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Ani-Imo Vol. #04 Manga Review

3 min read

Ani-Imo Volume 4 CoverMore switches, less excitement

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Haruko Kurumatani
Translation: Christine Dashiell

What They Say
Despite his trepidations, Youta agrees to check into a love hotel with Yurika in pursuit of the two who now inhabit their bodies. Youta is pleasantly surprised by the hotel accommodations, but surprise turns to shock when he hears moans emanating from Hikaru’s neighboring room! The experience leaves Youta deeply shaken. Is he protective of his sister’s purity as her big brother, or is it because he wants to defile her himself?!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
As the volume starts off, we find Youta and Yurika checking into a love hotel to spy on the other pair. And this leads to yet another super uncomfortable near rape moment, which is definitely not a welcome addition. Afterwards, Youta ends up storming in on the others and has a bit of a possessive outburst, pushing us further down the incest path. Continuing even more in that direction, Youta gets Hikaru to agree not to get intimate with anyone else by agreeing to sleep together naked in bed. Doctor Ichijou appears in the morning to peep in on this situation, pointing out that doing that in their family house behind an unlocked door is really, really stupid, which is a very valid point.

A new troublemaker named Kaname appears on the scene next, and through Ichijou informs the main characters of a possible means of returning to normal. Following that lead, they all journey to a hot spring inn together, where they meet up with another pair who has switched. However, these two are now middle-aged, a man and woman named Takeru and Ryouko who traded places literally decades ago. Of course this lead falls through as they don’t know how to trade back, but this does make for the most interesting part of the volume, as it offers a rather different look at the whole thing. It really is intriguing “skipping ahead” so to speak, and getting a look at people who’ve had to deal with this situation for most of their lives. And of course it raises some interesting questions for the characters, especially the difficulty of potentially losing your family during the trade, something Youta and Hikaru were fortunate enough to avoid.

As that all wraps up, Kaname proves that he really is trouble by throwing Ichijou, Yurika, and Hikaru down the stairs with himself, hoping to prompt a switch. Though it doesn’t work out as he planned, Yurika and Hikaru actually do seem to switch places! This leads to a few decent gags, until Youta realizes that they never changed places, and it was all really an act. Reasonably frustrated about that, Youta storms out and almost gets hit by a car, only for Hikaru to pull him back in the nick of time. However, that actually changes the siblings back, creating quite the surprise cliffhanger!

In Summary
This volume is unfortunately a little on the bland side, lacking in any real huge moments outside of the cliffhanger at the tail end. That isn’t to say there’s nothing to like here, though, as at the very least the new characters introduced do provide a unique new perspective that’s pretty interesting to see. And a few gags do work well, which keeps things from dragging a bit too much. However, a lot of the volume is spent awkwardly shoving the siblings down the road towards incest, and what’s there isn’t particularly fascinating as far as romance writing goes. And of course, we get another awkward scene that feels a good bit more like a rape attempt then it should. All in all this volume doesn’t quite pull together as whole, though it also doesn’t drop the ball completely either, leaving readers with an adequate but not particularly exceptional book.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: August 18th, 2015
MSRP: $12.99

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