
The focus then shifts to Haru’s past with the death anniversary of his aunt, Mitchan’s mom. She features prominently in an extended flashback, but it though she made a huge impact on Haru, exactly how she did it remains a mystery. What is glaringly obvious though is the dysfunction within the Yoshida family, and even on such a solemn occasion, Yuzan doesn’t fail to provoke his younger brother.
Then Yamaken and company return to liven up the last half of the book. As mentioned in a previous review, I’m surprised they didn’t disappear after the first volume, but they are now firmly in the cast lineup. Shizuku spends more time alone with Yamaken than Haru in this volume (not that Yamaken takes advantage of it), and the spoiled Kaimei Academy brats make possible an otherwise impossible outing for cash-strapped Shizuku: the group ski trip. After the angst and repressed emotions of the first half, having nearly the entire cast play in the snow is a welcome change. But amid the beginner snowboarding flailing, bear encounters, and Shizuku pining for her textbooks, Haru and Shizuku do get an unusually quiet moment of understanding.
Extras include bonus four-panel comics after each chapter, two short bonus manga, an afterword from the mangaka, and translation notes. In addition, printing on one page was particularly muddy, and typos continue to pop up in the text.
The story goes all over the place with Natsume acting out on her feelings for Mitchan and more background on the Yoshida family. These detours seem to be Robico-sensei’s compensating for the slow progress in Haru and Shizuku’s relationship. Even after five volumes, their vibe hasn’t changed much, and meek Oshima and snobby Yamaken aren’t creating much love triangle tension. Still, the volume ends with unexpected progress for our lead pair amid a jolly ski trip.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: C
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: November 18th, 2014